Disaster risk reduction for sustainable development

The focus of disaster risk reduction has changed from response-based approaches to pre-disaster preparedness, mitigation and risk reduction approaches over the course of the last 25 years. However, the progress of this transition in focus has been slowed by a narrow perspective on risk reduction, which is yet to be fully mainstreamed into climate change policy. Climate-related disasters are increasingly impacting people’s wellbeing and their livelihoods, which means that these disasters hinder sustainable development. Disaster risk reduction measures therefore need to be a central part of the sustainable development framework and vice versa. Our textual analysis of three international frameworks adopted in 2015 (Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction) found that disaster risk reduction was emphasized in the SDGs framework, but did not receive the same amount of attention in the Paris Agreement. For effective use of resources, the three frameworks need to be implemented in an integrated manner, ensuring that any actions taken under either of the frameworks complements the objectives of the other frameworks. This coordination is especially important at local levels, where most of the decisions over development, adaptation and disaster risk reduction take place. All the three frameworks rightly recognize the importance of “local” level implementation for achieving their goals. In addition to building capacities and institutions and securing resources at local levels, there is a need to implement measures that complement disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and sustainable development, which is possible through mainstreaming these concepts into policies and plans, monitoring and evaluation and impact assessment guidelines.