Tuesday, August 6, 2013

More money, better money needed for disaster risk reduction

Jan Kellett of the Overseas Development Institute at the Thomson Reuters Foundation: Much more is needed to make international disaster risk reduction (DRR) efforts long-lasting and effective. Key to this improvement is shifting the balance from financing standalone projects towards integrating risk into the heart of vulnerable countries’ development.

This change in direction is clear in the mid-term review of the Hyogo Framework for Action – the global community’s 2005-2015 blueprint for advancing DRR. In a little over 18 months, a grand gathering will meet in Japan to review 10 years of this framework, and decide on the future of global efforts to reduce disaster risk. Fittingly, the World Conference on DRR will be held in Sendai, the northeastern city that was so badly affected by the 2011 tsunami.

It is also a more-than-suitable venue because Japan - one of the most high-risk countries in the world for natural hazards - has also been one of the largest donors of aid to DRR. The Overseas Development Institute (ODI), together with the World Bank Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery, will launch a report in September that examines how the international community has contributed to financing DRR, how much has been spent, where and - crucially - for what reasons.

A snapshot of this information was released at the Global Platform for DRR earlier this year, painting a rather bleak picture of DRR financing as a low priority, with funding highly concentrated in a few countries. Considerable scrutiny is needed of the adequacy, sustainability and equity of the money spent.

The data suggests a reasonably sustained but modest volume of $1 billion a year to DRR over the last three or four years. Modest because it is a fraction of what the international community commits to other issues - for example one tenth of spending on peacekeeping and about one fifth of food aid. It also highlights the very high volumes spent after disasters, compared with investment before they happen....

Image from a 1907 flood in Kofu, Japan

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