Monday, March 26, 2012

Getting disaster risk reduction funding right

Margareta Wahlstrom in Global Humanitarian Assistance: We all know that donors’ hearts are in the right place when it comes to disaster risk reduction (DRR), but the big question is how many of them can see their way through the fog of need to invest in long-term initiatives which save lives and precious assets while reducing the need for short-term humanitarian assistance?

Aid lore is littered with tales such as that of the Mozambique Government which sought a few million dollars some twenty years ago to invest in flood management, to no avail. A few years later the same donors were responding to the humanitarian needs of flood victims with over a $100 million.

Any thought that was given to DRR in Haiti before the January 2010 earthquake was focused on the ever-present Atlantic hurricane season. As the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) observed earlier this year “the focus of preparedness in Haiti was overwhelmingly on seasonal climatic events. Rare, but catastrophic events were not contemplated. The poorest countries are the least able and willing to invest in risk reduction, including in preparedness. Considering the urgency of everyday needs faced by these countries, the onus for risk reduction and disaster preparedness should be more on the international community”.

I saw myself last week in Haiti that much still needs to be done in terms of embedding disaster risk reduction in the recovery phase but there is certainly a greater awareness of the issues when it comes to reconstruction of health facilities and schools which tumbled into rubble during the earthquake.

These are just some of the reasons why UNISDR extends a wholehearted welcome to the new report from Development Initiatives – Disaster Risk Reduction: Spending Where It Should Count – which takes on the considerable challenge of shedding light on how much donors actually do invest in disaster risk reduction....

US Embassy photo of the aftermath of 2010's Tropical Storm Agatha in Guatemala

No comments: