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Rethinking the global agreement for disaster risk reduction


Hero image description: World Bank / GFDRR Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Sendai Dialogue October 9, 2012, Sendai, Japan Image credit:© The World Bank Group, Photo by Christopher Jue Image license:Creative Commons

In March 2015, the World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) took place in Sendai, Japan. The WCDRR has been convened since 1994, and the 2015 conference covered topics under the theme of building the resilience of nations and communities to disasters. Following intensive regional consultations and international preparatory meetings during 2014, the conference saw the agreement of a new international framework to reduce disaster risk (replacing the existing Hyogo Framework for Action, or 'HFA'). With the Sustainable Development Goals and a new climate change agreement also agreed in 2015, there was a unique opportunity to ensure that risk management became a central pillar of development and to make a serious attempt to reduce ever growing disaster losses.

In the lead-up to the event, ODI and the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) undertook an ambitious series of activities to support this task. We participated in the regional consultations, thought about the detailed content of a new disasters agreement and provided topical commentary on the direction of the debates.

The post-2015 DRR agreement (then known as ‘HFA2’, and now the Sendai Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030) would need to (i) address the failings of the HFA, such as foregrounding efforts to tackle the drivers of risk and strengthening the agreement’s accountability mechanism; and (ii) address contemporary challenges, such as the interface with climate change, conflict and the post-2015 development agenda. It would also need to provide all stakeholders a clear platform to work together to achieve disaster resilience and speak just as much to communities, local governments and business as it does to national governments.

Against this backdrop, ODI and CDKN provided policy-makers and practitioners with a set of resources to inform and help shape these debates. This included:

  • A  blog series on ‘Rethinking the global agreement for disaster risk reduction’ to present innovative ideas from international experts for the post-2015 DRR agreement. 
  • A series of events to showcase the latest international thinking on DRR and to discuss the hot topics which will shape the new disasters agreement.
  • A series of publications on a wide range of topics, offering support to negotiators who have the responsibility to shape the disasters agreement, providing vital evidence on the key issues to be addressed and options for thinking through the international institutional architecture for DRR in 2015 and beyond.

Together, this work will sharpen some of the ideas around where the post-2015 DRR agreement needs to innovate. Ahead of Sendai, we have an unprecedented opportunity to lock in a favourable and multifaceted international policy landscape for tackling disaster risk worldwide.


Tom Mitchell, Emma Lovell, Aditya Bahadur, Catherine Simonet, Elizabeth Carabine, Emily Wilkinson, Lindsey Jones, Thomas Tanner, Virginie Le Masson