Until recently, the impact of natural hazards on development had been almost completely ignored. An understanding of disasters as a factor that could both generate new poverty, and make poor people more vulnerable to natural hazards, had also been conspicuously absent from discussions about poverty reduction.
With the publication in 2005 of the UK Department for International Development (DFID) scoping study, ‘Disaster Risk Reduction: A Development Concern’, followed by the 2006 DFID policy paper, ‘Reducing the Risk of Disasters’, there has been a flurry of activity around linking disaster risk reduction to the Millennium Development Goals, as well as a realisation that Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRS) need to include some assessment of natural hazards as causal factors in poverty and poverty as a factor which can expose people to higher levels of risk to natural hazards. There is also a growing recognition of the need to incorporate the enhanced risk of disasters as a result of climate change into PRS.
This series of four meetings aims to address some of the problems involved in operationalising the linkages between disaster risk reduction and the development process.