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Disaster risk reduction strategies: navigating conflict contexts

Working paper

Written by Katie Peters, John Twigg

Image credit:Haiti hit by Hurricane Matthew. UN Photo/Logan Abassi Image license:CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategies are the cornerstone of formalised action for reducing natural hazard-related disaster risk and setting the strategic direction for a district, country or region to become more resilient to disasters.

Of the seven Sendai Framework global targets for disaster risk reduction, international attention has increasingly concentrated on the one with the most urgent deadline, Target E. Target E commits governments to increase the number of countries with local and national DRR strategies by 2020.

While advancing progress on Target E and increasing the number of local and national DRR strategies has been adopted as a global policy priority, less attention has been paid to how strategies can or should take context into consideration, especially contexts affected by violent conflict.

This working paper explores whether DRR strategies, frameworks, tools and approaches make reference to conditions of conflict, and if so how. While evidence on the coverage of DRR strategies is patchy, preliminary information suggests that contexts typically classified as conflict-affected, post-conflict or fragile are least likely to have DRR strategies.

DRR strategies could potentially acknowledge and address how vulnerabilities to disaster and conflict may be shared, how conflict could contribute to disaster risk and vice-versa, and how DRR strategies could be used as a vehicle for conflict prevention and peacebuilding.

This paper is part of the project When disasters and conflict collide: uncovering the truth, a collaboration between the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and ODI.

Katie Peters, Laura E.R. Peters, John Twigg and Colin Walch