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Pursuing disaster risk reduction on fractured foundations: the case of Chad

Research reports

Written by Katie Peters, Veronique Barbelet, Virginie Le Masson

Hero image description: Desert vehicle with an anti-tank gun being used by rebels in Chad Image credit:Jeroen Oerlemans/Panos Image license:© Jeroen Oerlemans/Panos

Conventional disaster risk reduction (DRR) efforts tend to focus on mitigating risk related to short-term, extreme events associated with high-visibility catastrophes such as earthquakes, floods and landslides. However, some of the most neglected and unreported humanitarian crises around the world are caused by long-term conditions such as drought.

The effects of slow-onset disasters are particularly devastating when compounded by conflict, fragility and violence, but this aspect of DRR has generally been neglected in mainstream thinking and practice.

Known for its vulnerability to drought and food insecurity, Chad illustrates how conflict can undermine the foundations of development and economic growth. This case study challenges conventional thinking on how to promote DRR in a situation of conflict and poor governance. Instead of pushing forward with recommendations for more financial resources and technical capacity, the research questions whether an alternative, more politically astute approach could be taken to ensure systematic integration of risk into development decisions.

Simply put, this framing would employ a ‘networking’ strategy applied through a conflict lens. Starting with what already exists, it would recognise where political traction could provide a viable entry point to advance progress on DRR and disaster risk governance as part of overall efforts to adapt to climate change and promote sustainable development.

Key recommendations

  • Support Chad’s commitment to the Sendai Framework (including through technical support, investment into data collection and analysis, and capacity building).

  • Move from crisis response to more proactive risk management (including flexible approaches, such as crisis modifiers, shock-responsive programming and forecast-based finance).

  • View alternative framings of risk management as an opportunity (for example, mainstreaming DRR through traditional sectors such as health, education, water and agriculture).


This report 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.

Desert vehicle with an anti-tank gun being used by rebels in Chad
Image credit:Jeroen Oerlemans/Panos ~ Image license:© Jeroen Oerlemans/Panos
Katie Peters, Anne-Lise Dewulf, Veronique Barbelet, Colette Benoudji and Virginie Le Masson