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The next frontier for disaster risk reduction: tackling disasters in fragile and conflict-affected contexts

Research reports

Written by Katie Peters

This report looks at the political and institutional barriers – both real and perceived – to adapting disaster risk reduction (DRR) policy, practice and overseas development assistance to fragile or conflict-affected contexts.

While a body of literature exists on protracted crises, particularly in Africa, this tends to be circulated and discussed by those who consider themselves to be working on either ‘conflict’ or ‘crises’, and is largely non-existent in mainstream discussions on DRR and disaster risk governance. Despite both dealing with risk management, there remains a hesitancy to explore the relationship between disasters and conflict. This report seeks to understand why this hesitancy remains.

Interviews with experienced DRR policy-makers, donors and practitioners revealed a wide range of challenges, including the confines of institutional mandates; the lack of an evidence base to guide policy and programming; fear of the unknown; lack of funding for experimentation and trialling new or unproven approaches; practical concerns around accessibility and operational security; and a tendency to prioritise peace and security over DRR in fragile and conflict-affected contexts.

Katie Peters