From grassroots to global: people centered disaster risk reduction

From grassroots to global: people centered disaster risk reduction

Key challenges in disaster risk reduction

In April 2008 a group of 170 partners met in Panama city to attend the forum ‘From Grassroots to Global: People-Centered Disaster Risk Reduction’. This document records the energy, ideas and views resulting from discussions and presentations in the formal sessions and also in the corridors of the event. The document outlines seven key challenges that need working on over the next few years and discusses how participants recommended approaching them. Through forum field visits and case study presentations focusing on urban risk, participants observed the many ways in which urban processes can intensify or generate new hazards and Vulnerability. The authors show how while there are challenges in linking disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation practices, particularly in dispelling misconceptions in both fields, opportunities exist to strengthen policy and programming agendas. Working on both disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation at community level enables concrete discussions on how both agendas affect livelihoods and security.

As one of today’s most powerful communications tools, the effective use of visual media has enormous potential in risk communication, whether from one community to another or from one organization to an international audience. The paper discusses issues surrounding this and assesses the scope for public–private partnerships across infrastructure development, reconstruction and risk financing. The forum highlighted that in order to be effective and build on community perspectives, the reproduction of community based disaster risk management initiatives needs to be supported by open and strong systems of governance. The forum notes that a new generation of disaster risk reduction champions is emerging as a result of increased awareness of disaster risk and the availability of supporting programs, which develop interest and knowledge in the field. Despite the evolving nature of the disaster risk reduction field, new actors face challenges when it comes to integrating their interests and ideas into the current disaster risk reduction debate. The following conclusions and challenges are drawn:

  • with multiple hazards and the uncertainty that climate change and rapid urbanization bring, disaster risk reduction offers a framework and focus for strategies to build generic capacity for risk reduction
  • where disaster risk reduction has clear development benefits or can provide leverage for rights claims, working with social networks has real potential
  • there is great potential but, as yet, little experience of public–private partnerships in disaster risk reduction. Exploring opportunities requires an examination of the economic, social and political consequences of partnerships as well as their technical detail
  • there is great potential but, as yet, little experience of public–private partnerships in disaster risk reduction. Exploring opportunities requires an examination of the economic, social and political consequences of partnerships as well as their technical detail
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