4.2 Global overview of disaster risk reduction efforts at national and regional levels
Most countries find it difficult to comprehensively assess their disaster risks and to factor risk assessment information into national planning, investment and development decisions. At the same time, they highlight achievements and innovative practices that can drive change and provide political and economic incentives for DRM.
The global overview is based on the analysis of the interim review reports shared by the participating governments as of 7 January 2011. A total of 133 countries and territories carried out the review process, 82 of which shared their interim reports.5
The 2009 Global Assessment Report (GAR09) (UNISDR, 2009
) indicated that although many countries’ disaster management capacities were increasing, far less progress was being made towards addressing the underlying drivers that are increasing countries’ stock of risk. The evidence to support this finding is even stronger in 2011. With notable exceptions, countries find it difficult to comprehensively assess their disaster risks and to factor risk assessment information into national planning, investment and development decisions. However, they also highlight achievements and innovative practices that can drive change and provide political and economic incentives for DRM.
Click here to go to GAR09 page.
4.2.1 An overview of global trendsGAR09 highlighted that national efforts were mainly focused on strengthening policy, legislation and institutional frameworks, along with boosting capacities for risk assessments, early warning and disaster preparedness and response (HFA Priority Areas 1, 2 and 5). In contrast, countries reported limited progress in using knowledge, innovation and education to build a culture of resilience, as well as to address the underlying drivers of risk (HFA Priority Areas 3 and 4).
The 2009–2011 Progress Review indicates improvement across in all priority areas. However, progress in HFA Priority Area 4 (underlying risk) continues to be particularly challenging, as highlighted in Figure 4.2 (GNDRR, 2009
; UNISDR, 2009
Click here to go to GAR09 page.
The global overview and more detailed analysis provided in this chapter do not account for the significant linkages between the different HFA Priority Areas. The HFA itself, while outlining three strategic goals and five priority areas, highlights the need to ensure that progress in one area supports efforts in others. These synergies can be found in practice, but progress in some areas, such as policy development, does not automatically trigger improvements in others, such as the ability to address the underlying drivers of risk. Although global averages do not give an accurate picture of progress in any particular country, mapping global progress does highlight areas in which more effort is required (Figure 4.3).
Progress in HFA Priority Area 1 (Ensure that disaster risk reduction is a national and local priority with a strong institutional basis for implementation) has been consistent across the world. More than 42 of the 82 reporting countries and territories reported substantial or comprehensive achievement in this priority area. Specifically, 48 countries reported substantial achievement developing national policy and legal frameworks. Importantly, almost half of these are low- or lower-middle-income countries.6 However, a number of countries also highlighted that this progress does not necessarily translate into effective DRM. This is consistent with the findings from the HFA Mid-term Review, which reported notable progress setting up institutional structures and developing plans, but limited improvements in adequate resourcing and local implementation (UNISDR, 2011
The institutional arrangements for DRM in many countries have certainly evolved, from traditional single-agency ‘civil protection of defence’ structures to multi-sector systems and platforms. However, finding appropriate institutional arrangements to ease the incorporation of DRM into development planning and public investment remains a challenge.
Currently 73 national platforms for coordination of DRM exist globally (as of February 2011). These platforms vary widely in terms of their authority, membership and history. In some cases existing disaster management organizations have been nominated as national platforms; in other cases they are an advisory or consultative mechanism to foster cross-sector coordination and to involve civil society and academic organizations. Only 55 countries confirm that civil society and relevant development sectors are represented in their national platforms, and only 37 scored level 4 or 5 on the functioning of national multi-sector platforms for DRM.
For HFA Priority Area 2 (Knowledge of risk at national and local level), comprehensive risk assessments remain elusive, particularly at the local level. More than half (46) of the reporting countries have undertaken national multihazard risk assessments that could hypothetically inform planning and development decisions. However, many countries faced major challenges linking these to development processes at the national and local levels. The HFA Mid-term Review also reflects that scientific assessments, useful as they are, rarely connect with assessments of community-level vulnerability and capacity.
Unfortunately, countries that reported substantial progress in this area also highlight an absence of national standards for assessing both disaster losses and risks. In particular, few countries carry out risk assessments of schools and health facilities. The overwhelming majority of countries (65 out of 82) do not collect gender-disaggregated vulnerability and capacity information.
The use of new technologies has been a key driver in the substantial progress reported on early warning. However, difficulties with all components of the early warning system or chain potentially limit corresponding improvements at the local level. The HFA Mid-term Review also indicated that more progress has been made on warning for major hazards than on developing relevant local systems and communicating early warning of recurrent extensive risks through appropriate channels.
HFA Priority Area 3 (Use knowledge, innovation and education to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels) continues to show limited progress. Identifying and further developing methods and tools for multi-risk assessments and cost–benefit analyses remains a particularly weak area, with only 19 of 82 countries scoring level 4 or 5. Less than a third of reporting countries rated as substantial or comprehensive their efforts to integrate risk reduction into school curricula and relevant formal training. The majority of countries reported significant gaps in developing public awareness strategies
Progress in HFA Priority Area 4 (Reduce the underlying risk factors) is even lower. Although countries reported a greater awareness of the need to factor DRM into planning and investment, less than a third (28 percent) rated their progress towards addressing the underlying risk drivers at 4 or 5. Countries reported difficulties addressing the risks internalized in the different development sectors; as highlighted in the previous chapter, this explains why economic loss and damage continue to increase. Only 40 percent of countries, including only a quarter of low-income countries, invested in retrofitting critical public infrastructure such as schools and hospitals.
HFA Priority Area 5 (Strengthening disaster preparedness for effective response) has been the dominant focus of national governments for decades. This area encompasses disaster preparedness and contingency plans at all administrative levels, financial reserves and contingency mechanisms, and well-established procedures for information exchange during emergencies. More than half (46 of 82) of the countries reported substantial or comprehensive achievement developing policy, technical and institutional capacities (Figure 4.4). It is clear that effective disaster management has contributed to the decline in weather-related disaster mortality highlighted in Chapter 2.
More than 80 percent of countries indicated that they have contingency plans and procedures to deal with major disasters. Around the same proportion also have operations and communication centres, search-and-rescue teams, stockpiles of relief supplies, and shelters. More than two-thirds (58 of 82) of the reporting countries possess agreed methodology and procedures for assessing damage, loss and needs when disasters occur. Almost two-thirds (53) of the countries boast national programmes and policies for making schools and health facilities safe in emergencies.
Despite this partial success, much more needs to be done. Financial mechanisms for managing disasters remain weak, fragmented and uneven. As also confirmed by the HFA Mid-term Review, few countries have contingency funding mechanisms in place, particularly at the local level. Even though 58 countries have financial mechanisms for managing disasters, and 46 have contingency funds, more than half (46) of the countries indicated only weak or average overall progress in this area.
5A list of countries and territories is available online and the interim country reports are available on this page, on the GAR11 CD, and also at www.preventionweb.net.
6 World Bank country classification ( http://data.worldbank.org/about/country-classifications/countryand-lending-groups).
GAR 2011 Contributing PapersPlease see the list of Country Reports in the Section "What has been done".