Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015
Making development sustainable: The future of disaster risk management

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The transience of this political and economic imperative is reflected at all scales. Internationally, resources for disaster risk management represent only a small fraction of those dedicated to disaster response, which in turn represent only a small proportion of overall development assistance (Figure 6.2). On average, only around 1 per cent of the total international development aid budget is allocated to disaster risk management (Kellett and Sparks, 2012

Kellet, Jan and Dan Sparks. 2012,Disaster Risk Reduction: Spending where it should count, Global Humanitarian Assistance Briefing Paper. Development Initiatives, United Kingdom.. .
), and 75 per cent of that budget is allocated to only four countries (ibid.)
6.4 Uneven decentralization
While there is agreement on the critical role of local governments in disaster risk management, efforts to strengthen their capacities remain restricted to a handful of countries.
In those cases where a national political imperative for disaster risk reduction has been identified, implementation has often been challenged by weak capacities at the local level. For example, Peru’s Ministry of Economy and Finance has been working since 2007 to integrate disaster risk management into public investment planning and evaluation. The implementation of this policy, however, has been undermined by weak capacities in many regional and local governments, where most public investment is planned and implemented.
A pervasive problem reported by many countries through the HFA Monitor is the general lack of implementation of laws and policies (UNISDR, 2009a

UNISDR. 2009a,Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction: Risk and Poverty in a Changing Climate, Geneva, Switzerland: UNISDR.. .
, 2011a, 2013a). National policies and laws are often developed but fail to include real mechanisms of implementation. This is particularly critical at the local level.
In many countries, primary responsibility for disaster risk management has been devolved to the municipal level. Many larger cities with
well-resourced local governments have been able to take full advantage of this decentralization. One of the success stories of the HFA is the growing engagement of city governments in all income groups, from Istanbul to Medellin and from San Francisco to Manila, in managing their disaster risks. The growing number of cities signing up to the United Nations Making Cities Resilient campaign is testimony to this achievement.4 Some of these local governments have shown greater effectiveness than their national counterparts and are becoming role models and leaders in disaster risk reduction.
In contrast, many smaller local governments, particularly in rural areas, lack the necessary capacities to implement disaster risk management or even basic emergency management (UNISDR, 2011a

UNISDR. 2011a,Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction: Revealing Risk, Redefining Development, Geneva, Switzerland: UNISDR.. .
). For example, while disaster risk management has been legally integrated into municipal-level development planning in South Africa since 2002, local government capacity remains limited (Scott and Tarazona, 2011; Botha and van Niekerk, 2013

Botha, Doret and Dewald van Niekerk. 2013,Views from the Frontline: A critical assessment of local risk governance in South Africa, Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 5 (2). Art. #82.. .
; GAR 13 paperJohnson, 2011

GAR13 Reference Johnson, Cassidy. 2011,Creating an enabling environment for reducing disaster risk: Recent experience of regulatory frameworks for land, planning and building in low and middle-income countries, Background Paper prepared for the 2011 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction. Geneva, Switzerland: UNISDR..
Click here to view this GAR paper.
). Similarly, a large proportion of municipalities in Colombia have mandated local committees for disaster risk reduction, but only a fraction of these have developed contingency plans (Scott and Tarazona, 2011). While it is widely recognized that local governments should play a critical role in disaster risk management, there is little evidence to suggest that there has been any concerted effort to strengthen their capacities outside of a handful of countries which have dedicated training institutions (Box 6.2).
In many countries, the decentralization of disaster risk reduction to local governments can therefore become a weakness rather than a strength and represents another manifestation of a hyperreality in which disaster risk management capacities exist on paper but not on the ground.
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