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

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Chapter 13
Change is in the air
Many of the required governance reforms have already been described in detail in previous editions of the GAR (UNISDR, 2009a

UNISDR. 2009a,Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction: Risk and Poverty in a Changing Climate, Geneva, Switzerland: UNISDR.. .
, 2011a, 2013a). Managing disaster risks requires strong local governance and the willingness and capacity of local authorities to work in partnership with lowincome households and communities and civil society. Strong political authority at the national level is required to ensure that policies, strategies and legislation are implemented across sectors and in regional and local governments. It is likewise necessary to fully engage the private sector at the national, city and local levels.
The management of disaster risks needs to be part of a broader approach to risk management that also looks at biological, technological, financial and other risks. In addition, robust social accountability can be strengthened through public information and transparency. Greater synergy needs to be generated between the management of disaster risk and that of climate change, and between those two areas and sustainable development.
These general principles will need to be interpreted in the light of constitutional, political and administrative arrangements in each country. While models may exist for disaster management, no single model can exist for disaster risk reduction. The specific configuration of regulation and incentives and of central policies and local implementation will vary immensely from country to country (Gall et al., 2014c

Gall, Melanie, Susan Cutter and Khai Nguyen. 2014c,Transformative Development and Disaster Risk Management, 2015 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction. Section on the Future of Disaster Risk Management. Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute, University of South Carolina, May 2014.. .
). Success will depend on the adoption of appropriate policies, strategies, norms and standards in each sector and at each level of territorial government.
The question of where the locus of responsibility for disaster risk reduction should reside within government remains unresolved (UNISDR, 2011a

UNISDR. 2011a,Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction: Revealing Risk, Redefining Development, Geneva, Switzerland: UNISDR.. .
2013a; Wilkinson et al., 2014

Wilkinson, E., E. Comba and K. Peters. 2014,Disaster Risk Governance: Unlocking Progress and Reducing Risk, UNDP, BCPR and ODI.. .
; GAR 13 paperUNDP, 2014a

GAR13 Reference UNDP (United Nations Development Programme). 2014a,Disaster Risk Governance During the HFA Implementation Period, Background Paper prepared for the 2015 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction. Geneva, Switzerland: UNISDR..
Click here to view this GAR paper.
). This is partly due to the “no size fits all” issue common to all governance questions and partly due to the limited understanding of how distance and power-sharing dynamics between different tiers of government and co-responsibility mechanisms across departments play out in specific contexts.
Some countries are already taking steps to manage disaster risks within a broader governance framework. Finance and planning ministries in a number of countries, including Costa Rica, Panama and Peru, are working to integrate disaster risk management into public investment planning and evaluation. In Mexico, the sophisticated risk financing arrangements put in place for disaster risk management are part of a broader strategy to strengthen financial resilience in the public sector. In Peru, a new institutional framework has been put in place to manage disaster risks, while new legislation in Colombia strengthens accountability not just for disasters but also for disaster risk generation. Another recent innovation has been the introduction of chief risk officers at both the city and national levels as a mechanism to ensure coherence in risk management efforts.6
How effective these emerging governance arrangements turn out to be will only be seen with time. However, they do highlight that reforming disaster risk reduction is not merely a theoretical construct. Driven by their own experiences, countries are already experimenting with new forms of risk governance.
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