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

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Chapter 13
and disruptive technologies and communication tools have the potential to break down barriers and drive social demand for accountability in risk generation and accumulation.
Globally, due diligence is a sensitive topic because it touches on issues of national sovereignty. The problem of ownership of accountability mechanisms for disaster risk at the global scale has not been tackled to date. Implicitly, each state is responsible for the security of its citizens, but responsibility for the creation of risks that affect other countries (e.g. through climate change or risk-generating investments) is not spelled out.
Accountability and social demand
Social demand and accountability go hand in hand: without bottom-up demand, even high levels of political support for disaster risk reduction will fail to create the type of accountability mechanisms required to effectively address factors such as corruption and the preference for short-term profit over long-term sustainability. However, experience shows that social demand is unlikely to be a response to national policies, laws or new administrative mechanisms, but rather to experience with disasters themselves.
As social media continues to develop rapidly, it becomes more difficult to hide or dissimulate the causality of risk generation and accumulation. Social demand for accountability can become a critical transformer, as it in itself represents a key reputational risk for politicians and business leaders alike. Online petition platforms such as now regularly “name and shame” governments, companies and business leaders.9 For example, when a garment factory in Bangladesh collapsed in April 2013, burying numerous underpaid workers under the rubble, public outrage spread rapidly via websites, blog posts and online communities. Within days, a number of high-profile online campaigns had been launched against popular clothing brands, and within a matter of weeks those campaigns succeeded in getting
more than 75 large companies to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh in support of an enforceable worker safety plan.10
Normative frameworks for accountability
To date, the normative frameworks that could provide the basis for accountability mechanisms are mostly limited to disaster management (IFRC and UNDP, 2014

IFRC (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies) and UNDP (United Nations Development Programme). 2014,Effective law and regulation for disaster risk reduction: a multi-country report, New York.. .
). Developing accountability mechanisms for risk generation is more challenging, especially with regard to setting targets and determining roles and responsibility. However, this approach has begun to emerge in recent laws, such as those passed in Colombia (Government of Colombia, 2012

Government of Colombia. 2012,Ley No, 1523 del 24 de Abril de 2012. Por el cual se adopta la política nacional de gestión del riesgo de desastres y se establece el sistema nacional de gestión del riesgo de desastres y se dictan otras disposiciones.. .
) and in India (IFRC and UNDP, 2014

IFRC (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies) and UNDP (United Nations Development Programme). 2014,Effective law and regulation for disaster risk reduction: a multi-country report, New York.. .
). For example, a public interest lawsuit was filed with the Supreme Court of India in 2013 against the governments of six states, claiming that the national Disaster Management Act of 2005 had not been implemented properly (ibid.). More recently, and as highlighted in Chapter 6, local authorities in France have been indicted for permitting the urbanization of flood-prone areas.
The different powers within a state will have different roles to play: while the executive branch may have the ability to set goals and targets, several countries are currently experimenting with oversight bodies in the form of parliamentary committees, entire parliaments or ombudsmen. However, the strengthening or adoption of accountability mechanisms ultimately needs to be appropriate to different local and national contexts. These mechanisms may include actions by national control or audit offices to ensure that disaster risk management policies are being applied by sectors or local governments; actions by the judicial branch of government to investigate cases of negligent or malicious risk generation; assessments by the legislative branch of government, for example through parliamentary committees, regarding the implementation of disaster risk management policies and strategies; and potentially new functions such as a risk
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