Call for Contributions: “Gender and Disaster Risk Reduction: Good Practices and Lessons Learned”

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction

Call for Contributions


One of the salient features of the Sendai Framework is its strong emphasis on disaster risk management as opposed to disaster management. The Sendai Framework scope is defined by seven global targets, the reduction of disaster risk as an expected outcome, a goal focused on preventing new risk, reducing existing risk and strengthening resilience, as well as a set of guiding principles, including primary responsibility of states to prevent and reduce disaster risk, all-of-society and all-of State institutions engagement. It also includes the need for improved understanding of disaster risk in all its dimensions of exposure, vulnerability and hazard characteristics; the strengthening of disaster risk governance, including national platforms; accountability for disaster risk management; preparedness to “Build Back Better”; recognition of stakeholders and their roles; mobilization of risksensitive investment to avoid the creation of new risk among others.

The Arab region is not immune to disasters. Different parts of the Arab region are regularly exposed to geological hazards such as earthquakes and landslides, in addition to weather-related hazards such as floods, extreme temperature events, drought, sand storms, wildfires, and cyclones. In addition, other trends such as rapid urbanization, environmental degradation, water scarcity, changing the demography and migration trends are further amplifying levels of vulnerability among the Arab population. Secondary risks associated with population displacement, disease outbreak, pandemic influenza, conflict, and civil unrest pose multi-fold challenges to the region, on a larger scale than ever before. All these factors challenge countries and limit their capacities to reduce and manage disaster risk.

As part of its multidimensional understanding of risk, the Sendai Frameworks recognizes that disasters affect men and women, and boys and girls, differently. In many contexts, gender inequalities constrain the influence and control of women and girls over decisions governing their lives as well as their access to resources. Due to existing socio-economic conditions, cultural beliefs and traditional practices, women are more likely to be disproportionately affected by disasters, including increased loss of livelihoods, gender-based violence – including rape, human trafficking and domestic abuse--, and even loss of life during, and in the aftermath of, disasters.

At the same time, women’s and community-based organizations’ actual and potential contributions to disaster risk reduction (DRR), their leadership as first responders, and their central role in community resilience are untapped assets in DRR and resilience-building initiatives. Women are often first responders when disaster strikes, tending to the needs of their families and communities and coping with the adverse impact on their livelihood and possessions. Furthermore, local women organizations are often most knowledgeable of the specific needs and capacities of women and men in remote disaster-prone and/or affected regions. The Sendai Framework puts gender at the forefront due to its whole-of-society approach and recognizes women’s potential and actual engagement in disaster risk reduction, resilience building, disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. Despite this, women are generally absent from the development of DRR strategies and decision-making processes.

Disaster risk reduction and gender are both cross-cutting development issues. They need to be addressed through a holistic and multi-stakeholder approach and coordinated joint actions through political, technical, social, developmental and humanitarian processes. Furthermore, women and girls being the first respondents during a disaster creates a need to focus more on gender sensitive policies and practices that mainstream gender into DRR. Consequently, offering the opportunity to re-examine gender relations in society from different angles and enhancing gender equality in socioeconomic development, while promoting women’s participation into decision making. It also makes it possible for nations and communities to achieve disaster resilience. It offers a win-win opportunity for governments, organizations and society at large to achieve sustainable development. To achieve these objectives, it is necessary to develop and integrate gender sensitive indicators to monitor the progress in streaming of gender. It is also, necessary to ensure gender sensitive practices are included at all stages of disaster risk management so that all disaster risk reduction policies are gender-sensitive.

In view of the above, UNDRR continues to work and reaffirm its commitment to further highlight progress achieved in this area and identify some of the key challenges lying ahead. In this context, we would request your support to share your experiences and success in areas where women have played a strategic role – either at the policy level or in the implementation and practice of building resilience to disaster and climate risks.

We are looking for examples across humanitarian, environmental and development sectors that have promoted positive changes in the use of women capabilities to build resilience to disasters and climate risks. Concrete examples of women’s multiple roles in risk reduction and building resilience will be showcased in a UNDRR publication.

We encourage you to share with us good practices and lessons learned at community, organization and country levels. Kindly use the below template and guidelines in your submissions. 

Please send your submissions requests to Ms. Saira Ahmed and Mr. Camilo Tellez Robayo not later than 31/March / 2020

*Deadline for submissions has been extended to 30/April/2020

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