World Bank technical assistance boosts Djibouti’s disaster risk management

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Through the World Bank-managed Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), Djibouti is addressing the need to strengthen its capacity to assess and communicate its risks and vulnerabilities to natural disasters. This approach will strengthen the capacity of national agencies in disaster prevention, assessment, and preparedness so as to reduce the impacts of natural hazards and climate change on the country's population and economy. The Djibouti Center for Research Studies (CERD), the World Bank's counterpart in this initiative, has already established a damage and loss inventory database, allowing the government to systematize and quantify damage and losses after a natural disaster.


Djibouti lacks a clearly defined leader for disaster risk management and ambiguities between the roles of line ministries in this regard persist in spite of the 2006 establishment of the Executive Secretariat for Risk and Disaster Management. Furthermore, there is limited perception and understanding of natural disaster risk among key stakeholders and within government agencies. Engagement during preparation of the three-year Disaster Risk Management program revealed that competition among national agencies might hinder project implementation.

Technical assistance was designed to ensure that the envisaged activities matched Djibouti's institutional capacity, and helped develop ownership of this program among national agencies that had leading roles in all stages of implementation. This approach has resulted in high transfer of disaster risk management capacity, and has provided the Djibouti partners with good level of ownership and confidence, which will be instrumental for the sustainability of risk assessment capacity. The work carried out during the first six months of technical assistance has generated useful knowledge that the government of Djibouti is applying in its effort to upgrade the country's disaster risk management capacity, to expand it, and to improve its quality.


The Comprehensive Approach to Risk Assessment in Djibouti technical program, which is focused on developing a comprehensive and sustainable system to assess, communicate and monitor risks associated with natural disasters in Djibouti, is helping the country to shift from a responsive to preventive approach to natural disasters and has helped reach the following outcomes:

- Thirty National practitioners were trained then certified by the GFDRR in disaster risk management and reduction (September 13-16, 2010) ;

- Disaster data collection and management capacity increased following technical training of 40 stakeholders from line ministries (February 20-23, 2011) ;

- A disaster loss and damage inventory database was created and anchored at the CERD, enabling the country to quantify its damage and losses after a disaster event (February 2011) ;

- Two university students joined a Masters Degree program in disaster risk management in France, financed by the Djiboutian Government. Those students will join the Executive Secretariat for Risk and Disaster Management in June 2011.

Bank contribution

Through the GFDRR, the World Bank has helped transfer knowledge and build the capacity of local institutions in the domain of disaster risk management. The Bank has mobilized resources to support the following activities: (i) Natural Disaster Risk Assessment and Monitoring System (GFDRR US$2.5 million); and; (ii) Pursuing Low Regret Climate Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction Options (US$200,000 from the Trust Fund for Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development).


The GFDRR funded activities have enabled a strong partnership among key development partners working on disaster risk management in Djibouti. The quarterly organization of trainings, and round-table with the Executive Secretariat for Risk and Disaster Management, the Ministry of Environment, the National Meteorology Agency, the University of Djibouti and the Djibouti Center for Research Studies, and with international donors such as the United Nations Development Program, the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction the World Food Program and, the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development is creating stronger synergy among the programs, while enabling the organization of a multi-donor disaster risk management round-table planned for the end of 2011 in Djibouti. Coordinated support is expected to increase the momentum of sector investment while promoting the integration of disaster risk reduction measures in country development strategies.

Toward the Future

The strong disaster risk management efforts of the University of Djibouti and the National Meteorology Agency triggered additional financing (US$200,000) from the Trust Fund for Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development, to pursue "Low Regret Climate Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction Options in the Republic of Djibouti." These activities greatly complement ongoing efforts under GFDRR, and respond to the strong request from national stakeholders to strengthen national capacities for analysis and communication of disaster risk and climate change information among vulnerable communities.

Additionally, in order to capitalize on this momentum, a national Djibouti disaster risk management specialist and an international disaster risk management specialist will be hired under GFDRR.

The GFDRR-funded activity has triggered the recent establishment by CERD of a Laboratory for Risk Management. This initiative, funded by the Djiboutian government demonstrates a strong commitment to provide integrated scientific and technical approach to risk management.

The University of Djibouti has also created training courses in disaster risk management and climate change adaptation that have been integrated into the university curriculum. There are currently 26 students enrolled in this course.


All Djibouti citizens would benefit from an enhanced capacity to cope with natural disasters and better manage associated risks. Staff of the targeted institutions in Djibouti are the direct beneficiaries of World Bank efforts in this domain, as so are policy and decision makers who will be able to rely upon improve technical resources and capacity.

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