UNDP is the UN's global development network, an organization advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. UNDP works on the ground in 166 countries, supporting its national partners to build their own solutions to global and national development challenges.
Disaster Reduction Goal
Through its country offices and with technical and financial support from the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR), UNDP supports disaster-prone countries in the development of comprehensive disaster risk reduction (DRR) programmes, strengthening of institutional and legislative systems, implementation of community-level disaster preparedness activities, including contingency planning and early warning, and establishment of coordination mechanisms to ensure the integration of risk reduction into human development as well as the development of national capacities for recovery planning.
Policies and Programmes in DRR
In 1998 the United Nations General Assembly decided to, “transfer to UNDP the responsibilities of the Emergency Relief Coordinator for operational activities for natural disaster mitigation, prevention and preparedness (A/RES/52/12B, para 16).” In 2001 UNDP’s Executive Board recognized that, “crisis prevention and disaster mitigation should be integral parts of sustainable human development strategies (DP/2002/2).” This resulted in the creation of BCPR to enhance UNDP’s efforts for sustainable development, working with partners to reduce the incidence and impact of disasters and violent conflicts and to establish the solid foundations for peace and recovery from crisis, thereby advancing the MDGs on poverty reduction. The UNDP Strategic Plan (2008-2011, extended to 2013) key result areas include enhancing disaster risk management capabilities and strengthening post-disaster governance to restore the foundations for local development.
Through more than 20 years of work in disaster reduction and recovery, UNDP has been able to define its niche areas of comparative advantage in an increasingly crowded field, specifically through: country office presence and trust of partners; capacity development and thematic focus; UN System Coordination through the RC system; capacity to build global partnerships for comprehensive DRR programmes; know-how to manage post-disaster recovery assessments and coordination of the Global Early Recovery Cluster.
UNDP’s disaster risk reduction and recovery programming at national level focuses on three key areas: (i) strengthening national capacities in disaster prevention, risk reduction and reducing vulnerability to future hazard events; (ii) supporting the post-disaster response and recovery efforts; and (iii) addressing programming principles of UNDP, namely gender equality and South-South cooperation. In 2008, UNDP developed an Eight-Point Agenda for women’s empowerment and gender equality in crisis settings. The complex interface of disaster with conflict and political instability is also an essential consideration in UNDP programming. To achieve these goals, BCPR has created positions for full-time senior regional disaster reduction advisors in all five regions in which UNDP operates and funds national disaster reduction advisors in UNDP offices in high risk countries.
At global level, UNDP provides services to high-risk countries such as policy guidance, advocacy, technical assistance, global knowledge sharing and partnership building with other global actors along the following key thematic areas:
• Global Risk Identification Programme
• Capacity for Disaster Reduction Initiative
• Climate Risk Management
• Urban Risk Management
• Governance and Mainstreaming of Disaster Risk Reduction into Development Planning
• Gender Sensitive Disaster Reduction and Recovery
• International Recovery Platform
UNDP has positioned itself as a key member of the UN Office for Disaster Reduction (UNDRR) system and plays leadership roles in specific technical areas in line with the priorities of the HFA through UNDRR mechanisms such as the International Recovery Platform, Global Risk Identification Programme, Capacity for Disaster Reduction Initiative and Partnership for Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction.
Membership in Key Networks
• Inter-Agency Standing Committee
• UNDRR Inter-Agency Group
• International Recovery Platform
• Global Risk Identification Programme
• Capacity for Disaster Reduction Initiative
• Partnership for Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction
National and local governments (Disaster Management/Preparedness, Planning, Construction)
Disaster Reduction Focal Point(s)
• Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery Team)
• Bureau for Development Policy
Making disaster risk reduction a policy priority, institutional strengthening (HFA 1)
The governance aspects and mainstreaming interventions are an integral part of the majority of UNDP’s disaster risk reduction programmes. Activities aim at strengthening the capacity of governments to integrate DRR into national and sub-national development policies, planning and programmes, along with other closely-related development priorities such as poverty alleviation, climate change, human rights and food security. Key activities include: (i) supporting the integration of DRR into national and local-level development policies and legal and regulatory frameworks, including through decentralization processes; (ii) conducting sectoral DRR analysis; (iii) integrating DRR into recovery process; (iv) integrating DRR into the broader aspects of crisis prevention and recovery as well as other UNDP priority areas (energy and environment, poverty reduction and democratic governance); (v) supporting better coordination and harmonization of DRR approaches with UN system partners; and (vi) establishing DRR partnerships, networks and platforms and conducting public awareness and advocacy.
In collaboration with members of the UN Development Group, UNDP has led the development of a Guidance Note on Integrating Disaster Risk Reduction into the CCA and UNDAF, followed by the training and training-of-trainers packages which are currently rolled out in various regions of the world.
Risk assessment and early warning systems (HFA 2)
The Global Risk Identification Programme (GRIP) was launched as an ISDR thematic Platform for Risk Identification in 2007 at the 1st session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction. The Programme has been adopted by the ISDR system to support worldwide activities to identify and monitor disaster risks. GRIP aims to promote sustainable development by contributing to the reduction of the impact of natural events on development. It promotes the generation of evidence-based risk information and facilitates its application to improve the quality of policy/decision making at all levels. At national level, GRIP assists its client countries in: learning from their past disasters through the establishment of National Disaster Observatories; setting up baselines and creating an enabling environment for Disaster Risk Management (DRM) through the participatory implementation of Country Situation Analyses; revising or formulating their National DRM strategy through the implementation of National Risk Assessments; and preparing effective and affordable DRM action plans through the implementation of Local Risk Assessments. In addition, GRIP has developed a series of methodologies, tools, guidelines, and standards for disaster risk assessment, including a comprehensive training package.
Education, information and public awareness (HFA 3)
CADRI was formally launched in June 2007 at the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva, with a mission to increase capacity development for disaster risk reduction at global, regional and local levels. It is an inter-agency initiative of the UNDP/BCPR, ISDR Secretariat and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). CADRI’s services include: (i) advisory services for governments, national institutions and UN entities on DRR strategies and programming; (ii) tools and materials: assisting in mapping available tools and materials, facilitating access to them and developing new tools and materials when and where there is a need; (iii) facilitation services: enhancing the capacity of national platforms and disaster management agencies for DRR, and to strengthen the coordination activities of UN Country Teams; (iv) information and networking: providing greater access to resources and to existing communities of practice.
Reducing underlying risk factors (HFA 4)
Climate-related hazards – including droughts, floods, cyclones, sea-level rise and extreme temperatures – have enormous impact on the socio-economic development of a society. The frequency, magnitude and duration of damaging climate conditions are changing. UNDP’s Climate Risk Management (CRM) aims to assess and manage societal vulnerability associated with existing and future patterns of risk stemming from short-term climate variability and long-term climate change, and integrates them into development strategies, policies, plans, and projects. CRM brings together elements of climate-related disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Through CRM, UNDP is fostering cross-practice collaboration between BCPR’s disaster risk reduction work and UNDP Energy and Environment Group’s climate change adaptation portfolio. UNDP’s integrated CRM practice is reflected, for instance, into the Climate Risk Management Technical Assistance Support Project, a global project encompassing 20 high risk countries across the globe, the Central Asia Multi-Country Programme on Climate Risk Management targeting Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and the Climate Risk Management capacity building programme comprising regional and national trainings.
UNDP promotes the establishment of legal and legislative instruments and technical tools that prioritize DRR as an integral part of the urban development process. Key policy areas for reducing urban disaster risks at the local level include: (i) risk identification and communication; (ii) risk reduction and mitigation measures; (iii) municipal disaster management; (iv) urban governance and institutional and legislative systems; and (v) awareness-building for public officials and communities.
Preparedness for effective response (HFA 5)
Countries and geographic areas with a high degree of exposure and vulnerability to natural hazards experience recurrent disasters. These high-risk areas are increasingly well understood and mapped through scientific analysis. UNDP uses this knowledge to support national and local authorities to develop the capacity to prepare for disaster response and recovery, working with partner organizations through the IASC and UN country team. UNDP works with countries sharing similar hazards and risks on a regional level drawing on and facilitating South-South cooperation. Most recently UNDP is cooperating with other members of the IASC to promote disaster preparedness capacity in selected high-risk countries through the IASC sub-working group on preparedness.
In 2006, UNDP launched its Immediate Crisis Response Initiative (SURGE) to enhance its institutional ability to respond more quickly and effectively in the recovery phase following a conflict or disaster. UNDP can deploy SURGE Advisors on very short notice. It has Standard Operating Procedures for immediate crisis response, which have been tested, refined and officially adopted, and a toolkit is available to country offices.