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  • Dull disasters: How planning ahead will make a difference
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Dull disasters: How planning ahead will make a difference

Source(s):  World Bank Institute (WBG)

This book harnesses lessons from finance, political science, economics, psychology, and the natural sciences to show how countries and their partners can be far better prepared to deal with disasters. The insights can lead to practical ways in which governments, civil society, private firms, and international organisations can work together to reduce the risks to people and economies when a disaster looms.

The lessons learned outlined in this document are the following:

  • Discretionary begging-bowl financing does not work well for disasters. It is too slow, leads to a fragmented response, and encourages underinvestment in risk reduction and preparedness.
  • To get around this problem, generous people and their political leaders should own up to and clarify who or what they will protect and against what and how much others will have to pay. They should be willing to think as if they are an insurance company.
  • This means making trade-offs over who or what to protect before disasters. This process is not easy, but it is necessary for a system with good incentives.
  • Leaders should focus on providing protection, not relief, and using financial incentives to encourage others to own up to and finance their share up front.
  • The international humanitarian system is still needed, but it should act as a back-up when plans fail. It should not be the first line of defence for floods, earthquakes, droughts, storms, or pandemics.

This document is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 IGO licence.



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  • Dull disasters: How planning ahead will make a difference
  • Publication date 2016
  • Author(s) Clarke, D.J.; Dercon, S.
  • Number of pages 154 p.
  • ISBN/ISSN 9780198785576

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