Development and Disaster Risk Reduction

Development and Disaster Risk Reduction


Ankita Rout

With the ongoing pandemic, it becomes all the more essential to analyse where the gaps and loopholes are in the existing frameworks of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), and update them. The delicate task of balancing three components - the economy, culture and the environment - is key to sustainable development, each intersecting with the other. While the economy is a function of the production of goods and services using natural, human and technological resources across sectors in rural and urban areas, the actual production process is formed by demands and capacities that are created by social conditions that have multiple discriminations on the basis of income, class, gender. Better social growth is encouraged by a good economy, while stable social conditions sustain a strong economy (Source: Chakrabart, 2017).

Disasters have a close connection with development. This nexus has three separate but interrelated dimensions:

1. Disasters erode gains of development.

2. Deficits in development create risks of disasters.

3. Development creates new risks of disasters that compound the existing layers of risk.

Disasters erode hard-earned gains of development and further impede the process of development. Geological disasters (earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides and tsunamis), meteorological disasters (tropical cyclones and other severe storms, tornadoes and high winds), hydrological disasters (river foods, flash floods and coastal flooding), climatological disasters (heat and cold waves, wild fires and associated haze), meteorological disasters (droughts), biological disasters (insect infestation, epidemics and pandemics) and complex disasters (which combine natural and human-made hazards) all can cause widespread loss of human life and livelihoods, destroy economic and social infrastructure and damage the environment and ecology (Chakrabart, 2017).

Partnerships and participation of relevant local stakeholders and communities are generally acknowledged as essential components of sustainable growth and disaster risk reduction programmes and strategies. In the Yokohama Strategy, local communities were regarded as trusted collaborators with their own knowledge and related beliefs; in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR), they were treated as "help recipients" to whom personalised risk information must be transmitted. Despite this, a text review of the three main international structures for disaster risk reduction shows a decline in the way local communities are viewed and respected as collaborators with appropriate expertise for disaster risk reduction over the decades. These patterns and shifts in the text are significant because international mechanisms act as guidelines for directing funding and project execution in a particular region.

Unfortunately, when negotiating such structures, important lessons are often ignored. The Hyogo Framework for Action's mid-term report also highlights a shortage of funds to sustain project implementation, which is a significant impediment to community development. The related concern that "national planning and decision-making often fail to recognise the needs and capacities of the most disadvantaged, resulting in a lack of resources and support to allow and encourage those who need it most" is very valid. It is impossible to achieve the mainstreaming needed for successful local action without funding streams to "explicitly place disaster risk reduction on the agenda of local governments" unless local voices are sufficiently strong to push for a prioritisation of resources at the local government level in favour of disaster risk reduction. These comments raise the real concern that local implementation would continue to lag behind national and foreign strategies without further support.

One of the research papers showed that a shortage of financial resources available to promote risk preparedness and recovery initiatives is one of the obstacles to improving DRR at the local level. The schism between DRR and other. Since DRR and other development problems, such as poverty, are fragmented, these potentially complementary foci compete and divert focus away from one another. Within local organisations, such rivalry, rather than cooperation, is a significant factor in improving resilience in developing countries. Local agencies currently depend on national and foreign aid to face disaster threats or recover from their consequences due to a lack of funds. ‘‘Mapping local dimensions of threats and vulnerabilities," ‘‘two-way coordination between local and national levels," and ‘‘strengthening participatory planning methods," are among the recommendations. These lessons emphasise the importance of more genuine interaction between foreign and national actors and community actors in order to develop local resilience.

The essence of top-down agreements, wider changes in discourse, the attractiveness of technological solutions, or the recorded difficulties associated with genuine community involvement which explain the observed change away from valuing local community feedback and toward promoting technological advances. Since it is indisputable that knowing local viewpoints and communicating with local people is important, the reasons for this change, as well as the inability of new systems to represent past lessons about local-level involvement, remain crucial areas for further research, given the indisputable value of recognising local perspectives and engaging with local actors in developing effective DRR programmes.

Ms. Ankita Rout is pursuing her Masters in Business Administration in Sustainability Management from Xaviers University, Bhubaneswar