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Disaster risk reduction

Disaster risk reduction (DRR) is a term used for reducing and preventing the effects of a disaster. This includes projects such as building secure houses in earthquake areas, implementing early warning systems for tsunamis and managing food resources to avoid famine. DRR is founded on the belief that whilst disasters are inevitable, death and suffering from them is not and humans can take action to ensure this.

It is now widely accepted, though not scientifically proven, that climate change has a direct impact on the prevalence and seriousness of disasters. Higher rainfall, changing temperatures and rising sea levels are likely to make disasters more frequent in the future. Adaptation to climate change and DRR both seek to achieve sustainability and reduce vulnerability. Subsequently there are growing efforts to closely link DRR and climate change adaptation, both in policy and practice. 

The sections below present a critical overview of current DRR practice and policy, highlighting new emerging trends with recommended reading.

Key resource: IPCC report on disaster risk managment and climate change adaptation
Youths running
P. Smith / Panos Pictures
This Summary for Policymakers presents key findings from the Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX). It assesses scientific literature on issues that range from the relationship between climate change, extreme weather and climate events. The authors examine how exposure and vulnerability to weather and climate events determine impacts and the likelihood of disasters, and anaylse the interactions between disasters and development.

Introduction to Disaster Risk Reduction

Disaster risk reduction (DRR) is a term used for reducing and preventing the effects of a disaster. DRR is founded on the belief that whilst disasters are inevitable, death and suffering from them is not and humans can take action  to ensure this. More...

International Frameworks

DRR has been high on the international agenda since the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. Prompted by the devastation that followed and widespread recognition for the need to install early warning systems, 168 Governments met at the World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Japan in January 2005. More...

Disaster Risk Reduction themes

Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) is very wide-ranging and there is potential and need for DRR interventions in just about every sector. For most part DRR interventions maintain a thematic focus, following the priorities set by the Hyogo Framework of Action. More...

Disaster Risk Reduction & Climate Change

Climate change and disaster risk reduction (DRR) are closely linked. Increased extreme weather events in the future are likely to increase the number and scale of disasters. More...

Monitoring & Evaluation

Limited attention has been given to M&E methods specifically for disaster risk reduction (DRR). As a result Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) has been one of the weakest areas of DRR programme management to date, partly due to the methodological challenges that it presents. More...

Latest Documents

The impacts of and efforts to address climate change in the fragile ecosystem of Sundarbans
A. Danda (ed) / WWF-World Wide Fund For Nature 2010
The eco-region of Sundarbans is unique and fragile because it is one of the most extensive mangrove forests in the world. This report describes the Sundarbans region and the impacts of climate change using evidence from the people who...
Using cost-benefit analysis to analyse community based disaster risk management projects
D. Willenbocke (ed) / Practical Action [Intermediate Technology Development Group] 2011
This study provides a systematic cost-benefit analysis of a community-based disaster risk management project led by Practical Action in two districts of Nepal over the period 2007 to 2010. The objectives of the project are: ...
Using indicators to communicate risk
O., D. Cardona (ed); M., L. CarreƱo (ed) / Journal of Integrated Disaster Risk Management 2011
In order to improve disaster risk understanding and disaster risk management performance in Latin America and the Caribbean a transparent, representative and robust system of indicators was developed by the Institute of Environmental ...
Monitoring and evaluating climate change and disaster risk reduction
P., S Villanueva / Eldis Community 2011
This working paper is a methodological contribution to the emerging debate on monitoring and evaluation (M&E) in the context of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. Effectively managing disaster risk is critical ...
Draft national policy for disaster management in Kenya
Kenya Community Support Center 2009
In the pursuit of reducing vulnerabilities to risks, the Kenyan Government has formulated this National Policy on Disaster Management to institutionalise mechanisms for addressing disasters. The policy emphasizes preparedness on the p...
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This guide has been written by Paula Silva Villanueva.

Paula is a Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction consultant based at the Institute of Development Studies.