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Disaster risk reduction: a development concern

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Poverty and vulnerability do not necessarily overlap. Not all disasters affect the poorest the most, yet the poor tend to be more exposed and susceptible to hazards and suffer greater losses. Disasters can induce poverty. In policy terms this means that poverty reduction can help reduce disaster risk.Disasters are rooted in development failures; they do not just happen but result from failures of development which increase vulnerability to hazard events. This information paper emphasises that disasters should be a core development concern as they are currently holding back the ability to achieve countries’ Millennium Development Goals. Such a conclusion is the main rationale for integrating disaster risk reduction (DRR) into development.It is shown that recent studies suggest governments and donors transfer funds and resources from development programmes when disaster relief and rehabilitation is also a priority. Incorporating risk reduction in development, or ‘disaster proofing’ development, has the potential to change failed development, risk accumulation and disaster losses into successful development, risk reduction and effective disaster response.The main recommendation of this paper is that bilateral donors should establish strategies for making DRR a central concern of development policy and programming, and promote and support a risk reduction agenda amongst global development partners. This objective is achievable through a number of actions:establishing appropriate institutional arrangements and organisationincorporating operational guidelines and trainingpromoting risk reduction at national level, within the media, in research and education, and within international and regional organisationsevaluating progress in mainstreaming DRR.