DRR Policies and Practices

Disaster-Risk12Risk reduction strategies for the poor should work toward reducing economic vulnerability and at the same time capitalize on (and perhaps nurture) the inherent social and cultural capacities of the poor communities.

The existing local level mechanisms for managing risk needs to be identified and strengthened.

For example, at the local level access to credit for risk reduction activities (such as retrofitting of schools) could be channeled through pre-existing village councils. Further, in order to meet poverty reduction objectives, it is necessary that potential hazard risks are determined and risk management approaches taken into account while designing poverty reduction strategies and socio-economic development plans.

Disaster-Risk13As and when disasters do occur, recovery has often remained under-funded with detrimental impact on development despite donor support and reallocation of development portfolio. Hyogo framework and several other international treaties have always called for integrating disaster risk reduction perspectives in to development planning.

These calls have seldom been responded with action, mainly due lack of models that demonstrate practical ways of integrating disaster risk reduction in to development planning.  Integration cannot happen at the global level.  Integration has to happen at the local level. Lot more commitment and creativity needs to be displayed to develop specific and workable integration approaches.

The small socialist country, CUBA shows the world the way to govern disasters and integrate disaster risk reduction in policies and practices: CUBA s (  Source: Riding the Tide a publication of Oxfam America on CUBAs disaster preparedness systems.) approach to disaster preparedness provides a picture of shared vision, shared responsibility and genuine commitment to disaster risk reduction by all stake holders and entire population. The most important factor to note is that CUBAs “development model reduces disaster risk”

CUBA’s legal framework for disaster risk reduction:

  • Cuban national civil defence 1976 act mandates every adult citizen to undergo civil defence training.
  • Legal decree 1997 details the role of ministries, social organizations, and all public entities in case of emergency.
  • Law defines centralized decision making with the president, head of civil defence and minister of the armed forces.
  • Law also lays out decision-making by local authorities when circumstances so require.

CUBA’s development policy and practice model for vulnerability reduction:

  • Universal access to services: Health, education, physical infrastructure,
  • Policies to reduce social and economic disparities.
  • Considerable investment in human development creating a large number of well trained professionals.
  • Investment in infrastructure: Both in rural and urban areas reduced urban density and range of resources available in the rural areas that are used for disaster mitigation.
  • Social and economic organization: Promoting solidarity, cohesion, cooperation,and creates social capital that can be applied for risk reduction.
  • Self Help, social cohesion, citizen based social protection.
  • Concrete plans to save lives, evacuation plans, etc.
  • Investment in human and economic development.

Key Message: Disaster prevention needs to be made inevitable, integral practice and approach to our development planning.  Disaster preparedness should become a culture and conscious practice. Development plans and policies that fall short to understand these aspects and not succeed to integrate disaster risk reduction are more likely to suffer in the long run.

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