Mainstreaming Risk Reduction

Flawed development often lies at the heart of disaster risk and therefore risk reduction strategies and measures are most effective when integrated into the framework of overall development. In principle, risk reduction should not be considered as an end in itself which requires incorporation into development but rather as an integral component of all development processes in the first place. Hence, a central concern for ProVention is to expose and address natural hazard risk within the development context and ensure that development policies, projects and programmes do not unwittingly create new forms of vulnerability.

Tools for mainstreaming risk reduction into development

ProVention's 'Measuring Mitigation' initiative is developing and promoting tools for mainstreaming risk and measuring the net socio-economic benefits of risk reduction, including a set of guidance notes for adapting existing development planning, project appraisal and evaluation tools to factor in risk reduction.

ProVention is working with partner International Finance Institutions to identify models for success in integrating risk reduction into development processes. More information about new tools and approaches can be found in the resources section.

Impact evaluation for risk reduction measures continues to be a strong interest among ProVention Consortium partners and ProVention is currently developing a new initiative on risk reduction indicators.

Another mainstreaming initiative concerns the integration of disaster risk management into municipal/local government-level urban master plans where ProVention is collaborating with the Earthquake & Megacities Initiative (EMI) to develop and demonstrate methodologies and mechanisms focussed on pilot city projects in Manila, Mumbai and Kathmandu.

ProVention has also contributed to bilateral donor policy dialogue on mainstreaming risk. Interestingly, most of the bilateral donors active in ProVention are also currently involved in policy initiatives aimed at mainstreaming risk reduction across their respective institutions and promoting disaster reduction on both the humanitarian and the development donor agendas.

Economic impact of disasters

ProVention has provided research studies and data on the economic impact of disasters, evidence of disaster risk hotspots and examples of mainstreaming approaches as critical resource material for these various donor policy initiatives.

The development of these various mainstreaming initiatives, however, needs to be complemented by a wider analysis of how such efforts both support and are supported by larger dynamics of economic, social and political change. Evidence shows that risk reduction is still viewed by many political decision-makers as a cost and not as an investment and the incentives that shape both government and private behaviour do not favour vulnerability reduction. In this respect, the questions concerning the factors, conditions and incentives that enable effective mainstreaming of disaster risk management into development were at the heart of the ProVention Forum dialogue in February 2006.