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Disaster risk reduction

In an increasingly fragile and vulnerable world, it is becoming more and more urgent to integrate the issue of crisis management into development policy. Prevention and preparedness activities are essential parts of international aid work. Through evaluations and research, Groupe URD contributes to the exchange of ideas on these issues, drawing lessons from past disasters in order to improve preparedness for the future.

The International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction and the creation of a permanent international secretariat for these issues (secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction) have not made a great deal of difference to practices. Events such as the earthquake in Haiti in January 2010, the tsunami in December 2004, hurricane Katrina in the USA, the mudflow disaster in Java in 2006 and the increasing number of food crises in the Sahel and Sahelo-Sudanese region are regular, brutal reminders of the importance of prevention, preparedness and warning programmes.

It is evident from declarations such as those made at the Kobé Conference in February 2005 that international decision-makers have become aware of the importance of this subject. However, it is not always easy to take stock of the different kinds of operations and methods that exist, such as the Red Cross movement, civil protection forces from within crisis-torn countries and from other countries, UNDAC, specialist NGOs and general NGOs.

Groupe URD is active in three areas:

  • Helping to improve understanding of the issues involved, their complexity and their many geographical and phenomenological aspects;
  • Taking part in international efforts to clarify thinking on these issues for decision makers (planners, donors and national decision-makers) and to establish action plans;
  • Developing strategic and operational tools to help actors involved in analysis and anticipation (hot spots theory, work on vulnerability and warning systems), preparedness and prevention.

Disaster risk reduction is a central issue in many of Groupe URD’s research and evaluation projects.

For more information, contact François Grünewald

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