Seven principles to guide our strategic approach
At the heart of the growing local, national and international influence of our members are seven guiding principles.
1. Start at the local level
Recognise the local context and understand community perspectives of risk
It is vital that the experience of different challenges faced by people across the world is used to inform not just global frameworks and national policies, but also the approaches to implement these policies at the local level.
The realities for people on the disaster frontline, living with fragility, insecurity and informality, need to be understood so that policies and practices are appropriate and effective.
2. Partner and collaborate
Work with and across all groups and levels to pursue the interests of people at risk
At the heart of the creation and continued development of GNDR is the belief that civil society organisations are stronger together. Partnering with organisations within and across different regions and sectors on shared actions provides solidarity, increases the opportunity to secure political space and enhances impact.
Collaboration goes beyond civil society partnerships: an all-society approach is needed to include a range of state and non-state actors such as communities most at risk, different community groups, government departments, international agencies, faith groups, other networks, the private sector, media, academia, and more.
The way forward is to connect with each other, form partnerships, learn and work together.
3. Include all groups
Ensure the inclusion of all groups, particularly those most at risk
People and groups within society are often affected in different ways by the impacts of extreme hazards and threats. Different levels and types of vulnerability are often a consequence of disparities and inequalities within countries.
We must recognise the intersectionality of discrimination that leads to vulnerability, including gender, ethnicity, disability, LGBTQI+, religious minorities, elderly, youth and children.
In particular, special attention must be given to people living in poverty and in vulnerable situations who have limited access to government planning and decision-making processes. They are the most impacted by the effects of these processes and who possess substantial local capacities, indigenous knowledge and expertise.
4. Promote gender equality
Implement gender-transformative approaches
Gender-transformative approaches recognise that one of the major barriers to sustainable risk-informed development, which interconnects with all other drivers of risk, is gender inequality.
Without challenging and transforming deeply embedded norms and customs that perpetuate unequal power relations between women and men, we are not living up to our commitments of building resilience. Working together effectively requires us to recognise the power and influence of women’s leadership.
Where communities most at risk face heightened vulnerability, we must strive for approaches that actively empower women so that they are less likely to lose their livelihoods, more able to access services and increase their food security, are better equipped to support their communities’ resilience, and more able to find solutions, mobilise, act, and advocate for changes that will reduce risks in the longer term.
Ensuring a clear gender lens is part of the design and delivery of our work, and promoting gender equality across our network as a whole and challenging member organisations to do the same, is all part of bringing this principle alive.
5. Mobilise different resources
Share resources, build on existing capacities, knowledge and other sources of resilience
It is important to recognise and mobilise local knowledge, expertise, and experience which are often ignored. Sharing and combining expertise, decision-making and commitment at all levels is vital. Communities most at risk and frontline organisations must have space to influence, along with the capacity and power to take decisions.
A consistent challenge for communities most at risk is the lack of access to finance, which in turn influences power dynamics. The transfer and sharing of resources is essential for successful localisation; not only directing international funding to local actors, but also community resources being gathered together for collective action.
Various funding channels should be mobilised, ranging from institutional sources such as international donors, bilateral cooperation agencies, UN and INGOs, to individual-based sources such as individual contributions or diaspora groups’ contributions.
In addition, the private sector (from multinationals to small and medium enterprises) has a role to play in mobilising resources for community resilience. GNDR is in a unique position to support the resource mobilisation aspect of a localisation movement: the Secretariat can act as a liaison between big institutional donors and its member organisations, while the diversity of the network membership can be leveraged to strengthen knowledge, expertise and experience in taking the lead in policymaking and planning for resilience.
6. Align policies with practices
Ensure coherence across disaster risk reduction, climate change and other development frameworks and activities
GNDR believes that the perspective of communities at risk must be part of all international frameworks. In complex, uncertain and unpredictable situations, vulnerable households adopt coping strategies that are holistic, flexible, and iterative. People do what they can to both protect and enhance lives, livelihoods and assets. The complex, intertwined nature of the threats and hazards to which people are exposed cannot be adequately addressed with a focus on single-issue solutions.
Coherence starts with taking the perspective of communities most at risk and ensuring that coherent approaches across different levels and the various post-2015 agreements meet at the frontline – where policies result in practices.
7. Be accountable to local communities most at risk
Ensure that we are accountable and challenge others to do the same
Community accountability is about engagement with communities most at risk, with whom our members work, and being responsible to local people and responsive to their needs and the risks they face.
GNDR members are ultimately seeking to strengthen the resilience of people most at risk, and we are therefore accountable to them for our actions. A strong civil society, accountable to local communities, can then play a vital role in supporting, facilitating and demanding that governments and other actors fulfil their mandates, duties and obligations and are accountable to populations at risk.
“We used to work in a participatory way. Now we work in an inclusive way.”
Lidia Ester Santana, Community member, Haina, Dominican Republic