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GNDR can help bridge the gap between DRR and conflict

Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun

GNDR’s Project Officer, Julia Taub, shares highlights and reflections of an event looking at disaster risk reduction in fragile and conflict-affected contexts, based on a report by the Overseas Development Institute.

Students and representatives of CSOs, academia, government agencies, donors and the private sector gathered in London on 7th June to discuss a new report from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). This report identifies significant gaps in the way disaster risk reduction is prioritised (or not) in fragile and conflict-affected areas and event participants discussed some of these challenges.

Starting with a keynote from GIZ, the event included a panel discussion with panellists from ODI, UNISDR Africa, University of London Royal Holloway and the World Bank’s GFDRR and focused on 2 key questions:

  1. What are some of the blockages and challenges to DRR in fragile and conflict affected contexts?
  2. What innovative and practical steps can be taken to support the implementation of the SFDRR in fragile and conflict affected settings?

The discussion pointed to a reluctance to link DRR and conflict to the point where conflict and fragile states were negotiated out of the Sendai Framework at the last minute. The conversation also highlighted that the separation between disasters and conflict put the people at the frontline bearing the brunt of the impacts, as international aid workers do not know how to handle conflict. In addition to this lack of know-how, there are safety concerns and other priorities that contribute to gaps in disaster risk reduction in conflict affected states.

Based on the discussion, whilst there are significant gaps surrounding DRR in fragile and conflict affected contexts, no one really seems to know how these gaps can be addressed, though it is important to understand local contexts and include those communities at the frontline. The report makes 4 key recommendations:

  1. Integrate the issue into the monitoring of progress on the global targets of the SFDRR, particularly target E (establish national DRR strategies)
  2. Collate what we know and articulate what we don’t
  3. Establish and formalise a community of practice and a group of political champions
  4. Use existing convening spaces and platforms to fast track the agenda

So is there a role for GNDR in all of this? I think so. For starters, GNDR’s Views from the Frontline programme will be used to complement UNISDR’s SFDRR Monitor, capturing the voices of those living at the frontline who are bearing the brunt of the impacts. Some of the implementation countries are listed as fragile states and these on-the-ground experiences will be used to influence DRR policy and practice at the national, regional and even global levels.

Furthermore, as a global network, we can use our spheres of influence to bring the importance of the local realities in fragile areas to the attention of decision-makers and advocate for integration of DRR in sustainable development agendas. As many of the fragile and conflict-affected countries are also the most vulnerable to disasters and the effects of climate change, it makes sense for them to take a holistic approach as they prioritise their development, ensuring resilience to potential disasters and the impacts of climate change.
In order for DRR in fragile and conflict affected contexts to be most effective, local realities must be taken into account and GNDR is ideally positioned to help bridge this gap, showing governments how collaborative DRR reduces vulnerability and, consequently, fragility and the risk of further conflict over resources.

For further information, please contact Julia Taub at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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  • Learn more on DRR and fragile conflicted affected areas here

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