Why people still lose their lives and livelihoods to disasters

29 October 2021


If development decisions fail to take into account how floods can exacerbate poverty, or how epidemics destroy incomes, then lives and development gains can be lost. But all too often these decisions are made without the use of local evidence or listening to people directly experiencing disasters.

As part of our Views from the Frontline programme we have collated local voices and shared them with governments making development decisions and the international agencies that influence their policies and projects.

We examined all the local data from our programme and analysed the findings of our members who conducted the surveys at the community level in 50 countries. Our online global report provides nine conclusions as to why people are still losing their lives and livelihoods to disasters.

As highlighted in our report, only 16% of people at risk feel included in the decisions about how to reduce their own risk.  Poor planning of participation, in terms of timing and convenience, prevents many citizens from participating in local resilience plans and actions.

Responsibilities are also not being appointed: half of local government respondents said that no office is specifically responsible for assessing and addressing community risks. And eight out of ten community members say they can’t access funds to build their own resilience.

Since the release of this report, governments at national and sub-national level in 25 countries have acknowledged the value of citizen-based data as an input to their plans and policies.

Our report has also been presented to the UN Environment Programme, who have used the conclusion that 60% of community members say that ecosystem-based approaches aren’t used in building resilience in their community, to support their strategy for increasing nature-based solutions.

Two donor institutions that are GNDR partners – the Swiss Development Cooperation and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency – have used our data in their triangulation of information to arrive at funding decisions.

The UN Stakeholder Engagement Mechanism has drawn on the conclusion that two-thirds of community members say that local investment projects don’t consider local risks to design a joint evidence-based advocacy campaign on the need for risk-informed development.

The report has also been used by multiple universities to define further research projects, including those on multi-hazard decision making in cities, and gender-transformative approaches to eco-DRR.

Finally, we have used the report to define our new GNDR strategy. Each strategic goal has emerged from one of the conclusions of the report and has a baseline from the data. We have committed to address three of the conclusions over the next five years.

Project funded by

European Union

Our Views from the Frontline project is funded by the European Union (EU). Content related to this project on our website was made possible by the support of the EU. All content is the sole responsibility of GNDR and does not necessarily reflect the views of the EU.

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