Disaster Risk Reduction

Disaster risk reduction (DRR) aims to reduce the damage caused by natural hazards like earthquakes, floods, droughts and cyclones through an ethic of prevention. Disasters often follow natural hazards. A disaster's severity depends on how much impact a hazard has on society and the environment. The scale of the impact in turn depends on the choices we make for our lives and for our environment. These choices relate to how we grow our food, where and how we build our homes, what kind of government we have, how our financial system works and even what we teach in schools. Each decision and action makes us more vulnerable to disasters - or more resilient to them.

DRR includes disciplines such as disaster management, disaster mitigation and disaster preparedness, but DRR is also a critical part of sustainable development. In order for development activities to be sustainable, they must also reduce disaster risk. On the other hand, unsound development policies will increase disaster risk - and disaster losses. Thus, DRR involves every part of society, every part of government, and every part of the professional and private sector.

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) was established in 1999 as a dedicated secretariat to facilitate implementation of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. UNISDR coordinates, campaigns, advocates and informs all stakeholders about disaster risk reduction. UNISDR has a mandate by the United Nations General Assembly "to serve as the focal point in the United Nations system for the coordination of disaster reduction and to ensure synergies among the disaster reduction activities of the United Nations system and regional organizations and activities in socio-economic and humanitarian fields" (UN General Assembly Resolution 56/195).


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