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Operational framework for integrating risk reduction: For organisations working in settlement development planning
  • Christine Wamsler

Over the past decades, the frequency of the occurrence of so-called ‘natural’ disasters has grown significantly worldwide, resulting in escalating human and economic losses. In this context, it is the developing countries that bear the greatest burden in terms of the human lives and proportion of gross domestic product lost as a result of disasters. Increasing attention has thus been given to the need to reduce disaster risk through development work, in order to bring about sustainable poverty reduction. However, aid organisations (including donor and implementing organisations), as well as national and municipal authorities still struggle to effectively tackle disaster risk in the course of their everyday work. This is, not least, due to a lack of related operational tools.

Based on more than four years of research in the field of disaster risk reduction (RR), this Operational Framework has been designed with the objective of counteracting the situation described, and thus assisting in sustainably integrating RR into the work of development organisations. It offers a comprehensive set of potential integration strategies and complementary programme measures to tackle risk (to be considered within each of the integration strategies), thus providing a comprehensive extension of existing RR models and concepts. Elaborated for both operational and management staff, it illustrates how development organisations can, step by step, initiate and pursue the integration of RR into their development programming in order to adopt a more pro-active approach towards RR. To be more specific, the framework supports organisations with concrete tools and guidance in:

• Evaluating the relevance of integrating RR within their organisation,

• Identifying and prioritising the various possible strategies for integrating RR into their work,

• Formulating activities and measures to take in the implementation of the selected strategies,

• Evaluating the possibilities of financing these, and

• Defining a step-by-step implementation plan.

In respect of the formulation of the activities and measures required for the integration of RR, the framework provides matrixes, which include:

• Input and process indicators to get the integration process started,

• Input and process indicators in the form of benchmarks (i.e. the operational state that an organisation should seek to achieve), and

• Output indicators.

Furthermore, it offers a list of sector-specific reference activities and recommendations for organisations working in settlement development planning. During the course of the research, additional analytical, conceptual and strategic frameworks were also developed, all of which complement this Operational Framework and assist in a better interfacing of RR and development planning. Related literature sources are notated in the annexes.

Importantly, the Operational Framework at hand is applicable to a variety of cultural and geographic contexts, as well as to all types of ‘natural’ hazards and disasters. Although originally developed for urban development actors, it can be applied within all types of development sectors, and also within the context of relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction programmes (i.e. in both the pre- and post-disaster context).

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Citation Information
Christine Wamsler. "Operational framework for integrating risk reduction: For organisations working in settlement development planning" (2006)
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