Disaster risk reduction in humanitarian action
The world is experiencing an unprecedented moment of fragility and uncertainty. Climate-fuelled disasters are more frequent and intense. Conflict in many parts of the world continues to go unresolved, eroding people’s coping capacities.

In today's complex humanitarian landscape, the prevalence of protracted crises underscores the urgent need for a comprehensive approach to addressing humanitarian needs. Disaster risk reduction (DRR) can act as the glue between different actors operating in humanitarian and fragile contexts —humanitarian, development and peacekeeping partners— bridging the gap between immediate needs and long-term resilience-building. UNDRR is committed to scaling up DRR in fragile and humanitarian contexts and supports national and international actors to generate robust evidence, innovation, and good practices for risk-informed decision-making.

"We need to scale up solutions that are developed and led by local actors. By risk-informing humanitarian action, we can build the resilience of the most vulnerable, and build a safer, more resilient world for all."

Mami Mizutori, 2022

A record of 339 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection in 2023 – a significant increase from 274 million people a year ago, which was already the highest figure in decades.

Global Humanitarian Overview (GHO) 2023

Improved risk analysis

UNDRR works with partners to improve risk analysis across the humanitarian, development and peace domains. In over a dozen countries, UNDRR has strengthened the analysis of multi-dimensional risk for humanitarian planning (e.g., Somalia 2023, p. 51, or Guatemala 2024, p. 26). The analysis approach is being expanded and adapted beyond the Humanitarian Programme Cycle to inform Common Country Assessments and UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Frameworks (e.g., South Sudan CCA update 2023, p. 75). By consolidating risk information with the help of tools such as Risk Spotlights (see e.g., Eswatini CCA, annex VI), Risk Profiles or Situational Analyses, and tailored methods such as composite indices (e.g., INFORM sub-national in Bangladesh & South Sudan), systemic risks, earthquake modelling, or community vulnerability assessments, UNDRR enables collaborative, risk-informed planning across sectors.

Guidance Note on Using the Probabilistic Country Risk Profiles for Disaster Risk Management

Use of DRR and tools for prioritization and planning

UNDRR works with operational partners to scale up DRR approaches in humanitarian and development planning. Diagnostic prioritization tools such as the Checklist and Recommendations on Scaling up DRR in Humanitarian Action 2.0 are used to support humanitarians to integrate DRR in Humanitarian Programme Cycle programming. Launched in 2019, the checklist has been applied in almost 20 countries, including Haiti, Pakistan and Madagascar. Technical support is provided to identify means to address the DRR finance gap in fragile and humanitarian contexts, highlighted as a priority in UNDRR's study on Financing Disaster Risk Reduction in Humanitarian and Crisis Settings

Checklist on scaling up DRR in Humanitarian action

Anticipatory action and early warning

Anticipatory action (AA), or acting in advance of a shock, can offer benefits to communities and support wider DRR efforts. UNDRR supports AA actors with risk knowledge, engages in AA coordination and knowledge sharing mechanisms and supports Governments in identifying priorities and costings for anticipatory finance. Through its engagement in the Early Warnings for All Initiative, UNDRR strengthens early warning systems globally and advocates for their integration into national and local DRR strategies, including in fragile contexts. By promoting timely information dissemination and international collaboration, UNDRR aims to enhance global resilience and minimize the impact of disasters through proactive risk management.

Tsunami siren warning loudspeakers in Thailand

Addressing challenges linked to disaster displacement

UNDRR collaborates with partners, to provide technical support for a better understanding of disaster-related displacement. The Words into Action guide helps government authorities in integrating mobility into DRR strategies. The guide is complemented by the displacement addendum to the Disaster Resilience Scorecard for Cities, rolled out globally by UNDRR and partners. UNDRR contributes to the UN Secretary-General’s Action Agenda on internal displacement, providing normative guidance, strengthening partnerships, advocating for Words into Action implementation, and conducting data analytics through a new tracking system in support of enhanced Sendai Framework monitoring. 

Flooding, Bentiu, South Sudan

UNDRR works with UN entities as well as civil society stakeholders to position DRR as the humanitarian-development-peace nexus' unifying force. The UN Plan of Action on Disaster Risk Reduction and the 2030 Recommendations of the UN Senior Leadership Group on DRR for Resilience guides collaboration among UN partners while civil society is engaged through the Task Team on Scaling up DRR in Humanitarian and Fragile Contexts. UNDRR participates in key humanitarian and development coordination mechanisms and platforms such as the Joint Steering Committee to Advance Humanitarian and Development Collaboration and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Task Force 4 to advance consideration of DRR in key policy processes. 

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