This paper contributes to the growing debate about the potential alignment, synergies, and shared ambitions between DRR and conflict prevention, but also points to counter arguments that DRR does not or could not influence conflict dynamics. Specifically, the authors consider DRR – and the delivery of the Sendai Framework – in terms of 1) potential opportunities to influence conflict dynamics through the prevention or mitigation of disasters, 2) challenges in considering the prevention of disasters and conflict together, and 3) lack of concrete evidence that DRR can or could seek to contribute to conflict prevention. It is important to clarify that this is not an empirically driven paper. The aim is to draw parallels between the well-researched drivers of conflict and the priorities of the Sendai Framework, balanced against other claims that DRR-related activities have a limited impact on conflict dynamics.
While this study is exploratory in nature and based on limited empirical evidence, emerging research findings coupled with anecdotal evidence from DRR practitioners implementing programmes in violent conflict contexts suggest that a nuanced understanding of the intersections between DRR and conflict prevention is needed. The paper is structured as follows. First, the authors establish the key terms used to underpin the collective understanding of disasters, disaster risk reduction, conflict and conflict prevention. Next, the paper considers the extent to which DRR and conflict prevention align in theory – through socio-economic, governance and political and institutional factors. The authors then explore the extent to which they align in practice through early warning systems and food security.
The paper concludes by evaluating whether the linking of DRR and conflict prevention is an attainable or tenuous endeavour, and the relevance of the findings for advancing implementation of the Sendai Framework Target E by 2020. The authors note the limitations of the paper and outline areas for future research to build on the nascent body of empirical evidence on the cross-cutting potential of the Sendai Framework. Doing so holds potential to elevate the Sendai Framework to a central position within the international prevention agenda, which reaffirms the importance and relevance of attaining Target E as a first step towards that ambition.
This paper is a contribution to the 2019 edition of the Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR 2019).
To cite this paper:
Peters, K.; Peters, L. et al. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction as a vehicle for conflict prevention: attainable or tenuous?. Contributing Paper to GAR 2019