Addressing the circumstances for the more than two billion people living in fragile and conflict-affected contexts (FCAC) is crucial for delivering on the United Nations commitment for disaster risk reduction.

Indeed, the U.N. Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction says “leave no one behind.” But nation-states are often unable or unwilling to provide essential public services, including those related to disaster response and recovery (DRR). As well, weakened formal institutions, challenges with humanitarian access and mistrust, and information gaps make implementing “standard” approaches to DRR incredibly challenging for international actors.

Our report on delivering the promise of the Sendai Framework for DRR suggests that four strategies can help reduce risk and improve resilience for communities living in fragile and conflict-affected contexts.

  1. Systems Approach
    First, a systems approach could help understand dynamics in FCAC and develop DRR interventions that are supportive of local contexts. Understanding local systems that existed prior to and during crises in FCAC could enable international cooperation to effectively engage and leverage the capacity of these systems to provide essential services and reduce their fragility to ongoing shocks and stresses.
  2. Adaptive Management
    Adaptive management is about making adjustments in response to new information and evolving threats. Flexibility could be introduced into the project management cycle, allowing interventions to be modified in response to evolving vulnerabilities, capacities, and shocks and stresses.
  3. Localization
    Localization in this context means working with and supporting the permanent, local actors who provide essential services—anyone from customary governance authorities, to private sector businesses, local water committees, or local suppliers—and doing so in a way that maintains humanitarian principles of impartiality, independence, humanity, and neutrality.
  4. Building Trust
    Fourth, and underpinning all of these other strategies, is trust: building and maintaining trust with communities, with the government, and with other stakeholders operating in FCAC is essential for accessing vulnerable populations, for working with critical stakeholders, and for ensuring post-project handovers result in continued reduction of disaster risk.

Read the full article about reducing disaster risk by Aaron Clark-Ginsberg, Ronak B. Patel, Bernard McCaul at RAND Corporation.