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What is Disaster Management?

Disasters reduce the positive effects of past development by the collapse of regional facilities, including schools and houses, and result in the loss of lives and assets and an increasing number of people falling in poverty.
Disaster management tools must be incorporated into regional development planning and implementation, as regional conditions vary under their respective socioeconomic conditions and hazard-related circumstances.
Facilitating the participation of women in the development process, including efforts to reduce disaster risk, is also a key priority.

As environmental risks erode the savings and capacities of households, the marginal population of each social group is most at risk.
Increasing destruction due to tsunamis, floods, earthquakes, and other disasters related to environmental and land-use patterns are a clear signal that there exists some problems in the past regional development.
Therefore, massive challenges remain in achieving the MDGs.
The required tools include risk assessment, sustainable resource use, reinforcement of regional facilities, and community participation and empowerment for disaster risk reduction.

Disaster Management Planning Programme

Since the establishment of the Disaster Management Planning Programme in 1985, DRR has been one of UNCRD's main thematic areas of work, supporting efforts to achieve sustainable regional development.

Throughout its history, the Centre's Disaster Management Planning Programme has always promoted and nurtured a participatory, pro-poor, gender-sensitive approach, in all the different activities and initiatives it has developed and undertaken in different contexts.

Over the years, the UNCRD Disaster Management Planning Programme has accumulated a strong long-standing track record of successful work on issues such as Community-Based Disaster Management (CBDM), the School Earthquake Safety Initiative (SESI), and the Housing Earthquake Safety Initiative (HESI), which also comprised building code implementation and developing guidelines for repairing, restoring and seismic retrofitting of core community buildings.

The new Programme is building upon the vast experience accumulated by Centre over the years. Adapting to the reality of the trend of urbanization happening in developing countries, it is further integrating disaster risk and vulnerability reduction in urban areas, with a particular focus on slums, informal and marginal settlements in developing countries which, at present, accommodate more than 90 percent of the total slum dweller population worldwide.

To date, although various upgrading efforts are being made, very few are directly addressing disaster risk and vulnerability of the urban poor who establish themselves in inadequate housing structures on marginal sites such as floodplains or steep hillsides.

UNCRD Disaster Management Planning Programme is addressing these issues in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication in line with the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005�2015 and the Outcome Document of the RIO+20 Conference �gThe future we want.�h

The Programme is striving for the integration of pro-poor gender-sensitive risk and vulnerability reduction strategies and plans into the policies, codes, regulations, plans and programmes at the regional, national and subnational levels.


Under the Sustainable Urban Management Cluster, the UNCRD Disaster Management Planning Programme has the overall goal, as a means to achieve sustainable development, to advance disaster risk reduction globally and support efforts in making local communities, cities and societies more resilient to the impacts of natural and human-induced hazards and disasters.

The specific goals of UNCRD Disaster Management Planning Unit are:
  1. To incorporate disaster management into regional sustainable development plans by:

    • Strategies to reduce vulnerability of the built environment for promoting urbanization;
    • Prioritizing the disaster resiliency of vital regional facilities such as schools and hospitals;
    • Regional risk assessment utilizing micro-zoning (hazard map) in a participatory manner; and
    • Introduction of risk assessment and disaster prevention systems into planning processes.

  2. To develop and transfer regional disaster management planning and technologies by:

    • Provision of regional guidelines to be observed prior to, during, and following large-scale disasters;
    • Technology transfer, including socioeconomic efficiency and vulnerability evaluation;
    • Development of educational and training programmes on disaster management and raising public awareness, including communities and national/local government officers; and
    • Networking and dissemination to the planning authorities and those involved in disaster management.


While the Centre has traditionally conducted its activities through the coordination of workshops/symposia and development of training programmes, UNCRD is increasingly making use of information technology for the effective dissemination of its research and training activities of the Disaster Management Planning Programme.

UNCRD Disaster Management Planning Programme focuses on key elements of self-help, cooperation, and education through activities such as:
a) Research projects with specific focus on implementation and field experiences;
b) Training and capacity building;
c) Advisory services, with special attention to most vulnerable communities, before and after the disasters;
d) Facilitating networking and partnership building;
e) Dissemination of best practices through workshops, publications, reports and the internet homepage.

Some of the tangible interventions supporting capacity-building programmes in disaster risk reduction (DRR) and resilience building of urban poor communities are the construction and disaster-proofing of existing collective equipments and the development of productive and income generating activities such as urban agriculture and forestry (according to the context), especially targeting women and women-headed households in the slums, informal and marginal settlements.

Please refer to the Publications by Disaster Management Planning Unit from here.
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