In a bid to better tackle risk (exposure and vulnerabilities) and its management (capacities and resilience), domestic and foreign actors have promoted disaster risk management (DRM) that involve communities at the levels of regions, districts, municipalities, wards, or smaller-scale units such as schools.
Key findings of the literature review include:
- Successful interventions have had notable impact, including: lives saved and injuries avoided, livelihoods preserved or improved, public goods, such as schools, protected, better preparedness of populations and local government, empowerment (including for women) in some communities, and greater resilience. A number of well implemented programmes have been very efficient. Conversely, interventions that have partially or entirely failed have led to opposite impacts.
- Factors typically associated with positive impact have included:
- Carrying out effective programming for local preparedness and response, with a mix of interventions like physical protections against floods, capacity-building, and strengthening of local institutions for DRM and their links to various levels of government.
- Adapting DRM to urban areas, for example by taking into account mobility, domino effects leading to sequential crises, and the need for local leadership skilled in complex urban DRM.
- Embedding DRR in schools, with a combination of physical and community interventions.
- Empowering disadvantaged groups, such as the poorest, women, children, persons with disabilities, and members of lower castes.
- Drawing on enabling laws and norms (e.g. “Mandatory Rules of Thumb”, forestry groups).
- Factors typically associated with negative impact have included:
- Inaction and problems in formal DRM policies, laws and implementation. There are gaps in laws and regulations (e.g. on land use). All levels of government have displayed limited action, capacities, coordination and consultation on subnational DRM. Some programmes for community- and school-based DRM had deficiencies.
- Lack of learning from other disasters and DRM (e.g. across regions, hazards or projects).
- Adverse implications of international, national and local political economy. Major factors include political constraints on decision-making (e.g. elite capture), inequalities and divisions (e.g. gender, caste), and technical framings and silos that neglect the connections between broad issues such as livelihoods, governance, equity, conflict, environment and hazards.
- Some factors have had contradictory effects on DRM: linkages between communities and local government, and migration. Some effective DRM activities have also generated unintended negative consequences (e.g. false sense of safety due to embankments, numbing to risk).