Risk Reduction Index in West Africa: Analysis of the conditions and capacities for Disaster Risk Reduction
Disasters often grip the imagination, particularly those that are of high intensity and low recurrence, such as the 2004 Indian ocean tsunami, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti or the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan. While disasters of this scale hardly go unnoticed, others are of a ‘slow’ (or ‘hidden’) character, such that they barely attract attention from the international community – mainly donors and the media. these are often of a more recurrent nature, such as droughts in the Horn of Africa or floods in West Africa or Pakistan.
What many of these recent disasters have in common is that while much could have been done to save lives and economic resources, few initiatives have had sufficient time-span and sectoral breadth to adequately prepare populations to face natural hazards or to help prevent the occurrence of significant losses.
Today disasters cause ever more severe economic losses (even in OECD countries) and for some vulnerable countries disasters can significantly hamper economic progress and erode hard-won development efforts.
While mortality rates associated with low recurrence, weather-related hazards have decreased globally, extensive losses are increasingly concentrated in low-income countries, where risk management capacities remain low.
Evidence shows a correlation between lowincome countries and low governance capacity to deal with risk management, amongst other risk factors. The result is that many of these vulnerable low-income countries have only very limited resources to mobilise in order to prevent hazards from turning into disasters.
Vulnerable populations are those that suffer the most from these events, particularly women and children. Recurrence of events means that coping mechanisms are often stretched and social-nets - be they clan or ethnic relations or community support structures - can no longer support those affected.
Responses to such challenges are complex and there is a growing recognition that effective risk management is most successful when interventions are designed to include multiple sectors and to cover a geographical scope that is sufficiently wide and accurately defined in terms of risk type. There is nonetheless a tendency for many interventions to be either focused on a specific sector or of a limited geographical area (i.e. municipality or district administration). They also often remain uncoordinated, and thus may not address the multiple factors that are often related to risk.
These challenges are to some extent captured in the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters (HFA), a framework adopted by 168 countries at the World Conference on Disaster Reduction in 2005. Under its fourth priority for action, the HFA highlights the need for more integrated actions to address the so-called underlying risk factors. While this is a recognised challenge among a wide range of organisations working in the field of disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA), the vast majority of field interventions have yet to employ more integrated approaches.
DARA’s Risk Reduction Index (RRI), Phase II :
West Africa The Risk Reduction Index (RRI) provides in-depth analysis, carried out within geographically well-defined risk prone areas, of the existing conditions and capacities that either hinder or enable local and national actors to carry out effective risk management.
It identifies aspects of development processes and institutional structures that need to be addressed and engaged in risk management. The RRI aims to influence development processes and promote better integration of DRR into development and poverty reduction strategies and policies.