Beyond Preparedness: Development Impact of Community-Based Disaster Risk Management in Pakistan

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28 March 2017, Islamabad—There have been an increasing number of community-based disaster risk management (CBDRM) initiatives in Pakistan since the 2005 earthquake. Actors adopted various approaches that all yielded different results, depending on the tools and methodologies used. Many of the approaches emphasize particular types of vulnerable groups, e.g., women, and specific geographical areas i.e. rural areas over urban areas.

The existence of various CBDRM approaches caused the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to include the CBDRM framework in the National Disaster Management Plan, 2012. UNDP proposed additional steps for the framework based on the first year of CBDRM implementation (2014–2015). These were derived from lessons learned in the pilot CBDRM project. The recommended additional steps were presented at the National Technical Group Meeting on CBDRM in Pakistan where UNDP’s first CBDRM learning report was launched.

With financial support from the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Pakistan, UNDP implemented a community-focused project on building resilience through community-based disaster risk management, and implemented it in Chitral and Lower Dir (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Ziarat and Jaffarabad (Balochistan) and Tharparkar (Sindh). The project has benefited over 79,000 people in various stages of preparedness and mitigation measures. Some 158 community organizations and 133 village disaster management committees were established. Beyond the project’s actual disaster preparedness focus, UNDP and its implementing partners found that CBDRM has many positive facets that influence development processes. These conclusions were reached after extensive community mobilization processes and research involving local communities.

UNDP’s CBDRM initiatives show diversified local risk perception, a reinforced sense of community, renewed recognition of invisible, yet close relationships among different themes and practices, and new government-community partnerships in disaster risk reduction (DRR).

Disaster preparedness building at the local level is both possible and feasible. Importantly, it will have greater impacts when it goes hand-in-hand with other DRR practices and processes that address the underlying causes of disasters. These include partial power relations, gender inequality and other types of deprivation.

To summarize the multi-faceted impacts of CBDRM, UNDP launched the second CBDRM learning report which focuses on how CBDRM has positively impacted communities’ development processes, and can thus be adopted as a powerful tool for risk-informed development. We have gathered ideas, perceptions and comments from direct beneficiaries on how CBDRM has benefited them, not only in terms of disaster preparedness, but also in terms of longer-term development.

The publication shows that the CBDRM process not only helps address the needs of at-risk communities in terms of disaster preparedness, but can also serve as a gateway for long-term community development that touches upon the integrated themes of social cohesion, women empowerment, livelihood opportunities and poverty eradication, among others.

The launch event was inaugurated by Ms. Abla Amawi, Deputy Country Director-Programme, UNDP and Mr. Arne Haug, Development Counsellor at the Royal Norwegian Embassy. Other represented organizations included European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO), the Department for International Development (DFID), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the World Food Programme (WFP), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the German Red Cross, and key NGOs working on CBDRM in Pakistan i.e. Malteser International, HelpAge International, the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED), Deutsche Welthungerhilfe (DWHH) and Islamic Relief.

The publication focuses on drawing lessons from CBDRM implementation and demonstrating its lessons and short- and long-term impacts on project communities. The programme’s research component should not be seen as a separate practice, but as a core part of the CBDRM implementation process.

For additional information, please contact Muhi Usamah ( and Naeem Iqbal ( in Islamabad.