Compendium of IOM activities in disaster risk reduction and resilience

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IOM Compendium on Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience Highlights Growing Impacts on Human Mobility

IOM’s second Compendium on Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience launched today (16/7/13) in Geneva provides for the first time an in-depth analysis of the interaction between disasters and mobility; spells out the fundamental role that human mobility plays in shaping resilience; and indicates the causes of vulnerability for communities at risk.

Between 2008 and 2012, some 140 million people worldwide have been displaced by violent events including earthquakes and floods, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. For most people at risk, mobility represents a way to protect their lives and assets against natural hazards. But moving can also expose them to new risks and reduce their capacity to resist shocks.

Building resilience and preventing unwanted displacement are therefore key to reducing the cost of disasters.

With over 23 million people assisted, 250 projects completed and USD 700 million spent over the last four years, IOM disaster-related programmes include innovative solutions to reduce disaster risk. To this end, the Compendium unpacks the mobility and risk reduction nexus, demonstrating that effective management of mobility allows the building of resilience.

It identifies solutions to reduce forced migration, provide assistance and protection to displaced populations, and support long-term recovery initiatives. They include mitigating hazards, promoting the livelihoods of people at risk, and tracking displacement to target humanitarian assistance and enhance recovery.

They also include building the capacity of authorities in charge of managing displacement and ending displacement through measures that enhance the lives of both mobile populations and their host communities.

“While we recognize the evidence of increased frequency and the increased impact of disasters, we must also recognize that in a more and more globalized and mobile world, exploring the linkages between human mobility, vulnerability and resilience will remain essential to reducing the costs – human, material and economic – of disasters around the globe,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing.

“In Pakistan, for example, in recent years there have been three consecutive massive floods that have displaced millions of people in poor rural areas. Flight saved their lives, but the recurring floods and the prolonged displacement eroded their livelihood options and their resilience,” he noted.

“Disasters hit the poorest people the hardest. This is why investing in resilience is morally right. But it is also an economic imperative. For every Euro invested in resilience, the benefit is four to seven times higher in terms of reduced damage costs. Building up the resilience of the poorest, reduces losses and helps them escape poverty. Without integrating this collectively in our work, the benefits of development will be wiped out and unmet humanitarian needs will continue to grow,” says European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva.

IOM’s review of its portfolio of disaster risk reduction activities between 2009 and 2013 shows the on-going work of the organization in addressing mobility issues that are essential for reducing disaster risk.

It also paves the way for further mainstreaming of risk reduction into the work of the organization, through a baseline of good practices such as rural to rural migration or planned relocation efforts for small islands, among others.

"This compendium is a timely addition and provides practical guidelines for disaster risk reduction and resilience building in a specific area,” says the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction Margareta Wahlström.

“Disaster risks are increasing. The impacts and costs to families and communities are significant, and at times devastating. Growing poverty and human settlements in highly hazard prone areas expose people to natural and technological hazards. This increases the probability of necessary and involuntary migration due to disasters and risks.”

"Migration and displacement is an alternative strategy for coping and ensuring safer living conditions. But we must continue to focus on prevention, so that people do not have to flee their home areas. Local governments and cities can achieve important social gains by giving more attention to such highly exposed populations. This reality must inform the post-2015 development agenda, and must be a key consideration in the development of a post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction,” she notes.

The urgency of working with practitioners and policy-makers to tackle the root causes of vulnerability is increasingly clear. For IOM, UNISDR and partners, ensuring proper understanding of the disaster and mobility nexus will represent a move towards safer and more resilient societies.

In May 2013 the Chair’s Summary of the 4th Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction referenced migration, human mobility, displacement, relocation and evacuations.

This reiterates the importance of on-going work to include mobility in any agreement to succeed the 2005-2015 Hyogo Framework for Action. The Framework is a 10-year plan that aims to make the world safer from natural hazards. It was endorsed by the UN General Assembly following the 2005 World Disaster Reduction Conference.

The Compendium can be downloaded from:

For more information, please contact Louis Hoffmann at IOM HQ, Tel. +41 22 717 9 475, Email:

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