Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG) Guiding Principles on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change: East and Horn of Africa (February 2017)

Originally published



The East and Horn of Africa are among the most affected regions worldwide by extreme climatic events such as floods, landslides, drought leading to massive damages on the lives and livelihoods of the vulnerable populations. The intensity and frequency of those natural hazards are increasing due to climate change, and this trend is set to continue. In addition to the various initiatives which took place since 2011, more efforts must be put by governmental and non-governmental actors to support the vulnerable populations in mitigating the effects of seasonal and non-seasonal natural hazards and avoid losing the benefit of development efforts.

In East Africa, a large number of international humanitarian and development organizations are part of the Inter Agency Working Group on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change. The purpose of this group is to share evidence-based learning and build consensus through dialogue and networking in order to influence Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Climate Change (CC) policy and practice in East and Central Africa while helping to bridge the humanitarian – development divide. This working group is also composed of three sub-groups: an Evidence Based Learning group, a Cross Border Risk Assessment group and a Governance group.

Since the 2011 drought, which was one of the most severe droughts in the region, a large amount of researches and studies have been carried out, looking at how to do better and more sustainable DRR and CC programming, how to influence DRR & CC policies so that governments’ can strengthen their role to protect their population from destructive hazard, how to support efficiently the communities and the local/national authorities in getting ready to face those hazards with minimum damages, etc. This work was carried out at all levels and by various actors, and generated large amount of learning.

The Evidence Based Learning group (composed of ACTED, ACTS, ADRA, CARE International, and the IFRC) felt the need to compile and synthetize this information in order to make it more accessible to the practitioners and to encourage DRR & CC actors in the region to adjust their programming based on all the learning which has been generated since 2011. The learning retrieved from the existing literature was turned into guiding principles for better DRR & CC programming in East and Horn of Africa and similar contexts.

The study was carried out by Karimi Gitonga, led by the Evidence Based Learning sub group. The rest of the members of the IAWG DRR & CC who formed the study’s advisory group were involved at key steps of the study (ToR development, mid-term review and review of draft study report) and finalisation of the report, which was presented on February 22nd 2017. This work has also been done in collaboration with the IAWG Policy and Advocacy sub-group, in a view to broaden the perspective of the study by using its content to enrich the advocacy work and up take of the principles by practitioners within the sector.

We hope this document will provide the reader with more clarity on the advancement and learning achieved in the region, and with useful recommendations on how to harmonize and boost up the progress that the humanitarian and development actors are trying to achieve in strengthening disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation among vulnerable communities in East and Horn of Africa.