Operationalizing Synergies between Disaster Risk Reduction and Security Sector Governance and Reform - June 2020



DCAF-ISSAT started to conceptionally explore the linkages between DRR and SSR first in a blog post, which then was subsequently developed into a Thematic in Practice paper. To get first reactions from practitioners, this was discussed in a web-talk on “Operationalizing synergies between Disaster Risk Reduction and Security Sector Governance and Reform” in May 2020, bringing together SSR and DRR practitioners to identify the following areas and proposals presenting the biggest potential leveraging security actors’ potential for making societies resilient to disaster.


Under the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, adopted by UN Member States and endorsed at the UN General Assembly in 2015, states committed themselves to mainstreaming DRR considerations and efforts throughout all sectors.

From a human security perspective, the origin of a particular threat is irrelevant. Risks and threats origin from crime, war and conflict to climate change, natural disasters, or a pandemic may all affect physical security, safety and health. In high-income countries, integrated crisis management concepts are often being put in place, while in fragile and conflicted affected states, there are fewer such structures and linkages between DRR and SSR communities. Exploring the SSR-DRR nexus offers great potential to connect and build bridges between the humanitarian-securitydevelopment actors in order to better meet the needs of populations and increase human security, as well as integrate the Agenda 2030 and SDG16 with SDG13.

Based on the Sendai Framework’s four priority areas for action2 in order to move beyond the most obvious areas such as relief and response, the Web-talk focused on identifying operational level synergies between SSR and DRR around the following key questions:

What is the security sector’s role in the various stages of disaster risk reduction such as assessments, planning and mitigation, relief and recovery? What capabilities need to be built or adapted to play this role, including in terms of a service-delivery mindset, and what limitations as well as controls need to be in place to ensure this DRR role is played in an inclusive and nondiscriminatory manner governed by the rule of law and human rights?

SSR like DRR is naturally a long-term effort and works best when consistent effort is put into building more sustainable, resilient and effective systems.
Patrick Hagan, ISSAT-DCAF*