Key Challenges A set of overarching challenges for scaling up investments in prevention, mitigation, and preparedness activities have been identified. These were raised by the CP agencies on a recurring basis during the consultations and confirmed in the desk review process. Often interconnected, these challenges fall under the following three broad categories: (a) the enabling environment related to financial, institutional framework/coordination, and awareness, (b) institutional constraints related to the human and technical capacity of CP agencies for disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness, and (c) specific constraints related to the access and use of EU financing sources for DRM activities, including DG ECHO funds.
ENABLING ENVIRONMENT - FINANCIAL, INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK/COORDINATION, AND AWARENESS
Funding for DRM is limited, with a high focus and share of DRM funds being oriented towards disaster response. In general, it was noted that financial allocations to DRM are still limited, although there is a lack of data that would allow CP agencies to document expenditure trends on DRM in a comprehensive manner. Based on CP agencies’ experience, within existing allocations, it was highlighted that the majority of resources focus on response planning/readiness (such as conducting trainings and purchasing equipment for disaster response), with significantly lower focus on other types of prevention and preparedness, such as conducting assessments of various types of risks, understanding/conducting costbenefit analyses for DRM investments, and planning for prevention and mitigation investments such as the reduction of physical risk for vulnerable infrastructure.
DRM is often only recognized after an event occurs which poses challenges for strategic planning.
While there is a growing awareness and interest in disaster risk prevention and preparedness, CP agencies noted a low political buy-in for investments in prevention, mitigation, and preparedness, which is exacerbated by the lack of evidence of their benefits.
CP agencies noted that due to a lack of data on DRM expenditure at the national level and assessments of the efficiency/costs-benefits of DRM investments before disaster events, it is challenging to provide necessary evidence to convince decision-makers (such as Ministries of Finance/Economy/EU Funds) to invest in DRM, especially beyond ‘traditional’ CP- or security-related needs such as emergency response equipment. As such, CP agencies noted the challenges in convincing key decision-makers to allocate budget for investments that lead to less tangible or visible results, particularly if they do not yield benefits during current political/institutional mandates. The absence of specific financial budget allocations in most of the strategic national documents further contributes to a disconnect between the priorities of the CP agencies and/or in some cases also the line ministries and the actual financial planning.
Linked to their mandate, CP agencies perceived that they have a limited opportunity to ‘influence’ the investment planning of line ministries or the different levels of administration. DRM is a cross-sectoral agenda where institutions both horizontally and vertically have specific responsibilities. Institutional coordination related to DRM is generally established both horizontally (for example also through national disaster risk reduction platforms) and vertically. While the mandate of CP agencies does not allow them to directly influence investment planning of line ministries or local governments to prioritize financing for DRM actions, their role as advocates for DRM is challenging if they do not have the information and evidence to present to the stakeholders about the benefits of investing in prevention. Moreover, CP agencies do not have specific sectoral technical knowledge to share examples or advice on preparation or implementation of appropriate investments in prevention, mitigation, and preparedness activities.