UNISDR Strategic Framework 2016-2021

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The UNISDR's Strategic Framework 2016-2021 guides the organization to achieve its vision, mandate and overarching objectives.

Vision: The substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses for a sustainable future

Mandate: Focal point of the United Nations system for disaster risk reduction and the custodian of the Sendai Framework, supporting countries and societies in its implementation, monitoring and review of progress

Overarching Objective: The prevention of new and reduction of existing disaster risk and strengthening resilience through successful multi-hazard disaster risk management.

UNISDR delivers its mandate through three Strategic Objectives and two Enablers:

  • SO1- Strengthen global monitoring, analysis and coordination of Sendai Framework implementation;
  • SO2- Support to regional and national Sendai Framework implementation;
  • SO3- Catalyse action through Member States and Partners;
  • Enabler 1- Effective knowledge management, communication and global advocacy;
  • Enabler 2- Strengthened organisational performance.


The UNISDR Strategic Framework is underpinned by a theory of change in which the reduction of disaster risk is essential to sustainable development, and where a risk-informed development path is key to the successful management of disaster risks.

Disasters are exacting a huge toll with hundreds of thousands of lives and US$1.5 trillion lost in the last decade alone. Economic losses from disasters are now averaging US$250 billion to 300 billion each year. This trend is set to continue as exposure in hazard-prone countries grows more rapidly than vulnerability is reduced. Economic development, the rapid pace of urbanisation and population growth concentrate people and economic activity in hazard-prone areas. With climate change, environmental degradation and rising inequality, successfully managing disaster risk in these areas will be a determining factor of prosperity and sustainability.

Disaster risk is part of the DNA of social and economic development, rooted in poverty and inequality, evolving over time. Consequently, managing disaster risks cannot be separated from the broader governance of social and economic development. Successful disaster risk governance relies on accountable institutions, appropriately resourced local governments, functional judicial systems, and low levels of poverty and social inequality.

The international humanitarian system is also under increasing strain with unprecedented humanitarian needs in many regions of the world. It has become clear that current and expected future levels of assistance required cannot be sustained and that the risks of humanitarian crises and disasters have to be reduced significantly. UNISDR recognises that behavioural change of society as a whole is required to substantially reduce disaster losses. It therefore directly supports governments and acts as a convener and catalyst for action by a wide range of stakeholders, including the United Nations system and regional organisations, major groups, civil society and the private sector, parliamentarians and key decision-makers, and the science and technology community.

International agreements on disaster risk reduction, sustainable development, financing for development, and climate change mitigation and adaptation present a unique opportunity for increased coherence and global impact. For the first time, this set of interconnected agreements has the potential to catalyse international development that is sensitive to trade-offs between economic, social and environmental priorities, recognises the critical role of gender equality and mainstreaming, and reflects an understanding of climate and disaster risk. Today, the international community, including the public and private sector, has a unique opportunity to change the way that development is understood, implemented and measured.