Disaster Risk Reduction
According to statistical data, natural disasters are occurring with increasing frequency compared to the past. In the case of weather-related disasters, this can be due to the effects of climate change, a trend which will increase in future. Poor countries are particularly vulnerable to disasters since mechanisms for disaster preparedness and mitigation are usually weak. Disasters can have very negative effects on the development of a country and destroy year-long investments, including those financed by development cooperation.
Humanitarian aid agencies have long argued for development cooperation to include disaster risk reduction into its portfolio. The argument is that the cost of reducing the vulnerability of countries is much smaller than the total cost of damage once a disaster has struck. Several donors have followed suit, and have recently developed policies on integrating disaster risk reduction into development cooperation.
The European Union also sees the need to increasingly incorporate disaster risk reduction into its relations with ACP countries many of which are highly disaster-prone - and is currently working on policy guidance in this area. A first step into that direction was taken in 2006 with the establishment of the EU-ACP Natural Disaster Facility. In its current phase, the facility strengthens the capacity of six ACP regional organisations in the area of disaster risk reduction. Equally in 2006, the European Commission participated in inter-agency work on linking climate change adaptation with disaster risk reduction (see Synthesis report for full set of documents see the Website of the Vulnerability and Adaptation Resource Group (VARG)).
For more information on disaster risk reduction.