Reducing Underlying Risk Factors - Third UN World Conference on

Reducing Underlying Risk Factors (HFA Priority 4)
Brief & Concept Note
Why is this topic important ?
Over the 10 years of HFA implementation countries report most challenges in addressing the
underlying drivers of risk. These were subsumed under the Priority Area 4 of the HFA and in
fact encompass a range of development issues, many of which lie outside of the traditional
responsibility of disaster managers and risk specialists. The addressing of underlying risk
factors is fundamental to reducing disaster risk.
What gaps need to be filled ?
Despite their centrality to risk reduction, underlying risk drivers are either not well identified
and understood or are not seriously addressed due to a scarcity of resources and capacity
constraints or lack of priority. This is in part because development practice is not fully riskinformed, leading to not only a lack of progress on underlying risk factors, but a possible
increase of scale and impact. It is vital that the drivers that create disaster risk need to be
identified both at a systemic and context-specific level, and policies and practices put into
place to address these drivers and creators of risk.
What (new) commitments are expected to be achieved ?
Specific commitments from national and local governments to significantly accelerate efforts
to address the underlying drivers of risk across investments, development policies and
Concept Note
Monday 16 March 2014, 10:00-11:30
Room and Venue
Hagi Hall, Sendai International Conference Centre
Organizing Team
Global Network of Civil Society Organisations for Disaster
Reduction (GNDR), International Consortium on Landslides (ICL),
Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT, Government
of Japan), Japan Water Agency, PSAG representative, UNESCO,
UNISDR Focal Points
Bina Desai (; Rhea Katsanakis (
Background and
Over the period of the HFA (2005-2015) to date, countries have
consistently reported challenges in addressing the underlying
factors and drivers of risk. A combination of limited political
commitment and stringent institutional arrangements often
constitute the main barrier to success in this area. As a result,
disaster impacts and economic losses in particular have steadily
grown over the last decades and are set to increase in the future.
A post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction and much of the
analysis that has come before is calling for a considerable shift of
attention at a country level, towards risk-informed development
beyond the defined responsibilities of disaster management
The Working Session will provide an opportunity present and
discuss concrete country and locality examples that clearly unpack
different underlying drivers of risk and also show ways that these
have been or will be addressed. During the period of the HFA
countries have made significant investments to reduce risks
through different sectors, including health, education and the
environment. In addition, a growing number of innovative
approaches in these sectors have risk reduction co-benefits.
Examples of investments in (or effectively financing for) both
structural and non-structural measures will be discussed,
presenting adaptable combinations of possible measures suitable
for specific settings. Governments, private sector, civil society and
international actors need to adapt appropriate combinations of
measures to country and local contexts to ensure that
development in general is fully informed by disaster risk.
Session Objectives
 The Working Session will allow panellists to identify concrete
underlying risk factors and ways to manage them
 Government and organisations’ representatives will commit to
practical steps to address drivers of vulnerability and exposure
in their country contexts and present proposals to measuring
progress against underlying risk drivers and towards sustainable
development post-2015
 They will present new combinations of risk-sensitive
development measures, including structural and non-structural
disaster risk management strategies, that equally address
underlying drivers such as inequality and lack of accountability
as well as badly managed urban development, environmental
change and economic growth.
 Concrete examples of how underlying risk can be addressed by
ensuring that sustainable development is fully risk-informed
and people-centered.
Discussion agenda
and structure
1. Introduction and welcoming remarks (5minutes) by chair and
2. Short interventions on identifying and managing risk drivers
from 4 countries/cities, (5 minutes each = 25 minutes).
3. Open discussion in plenary with prepared contributions and
commentary from the floor by representatives from major
groups (40 minutes) focused on the themes of commitments to
be made in the session.
4. Declaration of commitments from the panel and the floor (15
5. Closing remarks by chair and moderator (5 minutes)
Expected outcomes
and commitments
announcements in
support of a post2015 framework for
Overall recommendations for post-2015 tied to concrete country
 to develop specific strategies, for example on risk
knowledge, governance and accountability, that contribute
to making all national development planning risk-informed.
 to establish actionable national and local mechanisms in
which civil society can be “bridge builders” where
governance failures drive disaster risk.
Expected number of