Disaster risk reduction, an essential requirement for sustainable development

Members of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit during a practical workshop with Haitian masons
The building of earthquake-resistant infrastructures unfolds via the building of local capacities. Here we see a member of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit at a practical workshop with bricklayers in Haiti. © SDC

Natural disasters strike rich and poor countries indiscriminately, but the repercussions are much more dramatic in the Global South. An earthquake, cyclone, flood or drought can undo decades of development efforts. The SDC is committed to disaster risk reduction not only to save lives, but also to ensure the sustainability of the socio-economic development of the countries it assists.

SDC Focus

Disaster risk reduction (DRR) is central to all programmes implemented by the SDC. This preventive approach is essential in vulnerable countries at high risk of natural disasters. The goal of DRR is to save lives and safeguard development gains. 

DRR activities focus both on sudden disasters, particularly flooding and earthquakes, and on disasters that make fewer headlines such as droughts. DRR involves action taken before, during and after a disaster. It requires a long-term commitment to strengthening the institutions, human resources and infrastructure of the partner countries concerned. It is an integrated process that encompasses scientific, technical and socio-political considerations.

The SDC promotes an integrated approach to disaster risk management, centred around the stages that typically occur before, during and after natural disasters:

  1. Prevention: reduce existing risks and prevent the emergence of new risks through preventive and planning measures
  2. Management: reduce the impact of a disaster by organising and training rescue teams
  3. Recovery: reduce the risk of future damage by advocating appropriate reconstruction models

Preventive measures can take a wide variety of forms, including the reforestation of catchment areas affected by landslides, forest mapping and the construction of earthquake-resistant schools (as in Haiti). Organising and training rescue teams saves lives and reduces the impact of disasters.

The SDC is also committed to promoting at the international level the experiences gained in the countries where it is active. In this respect, it played a prominent role in the drafting of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. The SDC also works together with international organisations such as the Global Facility for Disaster Risk and Recovery (GFDRR) and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).

Background

Adopted in March 2015, the Sendai Framework for Action on Disaster Risk Reduction sets out the priorities of the international community for disaster reduction during the 2015–30 period. The Sendai Framework replaced the Hyogo Framework for Action for the 2005–15 period and updated the definition of disaster. The new framework applies to the risk of small-scale and large-scale, frequent and infrequent, sudden and slow-onset disasters, caused by natural or man-made hazards as well as related environmental, technological and biological hazards and risks. It also calls for the strengthening of disaster risk governance, including national platforms.

DRR concerns all sectors of society. It only proves effective when everyone does their part: national and local authorities, the private sector (the insurance sector in particular), civil society, international organisations and the public at large.

Switzerland is internationally renowned for its expertise in DRR. In Switzerland, the SDC is leveraging its partnerships with other units in the Federal Administration to transfer this knowledge to its partner countries. It has joined forces with the Federal Office for the Environment, the Federal Office for Civil Protection and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), as well as a number of NGOs, the private sector, various universities and the Swiss National Platform for Natural Hazards (PLANAT).

Online tool

DRR is more than a priority theme for the SDC: it is a working methodology. Each project in a country at risk is evaluated to determine how vulnerable it is to potential disasters, and activities are planned to mitigate identified risks. To this end, the SDC has created the CEDRIG Online Tool (Climate, Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction Integration Guidance). Intended for all development and humanitarian aid professionals, this online tool can be used to integrate into project designs the risks associated with natural hazards, climate change and environmental degradation.

CEDRIG Online Tool

SDC internet portal on disaster risk reduction

Specialised information (news, documents, instruments, methods) on knowledge sharing and cooperation with partners and experts

SDC Disaster Risk Reduction Network

Documents

Current projects

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WFP Additional Contribution 2017 to Scale Up Operations in South Sudan in Response to the Hunger Emergency

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2017

On 24 February 2017, SDC/HA pledged an additional allocation of CHF 15 million to support emergency relief operations to help populations facing starvation in parts of Africa (South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and the larger Lake Chad Region) and Yemen. This decision followed a call issued by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on 22 February 2017 urging for USD 4.4 billion aid to avert famine for 20 million people who risk starvation in these countries. Out of the CHF 15.0 million, CHF 7 million will be allocated to support WFP’s emergency operations in South Sudan, Nigeria and the larger Lake Chad region, and Yemen.


Allocation of SDC Funding to WFP Operations in 2017

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2017

In line with the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) principles, Switzerland recognizes the necessity of predictable and flexible funding to respond to changing needs in humanitarian crises. SDC funding to WFP operations allows the World Food Programme (WFP) to respond proactively and to provide immediate food assistance in life-threatening situations.


Allocation of SDC Funding to WFP Operations in 2017

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2017

In line with the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) principles, Switzerland recognizes the necessity of predictable and flexible funding to respond to changing needs in humanitarian crises. SDC funding to WFP operations allows the World Food Programme (WFP) to respond proactively and to provide immediate food assistance in life-threatening situations.


Allocation of SDC Funding to WFP Operations in 2017

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2017

In line with the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) principles, Switzerland recognizes the necessity of predictable and flexible funding to respond to changing needs in humanitarian crises. SDC funding to WFP operations allows the World Food Programme (WFP) to respond proactively and to provide immediate food assistance in life-threatening situations.


Allocation of SDC Funding to WFP Operations in 2017

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2017

In line with the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) principles, Switzerland recognizes the necessity of predictable and flexible funding to respond to changing needs in humanitarian crises. SDC funding to WFP operations allows the World Food Programme (WFP) to respond proactively and to provide immediate food assistance in life-threatening situations.


Allocation of SDC Funding to WFP Operations in 2017

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2017

In line with the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) principles, Switzerland recognizes the necessity of predictable and flexible funding to respond to changing needs in humanitarian crises. SDC funding to WFP operations allows the World Food Programme (WFP) to respond proactively and to provide immediate food assistance in life-threatening situations.


WFP Additional Contribution 2017 to Scale up Operations in Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region in Response to the Hunger Emergency

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2017

On 24 February 2017, SDC/HA pledged an additional allocation of CHF 15 million to support emergency relief operations to help populations facing starvation in parts of Africa (South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and the larger Lake Chad Region) and Yemen. This decision followed a call issued by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on 22 February 2017 urging for USD 4.4 billion aid to avert famine for 20 million people who risk starvation in these countries. Out of the CHF 15.0 million, CHF 7 million will be allocated to support WFP’s emergency operations in South Sudan, Nigeria and the larger Lake Chad region, and Yemen.


Projet Oriental Protection Migrants Maroc

01.01.2017 - 31.03.2018

Morocco is a country of transit and destination for migrants and refugees, 20’000 of which live on the margins of society, despite the 2014 adopted first ever migration strategy, promising the respect of human rights and access to public services. The “Projet Oriental” facilitates access to health care and provides humanitarian support to 5’600 vulnerable migrants per year and coaches public and civil society service providers to care for the specific needs of the migrants.


TUR CONCERN Capacity Strengthening of local NGOs for Effective Refugee Response in Turkey

01.12.2016 - 31.01.2018

Civil Society (CS) in Turkey only recently has developed a humanitarian focus. INGOs, donors and the UN rely on a few natinal NGOs to compleent the governmental refugee respone, which is increasingly strained as the Sate is undergoing a severe crisis. Humanitarian CS initiatives have also emerged at local and provincial level, but there institutional and operational capacities are still weak. This project will stregthen the capacities of 10 local NGOs to conduct refugee assistance. 


Ecuador, Technical Support in Earthquake Resistant Reconstruction

18.10.2016 - 31.12.2018

An earthquake of the magnitude of 7.8 (Richter scale) hit Northern Ecuador, on 16 April 2016. Damages were widespread, collapsing structures within hundreds of km’s from the epicenter. Following SDC/HA’s emergency and early recovery interventions, SHA will provide the Ecuadorian government with technical support in capacity building on earthquake resistant construction, capitalizing SDC’s experiences from Pakistan and Haiti.


Contribution to Rural Housing Reconstruction Project (RHRP)

01.01.2016 - 31.07.2023

Rural households affected by the earthquake of April 25, 2015, especially from disadvantaged groups, will rebuild earthquake resistant houses through the RHRP, the Government’s lead project for housing reconstruction. With a total contribution of 7 million CHF, the Swiss support through a Multi-Donor Trust Fund managed by the World Bank, will enable an additional 3’500 rural households to rebuild. The contribution will be complemented by technical assistance through secondments and experts provided also by SDC/HA.


Contribution to Rural Housing Reconstruction Project (RHRP)

15.12.2015 - 31.07.2023

Rural households affected by the earthquake of April 25, 2015, especially from disadvantaged groups, will rebuild earthquake resistant houses through the RHRP, the Government’s lead project for housing reconstruction. The Swiss support through a Multi-Donor Trust Fund managed by the World Bank, will enable an additional 2’250 rural households to rebuild. The contribution will be complemented by technical assistance secondments provided by SDC humanitarian aid.

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