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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IOM : Displacement tracking in Burundi

01.03.2019 - 31.12.2019

Avec environ 147'000 personnes déplacées internes et plus de 367'000 réfugiés dans les pays voisins, les effets de la crise politique au Burundi issue des élections contestées de 2015 et des conditions climatiques défavorables sont importants. Ce projet permet de fournir des informations fiables sur les mouvements de populations internes au Burundi et les besoins des personnes déplacées. La continuité de ce projet reste d’une importance capitale dans le contexte actuel.


Small Actions Credit Line (Quick Impact)

01.03.2019 - 31.12.2021

The Small Actions Credit Line (Quick Impact) is a humanitarian instrument of the Swiss Embassy's cooperation office that allows a fast response to requests for moderate one-time funding of limited duration. It enables the Embassy's cooperation office in Lebanon to fund small scale development or humanitarian activities that addresses needs of refugees, IDPs, vulnerable migrants or communities at risk, supports the strategic strengthening of the portfolio of the Swiss Cooperation Strategy Middle East and which contribute to the visibility of Swiss presence in the region.


DRR Backstopping services for Lima DRR Hub

01.03.2019 - 31.12.2022

It has been considered necessary and strategic for the Lima DRR and RR Hub to hire a backstopper in order to provide DRR technical assistance for specific actions in design, implementation and / or follow-up processes of Lima Hub. The backstopping activities will be aligned to the first two Programmatic Pillars of the DRR and RR Regional Concept for the Andean Region which are: Disaster Risk Reduction and Policy Dialogue.


Peru, Regional Hub Lima, Participation from Latin America - Carribean in Global DRR Platform - Geneva - May 13-17, 2019

01.03.2019 - 30.11.2019

From May 13 to 17, 2019, will be held in Geneva, the VI session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and will be hosted by the Government of Switzerland. In addition, the session will be cochaired by Switzerland and UNISDR. The GPDRR 2019 represents an opportunity for DRR partners in Latin America and the Caribbean as an important step in the process of capitalizing and consolidating contributions on DRR as relevant inputs for the Sendai Framework.


OVCI - Improving nutritional condition of most vulnerable groups in Juba

01.03.2019 - 30.04.2021

Malnutrition among children and other vulnerable groups remains worse as a result of the prevailing food insecurity situation in South Sudan. According to the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for South Sudan, some 1.8 million people – the majority of which are children under five years - face malnutrition. Through this project, Volunteers Organization for International Co-operation (OVCI) intends to address malnutrition of vulnerable children, pregnant and lactating mothers and other destitute persons in Juba County by improving their dietary intake.


Yemen Pledging Conference 2019

20.02.2019 - 30.04.2019

In support of the Humanitarian Response Plan and to reduce the suffering of the Yemeni population, Switzerland will organize a high-level pledging conference on 26 February 2019 together with Sweden and the United Nations for the third time. Since the escalation of the conflict in mid-March 2015, Yemen faced enormous levels of humanitarian needs stemming from years of poverty, intermittent conflict and weak rule of law. Entering the 5th year of war have exacerbated these chronic vulnerabilities, leaving more than 24 million people – more than 80% of the population - in need of humanitarian aid.


Afghanistan: IOM Undocumented Afghan Returnees

15.02.2019 - 31.12.2022

In 2016, over a million Afghans who previously sought refuge in Pakistan and Iran returned to Afghanistan. Since the beginning of 2018, 700,056 undocumented Afghans have returned from both countries, due to diverse push factors including deteriorating protection space. The projecting for the year 2019 of undocumented Afghan returnees will be approx. 49,000 from Pakistan and 570,000 from Iran. The vast majority of them have lived outside of Afghanistan for decades, and are in dire need for humanitarian assistance, which they will receive through this project.


ACTED: Strengthening humanitarian coordination and access to safe and dignified protection in Libya

01.02.2019 - 31.01.2020

Through the current intervention, ACTED will adopt a twofold approach aiming to contribute to strengthen the response to protection cases in Libya through enhanced coordination and provision of cash assistance. On the one hand, ACTED will strengthen response capacities through the distribution of one-off cash grants based on ongoing protection monitoring activities. On the other hand, the project will support the voices of INGOs in the humanitarian coordination structure, by developing the activities of the INGO Forum.


SPHERE Project 2019-2021

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2021

Since 1997, Sphere, as a network and as a global community, brings together a diverse range of humanitarian actors, including focal points, trainers, members and other users around a common goal, which is to improve outcomes for people affected by crisis, conflict and disaster and having the right to receive the best quality of principled and accountable humanitarian assistance wherever and whenever crisis strikes.


Accès aux populations vulnérables grâce au soutien au Service Aérien Humanitaire des Nations Unies (UNHAS)

01.01.2019 - 30.11.2024

L’UNHAS est le service aérien des Nations Unies qui appuie la mise en œuvre d’interventions humanitaires ainsi que du développement économique et social en faveur des populations les plus vulnérables et marginalisées du Niger. L'UNHAS facilite et sécurise au Niger l'essentiel des déplacements des agents des programmes respectifs, leur permettant de rejoindre les régions reculées du pays et leurs populations rapidement et en toute sécurité.


Stay, Deliver and Protect (SDP)

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2022

Afghanistan continues to face a protracted humanitarian crisis. Armed conflict results in large-scale population displacements and a high number of civilian casualties. Insecurity causes significant challenges to humanitarian access and responses, especially where they are needed most. "Stay, Deliver and Protect" aims to facilitate humanitarian access and to promote protection of education, protection of civilians, psychosocial support and humanitarian coordination in conflict-affected communities.


SDC Education Fund

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2022

As part of its increased commitment for Education and of the implementation of SDC’s Education Strategy, the SDC launches an Education Fund in order to incentivize innovation and the application of new approaches in basic education/vocational skills development and through educational activities across sectors. Innovation can have a catalytic effect on the effectiveness of programmes in and through education. Education is a core enabler for sustainable development and is an important lever in Switzerland’s commitment to promote human and economic development, peace and stability. 

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