World Bank’s ‘way forward’ in disaster risk management

A yellow tape to keep people off a restoration site in Sendai, the city affected by the 2011 tsunami that resulted from a massive earthquake in Japan. Photo by: Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank / CC BY-NC-ND

Global leaders and policymakers, including World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, convened Oct. 9-10 in Sendai, Japan, to discuss and call for more efforts to “mainstream” disaster risk management in development programs.

Central to the Sendai Dialogue is the report, “Managing Disaster Risks for a Resilient Future,” which facilitated the conference by highlighting important case studies from countries such as Yemen, Colombia and the Philippines. The report cites previous and existing projects in making disaster risk management fundamental to community and urban development planning. Further, it emphasizes the roles governments and partners can take along with suggested courses of action.

The Sendai report also outlines the priorities and opportunities for the World Bank in disaster risk management:

  • Support countries to better understand and use disaster risk information for more effective policy and investment decisions.

  • Increase technical and financial assistance to disaster and climate change resiliency projects and accelerated recovery planning in vulnerable countries.

  • Develop knowledge and partnerships, and encourage more coordination among donors to further align the disaster risk management agenda.

  • Strengthen internal capacity and dedicate more resources for better response to client demand.

The bank funded 528 disaster-related projects worth $26 billion from 1984 to 2006. It accelerated financing for disaster risk management efforts since then, spending $11.7 billion on 181 projects between 2006 and 2011, a move that reflects how “DRM is increasingly at the core of World Bank business.”

“We need a culture of prevention,” Kim said in a press release, “No country can fully insulate itself from disaster risk, but every country can reduce its vulnerability. Better planning can help reduce damage and loss of life from disasters, and prevention can be far less costly than disaster relief and response.”

The Sendai report will also be used in the upcoming Development Committee Meeting on Oct. 13, 2012.

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About the author

  • Adrienne Valdez

    Adrienne Valdez is a former staff writer for Devex, covering breaking international development news. Before joining Devex, Adrienne worked as a news correspondent for a public-sector modernization publication.