Transformation as a fundamental approach

Disaster risk reduction (DRR) is a complex challenge that requires work on many fronts with a diversity of disciplines and stakeholders that cannot be successful without consideration of development, as the two are closely interconnected.

Progress on disaster risk reduction is often restricted by its failure to acknowledge how development processes can act as the root causes of disasters. Addressing the underlying drivers of risk inherent in the failures of development and DRR requires actions that challenge existing structures, power relations, vested interests, and dominant narratives that persist within systems and maintain and perpetuate poverty, inequality, and marginalization – a transformation of the current DRR approach.

As a boundary concept, transformation challenges dominant values and goals in current development practice, and examines the underlying failures of development and DRR to call for radical policy changes. Transformative DRR cuts across sectors, and is characterized by changes in structures, goals, perspectives, and/or governance regimes that alter the risk management status quo. In this framing, transformative processes are triggered by major disasters, and positive outcomes are enabled by inclusive decision-making, self-organizing groups and networks beyond established institutions, and anticipatory risk planning that goes beyond coping.

Short interviews with researchers from SEI’s initiative explaining the opportunities for transformation of development and disaster risk.

Video: TDDR, SEI / YouTube.