“A disaster is a severe disruption to a community’s survival and livelihood systems, resulting from people’s vulnerability to hazard impacts and involving loss of life and/or property on a scale which overwhelms their capacity to cope unaided. This means that disasters – even so-called ‘natural disasters’ – are not exogenous and uncontrollable events, temporarily departing from normality, though they are often seen as such. Disasters can be reduced, and in some instances even prevented, by supporting people’s ability to resist hazard impacts.” (DFID, 2004)
The Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters (HFA), agreed and signed by the representatives of 168 countries, provides an integrated framework for governments and other stakeholders to understand disasters and take measures to reduce disaster impacts. To improve disaster risk reduction, the HFA promotes five Priority Actions:
1. Ensure that disaster risk reduction is a national and local priority with a strong institutional basis for implementation.
2. Identify, assess and monitor disaster risks and enhance early warning.
3. Use knowledge, innovation and education to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels.
4. Reduce underlying risk factors.
5. Strengthen disaster preparedness for effective response at all levels.
The Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015 will end next year. The United Nations General Assembly requested the UN International Secretariat for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) to facilitate the development of a post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction. Next meeting will be held in Japan in 2015.