Disaster Risk Reduction

From Open Risk Manual


Disaster Risk Reduction is a set of policies aimed at preventing new and reducing existing Disaster Risk and managing Residual Risk, all of which contribute to strengthening resilience and therefore to the achievement of sustainable development.

Disaster risk reduction is the policy objective of Disaster Risk Management, and its goals and objectives are defined in disaster risk reduction strategies and plans.

Disaster risk reduction strategies and policies define goals and objectives across different timescales and with concrete targets, indicators and time frames. In line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, these should be aimed at preventing the creation of disaster risk, the reduction of existing risk and the strengthening of economic, social, health and environmental resilience.

A global, agreed policy of disaster risk reduction is set out in the United Nations endorsed Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, adopted in March 2015, whose expected outcome over the next 15 years is: “The substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries”.

Structural versus Non-Structural Measures

Structural measures are any physical construction to reduce or avoid possible impacts of hazards, or the application of engineering techniques or technology to achieve hazard resistance and resilience in structures or systems. Non-structural measures are measures not involving physical construction which use knowledge, practice or agreement to reduce disaster risks and impacts, in particular through policies and laws, public awareness raising, training and education.

Common structural measures for disaster risk reduction include

  • dams
  • flood levies
  • ocean wave barriers
  • earthquake-resistant construction and
  • evacuation shelters.

Common non-structural measures include

  • building codes
  • land-use planning laws and their enforcement
  • research and assessment
  • information resources and public awareness programmes.