31, January, 2012
BRIEF

Disaster Risk Reduction in Urban Areas

Urban expansion in marginal city areas increases the risk of fatalities and home devastation when extreme weather occurs. But many Latin American cities are successfully tackling disaster risk, driven by effective urban governance.

In the context of urbanisation, disaster risk increases from badly planned and managed urban development, degraded ecosystems and poverty. The disaster risk reduction (DRR) processes developed in several Latin American cities show the benefits of making risk reduction an integral part of local development. The importance of good information for risk assessment, government-civil society collaboration, and links between local, national and regional levels is also evident.  Latin America’s DRR experiences can offer a wealth of lessons for African and South Asian counterparts embarking on their own urban risk reduction processes.

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Key Lessons:

  • Embedding disaster risk management within overall development efforts has yielded positive results
  • Competent city and municipal governments have been key players in DRR, and their effectiveness has been enhanced when they have collaborated with local communities and civil society
  • Support from higher levels of government proved crucial, as many DRR initiatives need coordinated action across government levels and sectors

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