What is Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)?
Disaster risk is the potential loss expressed in lives, health status, livelihoods, assets and services, which could occur to a particular community or a society due to the impact of a natural hazard. Disaster risk reduction (DRR) is a systematic approach to identifying, assessing and reducing that risk. Specifically, the purpose of disaster risk reduction is to minimise vulnerabilities and disaster risks throughout a society in order to avoid (prevent) or to limit (mitigate and prepare for) the adverse impacts of natural hazards, and facilitate sustainable development. Disaster risk reduction is also recognised as a key climate change adaptation strategy.
Why is DRR important for UNICEF?
Disasters and disaster risk are on the rise. The number of people affected globally by disasters has been increasing by an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 per decade, since the early 1970s, with 250 million affected per year over the last decade. Ninety-five percent of disaster deaths occur in developing countries. Climate change impacts are projected to increase the numbers of children affected by disasters from an estimated 66.5 million per year in the late 1990s, to as many as 175 million per year in the coming decade. Disasters negatively impact children's and women's rights, disproportionately affect poor countries, erode development gains and set back progress in achieving the MDGs. Disasters thus exacerbate already existing vulnerabilities and inequalities of boys, girls, women and men. As disasters are a function of hazard, vulnerability and capacity, they are both a humanitarian and a development concern. With a mandate combining humanitarian relief with long-term development objectives, UNICEF recognises its crucial responsibility to integrate DRR across its work. UNICEF's presence before, during and after a disaster also means that it is ideally placed to address disaster risk and to undertake risk reduction measures.