of 9
Current View
ELLA AREA: ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT
|
ELLA THEME: DISASTER RISK MANAGEMENT IN CITIES
1
ELLA Area: Environmental Management
ELLA Theme: Disaster Risk Management in Cities
Extreme weather events have a direct impact on households’ welfare, and
in particular, the poorest, most socially excluded populations. Increasing
frequency and intensity of disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes and
flooding, is closely linked to the growing vulnerability of households and
communities. Thus, the impacts of extreme events on poverty, income,
consumption, health and education present a serious challenge to the well-
being of these populations, and also produce negative long-term consequences
for economic and social development across the region. In order to reduce
the impacts of disasters on existing economic and social disparities, Latin
American countries are implementing a range of initiatives that combine
Disaster Risk Management (DRM) approaches with poverty reduction
measures, social inclusion and the creation of jobs and productive activities.
This Brief presents some key experiences from across the region, with a focus
on urban governance, public investment systems and innovative insurance
mechanisms. The Brief then describes the main contextual factors that explain
why Latin American countries have made progress in these areas, as well as
on-going challenges and key lessons that may be useful for other regions.
SUMMARY
Policy Brief
Latin American countries are implementing a
range of innovative strategies to address
the underlying causes of disaster risk,
while at the same time promoting
social inclusion and productive
growth.
A COMMON CHALLENGE: ENDING THE CYCLE
OF DISASTER, VULNERABILITY AND POVERTY
The staggering cost of disasters represents a considerable
challenge to achieving the Millennium Development Goals
(MDG), and principally
Goal 1
related to poverty reduction.
Disasters cause substantial damage to human capital,
including death and destruction, and produce harmful
consequences for nutrition, education,
1
health and income-
generating processes.
2
Furthermore, disasters affect the
poorest populations first and hardest, creating a vicious
cycle between vulnerability and poverty.
1
Two-thirds of the $6 billion annual funds from the World Bank spent on building schools as part of the Education For All programme are allocated
towards replacing precarious or insecure constructions. See: World Bank /GFDRR, UNISDR, INEE. 2009.
Guidance Notes on Safer School Construction
.
INEE Secretariat, Washington, DC.
2
World Bank. 2009.
Do Natural Disasters Affect Human Capital? An Assessment Based on Existing Empirical Evidence
. World Bank, Washington, DC.
LATIN AMERICAN
EXPERIENCE IN COMBINING
DISASTER RISK MANAGEMENT
WITH POVERTY REDUCTION
LESSONS LEARNED
KEY
It is possible to address the underlying causes of risk and reduce poverty
using existing tools and strategies. Waiting for higher levels of economic
development is unnecessary.
Preventative resettlement programmes can build resilience to risk and
improve the quality of life of the poorest and most vulnerable urban
populations.
Integrating DRM into public investment systems protects national financial
resources from the economic impacts of disasters, thereby helping to
maintain macro-economic stability, sustain growth and protect poverty
reduction efforts.
2
ELLA AREA: ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT
|
ELLA THEME: DISASTER RISK MANAGEMENT IN CITIES
Source: United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA). 2012.
A Visual Analytics Approach to Understanding Poverty Assessment through Disaster
Impacts in Latin America and Africa
. UNOOSA, Vienna.
Figure 1: Relationships Between Poverty, Vulnerability and Disasters
3
Chilean Ministry of Planning. 2010
Encuesta Post Terremoto: Principales Resultados (Post-Earthquake Survey: Principal Results)
. Government
of Chile, Santiago de Chile. For further information on the impacts of the earthquake on productive resources and human well-being, see: USAID.
2010.
Chile- Earthquake Factsheet
. USAID, Washington, DC.
4
The Government of the Republic of Haiti. 2010.
Haiti Earthquake PDNA: Assessment of Damage, Losses, General and Sectoral Needs
. Government
of Haiti, Port-au-Prince. For other examples from the region’s cities, see: Hardoy, J., Pandiella, G. 2009.
Urban Poverty and Vulnerability to Climate
Change in Latin America
.
Environment and Urbanization
21 203-224.
5
See, for example: de la Fuente, A., Dercon, S. 2008.
Disasters, Growth and Poverty in Africa: Revisiting the Microeconomic Evidence
. Background
Paper for the 2009 ISDR Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction. UNISDR Africa, Nairobi.
6
Reardon, T., Taylor, J. 1996.
Agro-climatic shock, Income Inequality, and Poverty: Evidence from Burkina Faso
.
World Development
24(5) 901-914.
7
Cherel-Robson, M. 2008.
Vulnerability to Food Insecurity in Madagascar: Spatial Determinants, Policy Processes and Coping Strategies
. PhD
Dissertation. University of Sussex.
8
Dercon, S., Hoddinott, J., Woldehanna, T. 2005.
Shocks and Consumption in 15 Ethiopian Villages, 1999-2004
.
Journal of African Economies
14(4) 559-585.
To cite just a few examples from Latin America, as a result
of
Hurricane Mitch
in 1998, the poorest families living
in Honduras lost 31% of their productive resources. The
Government of Chile estimates that an additional 500,000
Chileans fell into poverty after the 2010 earthquake, mainly
due to job loss.
3
In Haiti, the impacts of the 2010 earthquake
were felt particularly hard in the country’s poorest
regions where chronic food insecurity intensified, health
infrastructure and social services collapsed and some 1.3
million people were left homeless.
4
The grave impacts of disasters on poverty in African and Asian
countries have also been widely reported.
5
For example, in
Burkina Faso poverty increased in the Sahel (from 2% to 19%)
and the Sudanian area (from 12% to 15%) in the aftermath
of the 1984-1985 drought.
6
Between 1998 and 2000, natural
disasters in Madagascar reduced financial capacity to
access food by 46%.
7
In Ethiopia, in 1999 and 2002 uninsured
droughts increased consumption poverty by about 14%.
8
Assessments carried out by the
Asian Development Bank
found that as many as 2 million additional people could fall
3
ELLA AREA: ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT
|
ELLA THEME: DISASTER RISK MANAGEMENT IN CITIES
into poverty as a result of the 2004 tsunami.
Underlying Causes of Risk
Disaster risk is augmented by factors such as rapid urban
growth and occupation of new areas of land, which in turn lead
to increases in the quantity of people and assets exposed to
risk. At the same time, weak institutional capacities amongst
local government authorities for facilitating access to land
and services by poor people has resulted in a model of
urban growth characterised by the expansion of informal
settlements into non-regulated areas prone to hazards. Today,
at least 900 million people live in informal settlements in cities
in developing countries, and many of these are located in high
risk zones.
9
As it is, the livelihoods of poor urban populations
barely cover basic necessities in terms of shelter, transport,
education and health; a lack of safe housing, infrastructure
and adequate public services - that could offer protection in
the event of earthquakes, cyclones and heavy floods – only
serves to further increase mortality risk.
The degradation of ecosystems is another important factor
that increases disaster risk and poverty in urban areas.
As well as causing a higher frequency and intensity of
disasters,
10
environmental damage produces direct losses
for poor populations that depend on ecosystem services
for their livelihoods. Weak or non-existent social protection
mechanisms and scarce availability of insurance schemes
also heighten the impact of disasters on poorer urban
populations. Losses resulting from disasters often exceed their
response capacity and the high frequency of extreme events
erodes
resilience
over time. Progressive climate change acts
as a powerful propeller in the cyclical relationship between
disaster risk and poverty, drastically increasing the impact of
disasters on poor people and on poverty reduction efforts .
11
In the case of large-scale disasters, international aid only
provides for 10% of actual recovery and reconstruction costs.
12
Disasters therefore require developing countries to divert
significant resources that could otherwise be used to address
the underlying causes of risk via poverty reduction and socio-
economic development objectives. In this context, developing
countries across Asia,
13
Latin America
14
and Africa
15
have
been developing Disaster Risk Management (DRM) strategies
aimed at increasing the resilience of communities as well
as stimulating growth and protecting poverty reduction and
development investments.
16
This Brief focuses on the Latin
American experience in implementing DRM strategies that
combine with a poverty reduction approach.
17
REDUCING BOTH DISASTER RISK AND POVERTY:
KEY LATIN AMERICAN EXPERIENCES
Across the region, Latin American actors have implemented
a range of strategies for reducing the underlying factors of
risk, while at the same time breaking the disaster risk-poverty
cycle. Some of the main strategies include: strengthening
livelihoods (natural resource management; provision of
basic services; and infrastructure development); good
urban governance (regulatory frameworks; planning for
growth); financial tools (credits and insurance); ecosystem
management (protected areas; payments for ecosystem
services); and community-based risk reduction approaches.
9
UN-HABITAT. 2011.
Global Report on Human Settlements 2011 – Cities and Climate Change
. UN HABITAT, Washington, DC.
10
Natural ecosystems such as wetlands, forests, mangroves and watersheds play a fundamental role in regulating the frequency and intensity of
natural hazards such as flooding and landslides. For further information, see: UNEP. 2005.
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
. UNEP, Washington, DC.
11
ISDR. 2009.
Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction
. ISDR, Geneva.
12
See: Global Humanitarian Assistance. 2011.
Global Humanitarian Assistance Report 2011
. GHA, Bristol.
13
UNISDR. 2012.
Reducing Vulnerability and Exposure to Disasters: Asia-Pacific Disaster Report 2012
. UNISDR, Geneva.
14
Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction of the Americas.
Investing in Resilience: Accelerating the Implementation of the Hyogo Framework
for Action in the Americas
. Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas,Santiago de Chile.
15
UNISDR. 2011.
Effective Measures to Build Resilience in Africa to Adapt to Climate Change
. UNISDR, Geneva.
16
See: Inter-Parliamentary Union, UNISDR. 2010.
Disaster Risk Reduction: An Instrument for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
IPU
and UNISDR, Geneva.
17
Though this Brief is part of a set of materials focused on DRM in cities, this particular Brief, given the nature of the subject matter, includes
examples both from cities as well as from national governments. In researching this Brief, we have given priority to technical studies and
reports carried out by UN agencies, as well as international and multilateral institutions such as the World Bank, Economic Commission for Latin
America and the Caribbean and the Inter-American Development Bank. The reports of these bodies, undertaken as part of the internal work of the
organisation or commissioned to external experts, are high-quality and reliable, and offer applied and comparative research of different countries
of Latin America. We also drew on reports of the public institutions working on DRM in individual countries, and in some cases we consulted the
research of private institutions, such as NGOs, with DRM expertise. Efforts have been made to ensure that the sources are as current as possible
and available online for easy reference.