Global and Regional Mechanisms of Disaster Risk Reduction and Relief: Review, Evaluation, Future Directions of Integration
The destructive earthquake and tsunami crisis that have dramatically stroke the South of Asia on the 26th of December 2004 have brought into question the creation of a regional tsunami warning systemin the Indian Ocean. This massive event, which affected 12 countries and caused the loss of more than 165,000 lives, hasshown more than ever that individual countries cannot deal efficiently on their own with transboundary natural disasters of such amplitude. In order to limit the impact of these catastrophes and facilitate the relief operations, common actions are needed at the regional level, through the establishment of regional disaster risk reduction strategies, including the elaboration of regional early warning systems. This presentation aims therefore to highlight the important role of regional organizations and regional frameworks of co-operation for developing countries both in the process of preventing and mitigating risks as well as in the post-disaster relief actions. It consists out of a review of the main concepts and governance frameworks used for disaster risk reduction (part A) and an assessment of a series of case studies dealing with how regional organisations cope with it. The UNU has recently installed a research and training centre that deals with Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS). It is there that the UNU specialists and specific activities on the reduction ofrisks resulting from environmental hazards are to be found. The present authors are however affiliated to another UNU body, UNU-CRIS, studying regional integration and cooperation frameworks worldwide from a comparative perspective. Hence, although mentioning also some technical concepts,the present background paper will rather focus on the role of regional governance frameworks in risk reduction. Concrete proposals are offered on potential mechanisms for building a ‘regional-global integrated disaster risk reduction and relief mechanism’.