Disasters impact different members of society differently. Socio-economic factors and inequalities, including gender inequality, are critical elements causing disproportionate disaster impact on certain population groups, including higher loss of lives and livelihoods.
An inclusive disaster risk reduction system is necessary to address this disproportionate impact and it is a key foundation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.
Our policy tracker looks at UN Member States’ progress in achieving inclusive disaster risk reduction strategies. The tracker shows that in 2020 only 26 countries have a policy or practice in place that specifically includes strategies for ensuring inclusivity on all Sendai-identified marginalised groups.
If you are aware of an inclusive disaster risk reduction policy which is not mentioned here, please share it with us so that we can add it to this tracker.
Together, we can achieve inclusive and gender-responsive disaster risk reduction policies across the world, which will help save lives and livelihoods in times of disasters, including those of the most marginalised and most in need.
Here is an overview of UN Member States policies and strategies, which ensure that traditionally marginalised groups in disaster prevention, preparedness, response and recovery (women, children and youth, persons with disabilities, poor people, migrants, indigenous peoples and older people) are included.
|Antigua & Barbuda|
|Bosnia & Herzegovina|
|Central African Rep.|
|Congo, Dem. Rep.|
|Micronesia, Fed. St.|
|Papua New Guinea|
|Saint Kitts & Nevis|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines|
|Sao Tome & Principe|
|Trinidad & Tobago|
|Turks & Caicos Is|
|United Arab Emirates|
Women and girls face greater risks and exposure than men and boys in the context of disasters and climate change. Across the board, from life expectancy to education, health, violence, livelihoods, and nutrition, women are negatively and disproportionately impacted by disasters. A 2007 statistical analysis on the outcomes of disasters in 141 countries found that women are more likely to die, and die sooner, than men in disasters and that this is due to socio-economic inequalities, including gender inequality.
Although disproportionately impacted, women are also critical agents of change. Women have been shown to demonstrate extraordinary powers of resilience during disasters and propose innovative and transformative solutions to build their resilience to disasters and that of their societies. Yet, women remain largely ignored and their capacities and leadership unleveraged in conventional disaster risk reduction, preparedness, recovery, and resilience processes.
Children and youth may be disproportionately exposed to disasters and experience the impact of a hazard differently, depending on their age. Children's and youth’s participation in disaster risk reduction yields potential benefits through increased resilience, enhanced personal development and skills, self-efficacy, and interpersonal relationships, and for communities through improved social connections and networks and disaster preparedness. Children and youth participation can help identify and address the specific needs and priorities of children and youth in the face of disasters.
Persons with disabilities are especially vulnerable when disasters strike not only due to aspects of their disabilities, but also because they are more likely, on average, to experience adverse socioeconomic outcomes than persons without disabilities, including higher poverty rates, which directly affects their disaster resilience. Disasters and poorly planned disaster response and recovery efforts can exacerbate these disparities, leaving persons with disabilities struggling to cope even more both during and after the emergency. Policies which address the priorities, solutions and needs of persons with disabilities and leverage their potential through inclusive approaches can significantly reduce the disproportionate impact of disasters on persons with disabilities and strengthen community resilience.
People living in poverty or extreme poverty will often experience higher levels of risk and find it more difficult to recover from a disaster or emergency event. Lack of accessible funds can mean people or families are unable to afford disaster-proof housing, and rehouse themselves or replace necessary items following a disaster. This is particularly relevant when the country has limited social services or state-backed safety nets.
Worldwide, migrants, asylum seekers and refugees often face specific conditions of marginalization. They may struggle on a daily basis to access adequate services, resources and opportunities as a result of factors as diverse as limited language proficiency and local knowledge, social and spatial isolation, and a lack of trust in members and institutions of their host communities. More fundamentally, they may suffer due to their host society’s political and cultural stances via-à-vis migration and migrants.
These factors also have distinct impacts on their exposure to hazards and access to self-protection and support options in the face of shocks and stresses of all kinds — and therefore on their vulnerability to disasters. Accounting for migrants’ specific conditions of vulnerability is essential in devising interventions that reduce the risks they face. At the same time, it is important to recognize that, by virtue of their translocal background, they are likely to have a unique set of experiences, skills, narratives and networks, which can be leveraged to build their own and their host communities’ resilience. As societies all over the world become increasingly diverse, the inclusion of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees is a key element of sustainable, effective disaster risk reduction.
Minority ethnic and indigenous peoples experience particularly high climate and disaster risk, are often not involved in disaster risk reduction policy making and tend to face difficulties in accessing resources and assistance in dealing with disasters. Marginalisation of these groups may become further exacerbated in the aftermath of a disaster or emergency event. However, traditional knowledge held by indigenous groups can often provide alternative ideas for disaster risk reduction and climate resilience. Integrating traditional knowledge within the administrative frameworks of a city or region must be done with a full understanding of how each will enhance or detract from the other.
Older people are more likely to die and injured than the younger members of a community in a disaster or emergency event. Older people also often have more complex medical requirements, lack of physical and social mobility and can often be excluded from mainstream society. These factors can contribute to an increased disaster risk amongst the elderly. In terms of capacity to respond and recovery from disasters, older people will often have life experience and knowledge of previous disasters and can provide valuable experience to disaster risk reduction.