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Disaster Risks

Volume 450: debated on Tuesday 10 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his Department's priorities are for disaster risk reduction measures in each region of the world. (89980)

In March 2006 DFID launched a new Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) policy setting out its renewed commitment to tackling this issue. The overarching priorities of the policy are to:

strengthen the international system's and national and regional institutions’ capacities to deal with DRR;

integrate DRR more effectively into development policy and planning;

reduce the vulnerability of the poor to disaster risk.

DFID’s DRR work is focused on 14 of the most disaster prone countries from across three regions—Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. These countries are: Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Vietnam, Bolivia, Guyana, Jamaica and Nicaragua.

DFID’s priority across all regions over the next 18 months is to integrate DRR more effectively into development programmes within DFID, and also in developing country governments and other development organisations within the international community. DFID staff in disaster-prone countries will be trained in the necessary skills and knowledge to do this. DFID is working in partnership with the international community in pushing this work forward. For example, DFID is providing £4.3 million to the World Bank for a programme to incorporate DRR more effectively into poverty reduction strategies and approximately £15 million to NGOs undertaking community level DRR work in disaster-prone countries.

Regionally, DFID’s priorities are, within Africa, to reduce risk and vulnerability. We are working in five African countries to establish food safety net programmes for delivering regular grants of cash and food to the poorest. In Asia, DFID is working to ensure that additional money allocated to the region following the series of major natural disasters in 2004-06 is spent effectively. This has arisen from DFID’s commitment to allocate 10 per cent. of its funding in response to each natural disaster for DRR. As a result, DFID is providing £6.5 million for DRR work in the Asia tsunami-affected region, an additional £5.8 million following the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan and £500,000 following the 2006 earthquake in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. In Latin America and the Caribbean DFID has been working with its partners to reduce the damaging impacts of rapid onset emergencies such as hurricanes. Throughout the 2005 and 2006 hurricane seasons we have placed a dedicated Humanitarian/DRR adviser in the Caribbean to take forward this work with regional partners.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking with the (a) World Bank and (b) UN to ensure that disaster risk reduction measures are included as a key issue in poverty reduction strategies. (89982)

DFID is committed to reducing the risk of disasters in developing countries and in March 2006 published a new policy on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). A key aim of this policy is to work in partnership with the World Bank to ensure that DRR measures are incorporated into disaster-prone countries' national level planning processes, including Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRSs). To this end DFID will provide £4.38 million over the next three years for a World Bank programme to integrate DRR more effectively into developing countries' planning processes.

DFID also recognises the important role that the UN plays in integrating DRR into wider development. We are therefore providing £3 million over the next three years to the UN's International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), the focal point in the UN system for the co-ordination of DRR. The ISDR has overall responsibility for supporting and implementing the Hyogo Framework (adopted at the World Conference on Disaster Reduction in January 2005), a key goal of which is to strengthen and integrate DRR mechanisms into disaster prone countries' development planning.