Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Devil's Advocate and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction

This is the sceptic's agenda for world-wide disaster risk reduction. A little scepticism is a good thing: too much of it makes one a thorn in the flesh - or worse.

1.    Do we need this document, and if we do, why?

2.    Whether it is good or bad, will it actually help to reduce losses caused by disasters?

3.    What are the alternatives to having a Sendai Declaration? Is there a better way?

4.    Who will hold governments to account, and how?

5.    Would changing the wording of the SFDRR have any impact upon disaster losses?

6.    Can a document like the SFDRR ever be anything but top-down, and if it can't, does this matter?

7.    The word 'should' appears 20 times in the SFDRR: does it have any real meaning in comparison with the word 'must'?

8.    In the face of 'disaster risk creation'*, do targets have any meaning?

9.    For whom is science, and who will ascertain this?

10.    What sort of framework will produce positive results if a government is corrupt and unethical?

11.    What if principles cannot be implemented at the national level because of globalism?

12.    Is it disingenuous of governments to wait for a framework to be published before embarking on a proper programme of disaster risk reduction? ("Houston, we have a problem. We can't fix it: no one has told us to.")

13.    Is the SFDRR part of a self-generated, self-justifying culture? If it is, what are the implications of this for disaster risk?

I expect a spirited defence of the Sendai Framework in retaliation.

*Lewis, J. and I. Kelman 2012. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: disaster risk reduction (DRR) versus disaster risk creation (DRC). PLoS Currents Disasters 2012 Jun 7 [last modified: 2012 Jun 21] doi: 10.1371/4f8d4eaec6af8.