Global Challenges in Disaster Reduction
The article entitled, Global Challenges in Disaster Reduction, written by Briceno Salvano examines the need to develop a common understanding on disaster reduction in the face of global challenges such as climate change.
Salvano’s general thesis is that together we must shift our emphasis from disaster response and relief to disaster reduction by incorporating preparedness, mitigation, and prevention within the context of sustainable development towards reducing our collective risk and vulnerability to natural hazards. (pg. 3)
To justify his thesis, Salvano points towards the importance of learning from the past to balance the scales of disaster response and reduction. He then highlights the importance of building a shared vision to raise awareness and understanding of disaster prevention. From this, Salvano is then able to assert in part three that disaster reduction provides a solid, meaningful, no-regrets set of activities in support of climate change adaptation plans. (pg. 5)
In his first section, Salvano emphasizes the importance of learning from the past to balance the scale of disaster response and reduction. To do this, he looks at what is being done to learn from the past such as the World Conference on Disaster Reduction. This conference will draw upon various regional and thematic consultations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Salvano also looks at a 10-year review entitled, “Yokohama Strategy for a Safer World” that was in progress at the time which focused on examining the achievements in the implementation of disaster reduction worldwide, identifying gaps and preparing recommendations for future priorities to guide action in longer-term development plans by UN member states. (pg. 4)
In part two the importance of building a shared vision to raise awareness and understanding of damage reduction is discussed.
The dissemination of clear and motivating messages is crucial, he argues, for the implementation of disaster reduction at the global, regional, national and local levels. With international agencies, non-governmental organizations, government representatives, local decision-makers, scientists, educators, and communities all having the opportunity to participate in the campaign. (pg. 4)
This is key to bringing together their complementary roles and responsibilities, which can generate a larger devotion and understanding to disaster reduction. This, Salvano asserts, is a major contributor to a ‘culture of prevention.’
Salvano is then able to assert in part three that disaster reduction provides a reliable, meaningful, no-regrets set of activities in support of climate change adaptation plans.
This `culture of prevention` that is built through mutual interaction of multiple actors is what centrally justifies his thesis of shifting our emphasis from disaster response and relief to disaster reduction, incorporating preparedness, mitigation, and prevention within the context of sustainable development towards reducing our collective risk and vulnerability to natural hazards.
This is essential to the study of public policy because it helps the policymaker come to terms with the reality that within the future sustainable development and disaster reduction are a necessity to reducing collective risk.
Initiatives should be made to focus on the intertwined concepts of sustainable development and disaster prevention in the context of complex problems such as climate change.
Overall, Salvano creates a compelling call-to-action highlighting the need for a change from the out-dated reactive policy towards a more pro-active globalized effort.
Briceno, S. (2004, March). “Global Challenges in Disaster Reduction.” The Australian Journal of Emergency Management, 19, 3-5,