Building resilience to natural disasters

DFID has taken a well-considered approach to mainstreaming resilience to natural disasters, and has helped to promote the inclusion of resilience into the global development agenda.

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Published
28 Feb 2018
Assessment
Green - Amber
Lead commissioner
Richard Gledhill
Subjects
Cross-cutting, Humanitarian, Sustainability and climate change
Related documents
Approach paper

Natural disasters and climate-related extreme weather events are increasing in scale and frequency. In 2017, hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria caused widespread devastation in the Caribbean, and in South Asia heavy monsoon rain took 1,200 lives and affected 40 million people.

The impacts of loss and damage caused by natural disasters fall disproportionately on the world’s poorest, and within low-income countries it is the poorest and vulnerable who are most exposed to disasters.

Between 2011 and 2015 DFID focused on mainstreaming resilience to natural disasters in all its relevant programming. This involved ensuring investment decisions were informed by disaster risks and that programmes were designed or adapted to be resilient to natural hazards.

This review assesses the effectiveness of DFID’s approach to building resilience. It analyses how well DFID conducted its resilience mainstreaming process and how its programmes are contributing to building resilience.

We focus on six country case studies: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Nepal, the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Uganda. We also look at DFID’s influencing activities and partnerships, and assess whether results monitoring and learning are helping to improve its work.

Overall, this review found that DFID has taken a well-considered approach to mainstreaming resilience to natural disasters, and has helped to promote the inclusion of resilience into the global development agenda. In particular, it found that DFID’s humanitarian, environmental and climate related programmes were consistently contributing to reducing vulnerability and strengthening resilience.

However, the review also found that performance was more variable in other sectors, such as health, education, infrastructure and governance, where resilience to natural disasters was not an explicit objective. With the mainstreaming process over, the review also said that DFID should do more to make sure that results measurement and learning is improved.

The review warned that DFID was failing to routinely gather, synthesise and communicate its growing knowledge base on resilience, and said that DFID should do more to make sure that results measurement and learning is improved.

We awarded DFID a green-amber overall score.

Recommendations

Based on this review, we made the following five recommendations:

  • In partner countries with significant risks from natural disasters, DFID should keep its risk assessments and resilience strategies up to date, working where possible in conjunction with national governments and other development partners.
  • DFID offices in high-risk countries should adopt a portfolio approach to resilience, articulating how their efforts in different sectors and areas will work together to build resilience.
  • DFID should develop its guidance on how to measure resilience results, providing options that can be adopted by country offices according to their contexts and needs.
  • DFID should undertake a stocktake of its work on resilience in high-risk countries to assess the contribution of its programming and influencing activity to building resilience and disaster preparedness, to inform its country strategies. This could be done periodically, or following significant natural disasters.
  • DFID should establish a community of practice to promote the continuing mainstreaming of resilience to natural disasters and provide technical and expert support to the dissemination of knowledge and evidence.

Government Response

The government publishes a response to all ICAI reviews. The government response is available to read online.

International Development Committee

Parliament’s International Development Committee (IDC), or its ICAI sub-committee, hold hearings on all ICAI reviews. The IDC hearing on ‘Building resilience to natural disasters’ is available to watch online.