What is Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)?
It's a different way of thinking: "There is no such thing as a 'natural' disaster". For example, when a building collapses after an earthquake, we think of it as a disaster and something we can't control. We can't stop an earthquake from happening, but could we have prevented the building from collapsing? Could the building have been built so that it wouldn't have collapsed? Have there been earthquakes here before? If so, should we have built here in the first place?
Disaster risk reduction is about understanding our personal and environmental risks of a hazard, like an earthquake, flood, hurricane/cyclone, and landslides and finding ways to reduce this risk so that we are not affected by them, or be able to bounce back quickly if they do affect us.
Disasters don't have to happen. We can all do something to reduce our risk!
Women & girls are powerful agents of change.
In their vital but unsung roles, women rewove the fabric of their communities while men rebuilt the structure.
- They are activists, law makers, social workers, role models, community leaders, teachers, and mothers.
- They are invaluable in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation processes if real community resilience and significant reduction of disaster impacts are to be achieved. Women must always be part of policy, planning and implementation processes.
- They represent roughly half the world’s population and are among the most affected by disasters. Their experience, knowledge and expertise are critical to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction strategies and processes.
- Household adaptation measures are more likely to take root if women are included in processes from beginning to end.
A resilient community is a gender-sensitive community.
If we are going to see real development in the world then our best investment is women.
- Gender inequality puts women, children and entire communities in danger when natural hazards strike. The weakest link can mean the destruction of the entire chain. Gender inequality is a weak link - strengthening that link strengthens resilience.
- Gender equality begins with education. Women and girls must be included in public life. This begins with the education of boys and girls through to adulthood. This is how men and boys will become involved in removing the barriers that prevent women and girls from participating in the disaster risk reduction cycle.
- Women and girls are effective purveyors of information. Information exchange must be two-way and accessible for equal inclusion of women's and men's voices.
The theme for IDDR 2012 does not imply that women and girls are invisible.
- It is about drawing attention to the fact that their efforts to protect and rebuild their communities before and after disasters are often unrecognized and that 'invisibility' is a socio-cultural construct.
- It is about highlighting that their ability to contribute is hindered by lack of inclusion and poor understanding of gender inequality.
- It is about celebrating the contribution women and girls are making before, during and after a disaster.
- It is about moving beyond the tendency to view and portray women and girls as victims. And even though women and girls feature disproportionately among the casualties of disasters they are 'active victims'.
- It is about stories of action and initiative by women and girls, and it also seeks to shed light on the obstacles that prevent them from participating in Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation.