Over the past decade, the World Bank has emerged as the global leader in disaster risk management (DRM), supporting client countries to assess exposure to hazards and address disaster risks. It provides technical and financial support for risk assessments, risk reduction, preparedness, financial protection, and resilient recovery and reconstruction. The World Bank’s annual DRM investment has increased steadily over the past six years—from $3.7 billion in FY12 to $4.4 billion in FY17.
In providing support for DRM, the World Bank Group (WBG) promotes a comprehensive, multi-sectoral approach to managing disaster risk.
The Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Global Practice (GSURR) houses the World Bank’s core DRM specialists and leads engagement with client countries on disaster risk and resilience. The Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), a global partnership managed by the World Bank and supported by 37 countries and 11 international institutions, acts as a financing and technical body that supports DRM across the World Bank Group.
The World Bank’s approach to delivering on its strategy is organized by priority areas of engagement, which support priorities for action outlined in the Sendai Framework, as well as contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement. These areas of engagement include:
Promoting open access to risk information
An understanding of risk is the foundation upon which all disaster and climate resilience actions are built. GFDRR’s Innovation Lab uses cutting edge science and technology to create robust disaster risk information that is openly available and easily understandable by all actors responsible for managing disaster and climate risk. It also supports communities in mapping their exposure to disasters and climate change, ensuring that their voice and knowledge is part of the resilience solution.
Promoting resilient infrastructure
Publicly funded infrastructure, such as transport, health care, drinking water, sanitation, telecommunications, and electricity, must be designed as resilient, so that basic services are maintained during disaster, and infrastructure users are not put at risk by sub-standard structures. Furthermore, infrastructure development attracts population and investment, and its localization should be such that it steers development toward safer areas. The Global Program for Safer Schools (GPSS) works to make schools and the communities they serve more resilient to natural hazards – reducing physical impact on school infrastructure, minimizing disruption in education, and saving lives. GPSS has used technology and data analytics to guide intervention on a larger scale than ever before possible.
Scaling up the resilience of cities
Unless urban planning practices radically change, urbanization will remain one of the major drivers of the increase in risk in the next decades. The Resilient Cities program will support at least 30 cities over the next 4 years to develop and implement resilience plans through its partnership with the Medellín Collaboration. This program will align identified investments in resilience with viable financing strategies, ensuring that plans become actions.
Strengthening hydromet services and early warning systems
Governments around the globe are demanding better access to effective hydro-meteorological services and early warning systems, as success stories continue to highlight their value in saving lives and livelihoods. Hydromet engagements offer technical expertise and capacity building, both to governments supporting the design of hydromet modernization programs and through engagement in the World Bank/WMO Africa Hydromet Initiative and the Climate Risk Early Warning Initiative (CREWS).
Deepening financial protection
Securing access to financial resources before a disaster strikes is important. This includes instruments such as emergency funds, insurance mechanisms and contingency lines of credit such as the Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Option (Cat DDO). The ability of governments to manage the financial impact of disaster and climate shocks is critical to long-term recovery and sustainable development. The Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance (DRFI) program builds governments’ financial capacity to withstand adverse natural events. This means working with governments to design climate-smart insurance programs, innovative financial instruments, and comprehensive financial protection strategies.
Building resilience at community level
The Inclusive Community Resilience (ICR) initiative taps into grassroots expertise in disaster risk management and promotes scalable models that engage directly with communities to empower them to lead resilience actions.
Deepening engagements in resilience to climate change
As the global climate changes, resilience projects planned today must be able to handle deep uncertainty about tomorrow’s climate. Through partnerships that cross sectors, the World Bank is helping countries design investments in resilience with future climate change in mind. For example, the Small Island States Resilience Initiative is rapidly building a community of practice among World Bank and national experts working on DRM and climate adaptation, and delivering scaled-up and more harmonized support for resilience to Small Island States.
Enabling resilient recovery
Resilient recovery engagements helping countries assess the impact of disasters and supporting recovery planning including in fragile and conflict situations. The World Bank and GFDRR have developed substantial knowledge and expertise in needs assessment and recovery planning. The Recovery Hub makes this knowledge freely accessible online, providing quick and timely guidance mainly to government officials and key decision makers involved in the recovery process following major disasters.
Promoting resilience to climate change and enabling gender equality are both central to these areas of engagement, and these two themes are embedded into all World Bank DRM activities.
Last Updated: Oct 06,2016