Disaster risk reduction: conceptual shifts

  • Pande Lazarevski
  • Nikola Gjorgon


Over the decades, Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) has moved from a narrowly perceived technical discipline, to a broad-based global movement focused on sustainable development. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed 230.000 people, served as a catalyst that convinced many skeptics of the importance of DRR. In 2015, policy-makers and practitioners from 168 countries came together in Hyogo, Japan and adopted the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015: Building the Resilience for Nations and Communities to Disasters. However, HFA had many gaps. Compared to the HFA, the Sendai Framework for DRR (2015-2030) is more far-reaching, holistic and inclusive, and emphasizes the need to address disaster risk management, to reduce existing vulnerability and to prevent the creation of new risks. However, it too has its setbacks. The aim of this paper is to examine the four conceptual or paradigm shifts that occurred in the field of disaster resilience and risk reduction: first, the nature of disasters; second, the shift from disaster management to disaster risk management; third, the shift from monistic to holistic approach that combines DRR, Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and Sustainable Development (SD); fourth, from voluntary to obligatory risk reduction. Following the fourth paradigm shift, an upgraded Disaster Resilience Index (DRI) is proposed by Macedonia as an analytical tool that can help policymakers in disaster risk assessment and preparedness.


Keywords: Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR); Climate Change Adaptation (CCA); Disaster Risk Management; Sustainable Development (SD); Disaster Resilience Index (DRI); HFA; SFDRR; Macedonia;


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