Policy Brief Emphasizes the Role of Education in Disaster Risk Reduction

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  • 2016•07•20

    A new UNU-IAS Policy Brief examines the role education can play in preventing and preparing for disasters. Unmaking Disasters: Education as a Tool for Disaster Response and Disaster Risk Reduction by Philip Vaughter (Research Fellow, UNU-IAS) emphasizes the importance of shifting disaster risk reduction approaches from a reactive to a preventative one, and makes specific recommendations to align education policies, which address disaster risk prevention and preparedness, with the global sustainable development agenda.


    Education on disasters has tended to focus on disaster response and recovery, as opposed to proactive actions to reduce disaster risk and increase preparedness. Furthermore, disaster risk is framed as an external event or threat rather than being integrated into development patterns. In order to build disaster resilience in societies around the world, education will need to reframe how disaster risk can be understood and reduced — not only reducing existing risks, but also preventing the creation of new risks.

    This policy brief recommends that:

    • Educational materials on disaster risk should be tailored to fit the region in which they are being taught.
    • Traditional knowledge from indigenous communities should be included in educational materials on disaster.
    • Educational outreach on disasters should engage with migrants and visitors.
    • Women and girls must be fully included in educational outreach focusing on disasters.

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    This policy brief is an output of the UNU-IAS Education for Sustainable Development – RCEs and ProSPER.Net project, which focuses on contributing to international sustainable development and ESD processes through developing multi-stakeholder networks and higher education alliances, enhancing leadership and capacity development, and advancing knowledge through policy-relevant research.