Disaster Management comes under the umbrella of governance. The underlying principle in all relevant development sectors is the existence of public awareness, political will and sufficient capacity.
First of all we have to understand What is Governance?
As defined by UNDP; Governance, is the exercise of political, economic and administrative authority in the management of a country’s affairs at all levels. It comprises mechanisms, processes and institutions through which citizens and groups articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations and mediate their differences. Governance encompasses, but also transcends, government. It encompasses all relevant groups, including the private sector and civil society organizations.
As it is rightly said :-
“There is now international acknowledgement that efforts to reduce disaster risks must be systematically integrated into policies, plans and programmes for sustainable development and poverty reduction… Sustainable development, poverty reduction, good governance and disaster risk reduction are mutually supportive objectives and in order to meet the challenges ahead, accelerated efforts must be made.”
– Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015.
We have to understand that disasters are not the result of natural hazards, rather it is how the population of a place that has a direct bearing on levels of disaster is affected?
How the society copes with the hazard depends on the how supportive the government is (A direct example of this can be seen in the Chennai Natural Hazard which transformed into a disaster). The Governance influences the way in which national and other parties (e.g. government, media, the private sector, and civil society organizations) are willing and able to coordinate their actions to manage and reduce disaster-related risk.
The key to efficient disaster management is the initial public awareness to recognize and address risk, supplemented with the political will to set policy and allocate appropriate resources. Equally critical is the need for sufficient managerial and coordination capacity to manage and integrate the efforts of relevant sectors and account for vulnerable and poor communities. Such capacity is dependent on the human, social, physical, economic and environmental capital of a society.
The principles of good governance include broad participation, transparency, accountability, efficiency and responsiveness. All are as important for Disaster Risk Management as they are for development at large. Systematic integration of Disaster Risk Reduction into the development spheres should be the concern of the government and an integral part of good governance. Hence building resilient population in disaster-prone areas requires that:
- Proper research and development is done in identifying the underlying risk factors in all relevant sectors; and
- Disaster risk reduction standards and measures are an integral part of the planning and delivery of core development services , including education, environment, and health.