Call for submissions: The right to development and disaster risk reduction

Mr. Saad Alfarargi was elected as Special Rapporteur on the right to development during the 34th session of the Human Rights Council. He presented his first vision setting report to the Human Rights Council on 14 September 2017 (A/HRC/36/49)

In one of the guiding principles for the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (para. 19 (c) of the Framework), it is stated that managing the risk of disasters is aimed at protecting persons and their property, health, livelihoods and productive assets, as well as cultural and environmental assets, while promoting and protecting all human rights, including the right to development.

People across the world are increasingly exposed to natural and other disasters, the effects of which destroy development efforts and reduce entire regions to poverty. Underlying drivers vary, including factors such as inequality, climate change, rapid urbanization, demographic change and governance shortfalls.1 Poverty and vulnerability to disasters are closely linked: low-income countries, and, in particular, the poor and disadvantaged groups within them, are typically more vulnerable to and disproportionately affected by disasters.  In relation to the size of their economies, small island developing States have borne a disproportionate impact.2 In addition, disastrous situations—including those related to climate change—exacerbate gender inequalities.3 The implementation of the right to development is, therefore, closely interlinked with disaster risk reduction. Hazards cannot be fully avoided; however, disasters to a large extent can be averted by reducing the exposure of communities to the hazard, increasing their capacities to withstand it and/or reducing their vulnerability.

The Special Rapporteur seeks to collect existing good practices on the implementation of the right to development in the context of the 2015 internationally agreed policy documents, including the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. He also seeks to gather information about challenges countries and other actors face in effectively addressing growing disaster risk. A study of these issues will inform the 2019 report of the Special Rapporteur to the General Assembly.

Accordingly, the Special Rapporteur wishes to gather information regarding measures taken by States, since the adoption of the 2015 policy framework, to ensure a participatory approach to the planning of disaster risk reduction measures and policies. In order to inform his work on the topic, the Special Rapporteur wishes to secure from different stakeholders, including States, National Human Rights Institutions, non-governmental organizations, as well as members of academia, input and views on the following topics:

Measures taken or policies introduced since 2015, aiming at:

  • Identifying populations most at risk of disasters, including those driven by, among other factors, conflict, climate change, population growth and governance;
  • Inclusion of such populations in planning of disaster risk reduction measures;
  • Preventing and mitigating disaster risk;
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of disaster risk reduction policies and measures;
  • Ensuring information about disaster risk reduction to all segments of the population, including, but not limited to groups who may not speak the official languages of the country, persons with disabilities, groups living in remote rural areas.

N.B. You are kindly requested to provide your submissions in English, French, Spanish or Russian. All submissions should be sent by 21 April 2019 to srdevelopment@ohchr.org.

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1/ Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, para. 6

2/ E/2017/66, para. 5; A/HRC/36/49, para. 15

3/ CEDAW/C/GC/37, para. 2.


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Special Rapporteur on the right to development
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