A key principle of inclusive disaster risk management (DRM) is community participation and citizen engagement for more sustainable and resilient outcomes. By employing a bottom-up approach, community-organized DRM activities better accommodate a community’s needs and vulnerabilities. Facilitating community participation throughout the DRM project cycle contributes to trust-building and collaboration with different stakeholders which ultimately leads to better development outcomes and more sustainable solutions. Citizen engagement empowers individuals, particularly those most excluded, to exercise agency and their voice to mobilize resources and skills to improve their disaster resilience.

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Community Participation and Citizen Engagement

Building on the World Bank’s commitment to mainstreaming citizen engagement in the Strategic Framework for Citizen Engagement (2014), GFDRR seeks to increase inclusive citizen engagement across the four levels indicated in the Framework: (1) informing, (2) consulting, (3) collaborating, and (4) empowering citizens. As highlighted in GFDRR’s Citizen Engagement Action Plan (2019–2023), meaningful citizen engagement requires a two-way interaction to close the feedback loop.

One way to advance inclusion is addressing the barriers and/or lack of access to risk information and knowledge. Disaster-related information is a public good to which all citizens should have the best possible access. From an inclusion angle, this requires targeted efforts to address a range of existing participation barriers among marginalized groups and the promotion of platforms and mechanisms for engagement that are formally inclusive and accessible. By engaging the community and facilitating citizens to be leaders for the production, dissemination, and review of risk information, an inclusive process can create opportunities for ownership in DRM activities. Communities are also essential partners for emergency preparedness, response and post-disaster recovery. In the event of a disaster - studies show that 90% of survivors are rescued by their own neighbors.

Additionally, GFDRR taps into grassroots expertise in disaster risk management and promotes scalable models that engage directly with communities, making them equal partners with governments. Bolstering social resilience within communities can result in meaningful, sustainable development.

For example, in the Philippines, GFDRR trained people in select villages on risk management and community mapping. This information was then shared with community members, who factored it into overall investment decisions in a broader community-driven development program. This core community strength in responding to—and protecting against—natural hazards and climate change is at the center of the Inclusive DRM and Gender Equality Initiative. 

For more information on our work on Inclusive DRM and Gender Equality, please click here.