G.82 - Territory and response to natural disasters and conditions of vulnerability

G.82 - Territory and response to natural disasters and conditions of vulnerability
Formulate and implement strategies and policies that respond fully to situations of vulnerability to natural disasters, with a multidimensional protection focus before, during and after such events.
Priority measure number


It is important to bear in mind, in the strategies, policies and programmes for responding to situations of vulnerability to natural disasters, that measures differentiated by gender and age of the exposed population must be implemented before, during and after the events, and access must be assured to inputs and services for sexual and reproductive health and the prevention of gender violence.

There are a number of reasons for considering gender and disasters together, one of which is that women are more vulnerable to disasters because of the role assigned to them by society, but disasters also often provide women with a unique opportunity to challenge and change their gender-assigned status in society. Women have shown themselves to be indispensible in disaster response; they play an active role in reconstruction efforts and are more effective at mobilizing the community. Hence the need for strategies and policies that comprehensively address situations of vulnerability to natural disasters from a gender perspective, considering at least the following: (i) disaggregation of data by sex and age order to study natural disasters from a gender perspective; (ii) involvement, training and employment of women at a local level in vulnerability diagnostics and assessment, and in prevention and risk mitigation projects; (iii) identification and assessment of specific needs by sex, in the areas of health, work, education, housing and violence prevention; (iv) measures to ensure that women benefit from economic recovery and income support programmes; and (vi) establishment of childcare programmes. Chapters D (on universal access to sexual and reproductive health services) and E (on gender equality) include priority measures on possible lines of action and targets that address these issues; as well, priority measure 24 in chapter C affords particular attention to older persons and disasters.

Related instruments, forums and mechanisms

UN-HABITAT: this priority measure relates directly to the issues addressed by this agency, and specifically to the objective of “preventing disasters and rebuilding settlements” and checklist 5 on disaster prevention and mitigation instruments, which gauges the level at which disaster prevention is ensured and mitigation instruments in place. This item includes an extensive indicator 10 (“houses in hazardous locations: proportion of housing units built on hazardous locations per 100,000 housing units”).

United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20): paragraph 186 of the outcome of the Conference, “The future we want”, reaffirms the commitment to reduce disaster risks.

Sustainable Development Goals, Goal 13 (“Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”) relates to this priority measure, more particularly through targets 13.1 (“Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate related hazards and natural disasters in all countries”) and 13.2 (“Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning”).

Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: this instruments was signed and approved in Japan in 2005 by 168 countries, which undertook to introduce into public policies the concepts of prevention and risk assessment, as well as ways of responding to disasters or the actions to be taken following a crisis. The Framework contains a series of principles which the entire international community should respect, in line with the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. The general objective is to build the resilience of countries and communities to disasters, in order to achieve, by 2015, a “substantial reduction in disaster losses, in lives and in the social, economic and environmental assets of communities and countries.” The Framework includes five priority areas for action, together with guiding principles and practical means for building the disaster resilience of vulnerable communities, in the context of sustainable development. The following three strategic objectives provide backing for achieving the outcome called for in the Hyogo Framework for Action: (i) The more effective integration of disaster risk considerations into sustainable development policies, planning and programming at all levels, with a special emphasis on disaster prevention, mitigation, preparedness and vulnerability reduction; (ii) The development and strengthening of institutions, mechanisms and capacities at all levels, in particular at the community level, that can systematically contribute to building resilience to hazards; and (iii) The systematic incorporation of risk reduction approaches into the design and implementation of emergency preparedness, response and recovery programmes in the reconstruction of affected communities. The Framework also proposes five priorities for action (reflecting the areas identified in the process of reviewing the Yokohama Strategy): (i) ensure that disaster risk reduction is a national and a local priority with a strong institutional basis for implementation; (ii) identify, assess and monitor disaster risks and enhance early warning; (iii) use knowledge, innovation and education to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels; (iv) reduce the underlying risk factor and (v) strengthen disaster preparedness for effective response at all levels.

G. Territory and internal migration