The Challenges of Engagement: DRR and Civil Society

Humanitarian actors have increasingly recognized that successful disaster risk reduction (DRR) projects must be conceived as long-term, holistic initiatives geared toward enhancing the ways that states and societies approach resilience. Additionally, the humanitarian sector has learned that the success of long-term projects hinges on the participation of an actively engaged local community. In fact, this notion — that humanitarian action should be centered on the active participation of beneficiaries— underpins the professional standards of the humanitarian sector. However, in actuality, international actors often treat civil society as an obstacle, and local actors tend to serve merely as minor players in DRR projects. Additionally, governments are not always keen to see the growth of a strong civil society, particularly if this development might generate organized criticism of those who hold governmental power.

February, 2013