This paper outlines the main challenges communities were faced with when Covid-19 spread globally - as identified by GNDR members. It presents evidence of the work that local civil society organisations (CSOs) are doing in response to the virus. This experience of local actors is the basis for a series of recommendations for governments to build back better and prevent hazards like this becoming disasters in future.
What we can learn from the impact of Covid-19
The pandemic shows that there has been a lack of commitment by governments towards understanding and addressing risk. Implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction is lagging behind.
Disaster risk is not integrated across sectors. A clear example of this is the cascading effects of Covid-19 on the economic sector, on food security and employment.
The impacts of Covid-19, as for all disasters, are felt disproportionately by the poor and people most at risk.
Local realities do not inform DRR policies, which makes them ineffective. Understanding risk from a local perspective is essential to plan for an effective response and to lessen the impact of cascading disasters.
Life under Covid-19 is becoming a new normal: building resilience and taking a risk-informed approach to development is more pressing, but also more difficult. Some countries are already experiencing the challenges of preparing and responding to multiple disasters in the context of Covid-19.
Recommendations for policy-makers
Put resilience at the top of the political agenda: governments should strengthen their understanding of all aspects of risk, and develop a comprehensive multi-hazard policy.
Collaboration and coordination are required: this means meaningful engagement with civil society organisations, private companies and research institutions, in policy-making processes and coordination structures.
A stronger emphasis on local actors should be placed in all risk-informed development policies. We are increasingly reliant on local actors hence they should have increased representation in decision-making forums.
Build coherence into governance structures and risk assessments, by integrating risk into all sectors and all levels of society.