Current Measures to Address the Social Vulnerability of Children in Disaster Risk Reduction - Exploring the European Union’s Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy.

Genevieve Taylor


To reflect the increased global recognition of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), the European Union has generated a common DRR strategy under the European Community Humanitarian Office, ECHO, or more specifically its Disaster Preparedness mechanism, DIPECHO. As the EU classes DRR as humanitarian assistance, its DRR policy tend to surround a needs-based approach to disaster risk management, focussing on addressing immediate risks to natural disasters, where slow onset risks are often labelled as a causal factor, and thus a development issue. Such classifications can generate a grey area in managing initial and slow onset risks, where particularly susceptible groups can face increased vulnerability.

Children represent one vulnerable societal group where social risks may go unacknowledged in DRR strategies. Often the risks identified in DRR policies focus on technical or infrastructural risks associated with disasters, and social risks tend to be disregarded. DRR policies tends to discount social vulnerability, as social risks are considered too difficult to quantify. While recognition of vulnerabilities surrounding disasters is essential to policy formation, this must be coupled with acknowledgement of the resilience of social groups, including children. While there has been a positive shift in the EU’s recognition of children in several of its foreign policy initiatives, this paper assesses whether this recognition is fully reflected in its current DRR policy or programming.


European Union; Disaster Risk Reduction; Social Vulnerability; Child Rights; Human Rights

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