Global demographic trends suggest that more people are living in areas vulnerable to sudden-onset natural disasters even as scientists predict that the frequency and intensity of these disasters are likely to increase as a result of the effects of climate change. These trends, coupled with recent high-profile mega-disasters like Hurricane Sandy and the drought in the Sahel, are raising global awareness of the need to build the capacity of national governments, civil society organizations and international actors to prevent, respond to and recover from natural disasters. The Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement’s third annual Review of Natural Disasters outlines these major disasters in 2012 and key response opportunities, in particular the role of regional organizations. Although regional mechanisms are playing increasingly important roles in disasters, there has been remarkably little research on their role in disaster risk management.
On April 22, the Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement hosted the launch of its new report, “In the Neighborhood: The Growing Role of Regional Organizations in Disaster Risk Management” and its Annual Review of Natural Disasters for 2012 “The Year of Recurring Disasters.” Senior Fellow Elizabeth Ferris, co-director of the Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement introduced the Annual Review of 2012 and moderated a discussion about the role of regional organizations in disaster risk management. She was joined by Rosa Malango from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Ian O’Donnell from the Global Disaster Preparedness Center of the American Red Cross, and Cletus Springer, director of the department of sustainable development at the Organization for American States.