How Effective Are Regional Organizations in Disaster Risk Reduction and Management?

Regional organizations are playing an increasingly important role in disaster risk reduction and management, but how effective are they? Leading up to our event on April 22 (Earth Day), I’ll continue to share with you some additional interesting findings from

my annual disasters review with Daniel Petz and Chareen Stark


icontwitter Join the conversation on Twitter using #Disasters2012


While regional organizations are playing an increasingly important role in disasters, there has been remarkably little research on their role in disaster risk management.  In an effort to address this gap, Daniel Petz and I examined thirteen regional organizations in a study supported by the Australian Civil-Military Centre, to see how they stack up against one another according to 17 indicators of effectiveness. 

Here are our results (a glossary of acronyms appears at the end of this blog post):


As you can see above, the landscape of regional organizations is complex and diverse.

In most regions, governments and other actors see value in working together to prevent disasters and—to a lesser extent—to respond to disasters occurring in their respective regions. At the same time, regional organizations have worked out different mechanisms for encouraging collaboration, including frameworks for disaster risk reduction, regional military protocols, joint training exercises and regional insurance schemes. Also, technical cooperation mechanisms—such as early warning systems—have been established, but few regional bodies provide ways of channeling financial assistance after a disaster.

*Here are the acronyms for key terms we used above:

DRM = disaster risk management
DRR = disaster risk reduction
DM = disaster management

CCA = climate change adaptation
IDRL = international disaster response laws, rules and principles

and for the regional organizations we studied:

ASEAN = Association of Southeast Asian Nations
AU = African Union
CAN = Andean Community of Nations
CARICOM = Caribbean Community
CoE = Council of Europe
ECOWAS = Economic Community of West African States
EU = European Union
LAS = League of Arab States
OAS = Organization of American States
SAARC = South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
SADC = Southern African Development Community
SICA = Central American Integration System
SPC = Secretariat of the Pacific Community