The Issue



Disaster Risk Reduction

© UNICEF/NYHQ2011-1591/Bell

A child’s right to protection from the risks of disasters

UNICEF’s work in disaster risk reduction (DRR) is guided by and contributes to the Hyogo Framework for Action – a global road map for reducing disaster risks – which was endorsed by 168 countries in January 2005 in Kobe, Japan. Our work in this area represents a shift from a reactive to a proactive approach, with disaster risks systematically identified, assessed and addressed as part of development. 

Our agenda for the coming years in this region has a particular focus on reaching the most vulnerable children, as we support the realization of children’s right to protection from the risks of disasters.

Building on DRR interventions implemented in 2013, we continue to guide and support multi-sector programmes in 11 countries and one territory in this region, consistent with UNICEF’s commitment to resilience in the 2014-2017 Strategic Plan.

UNICEF works on DRR at three levels: 

• The policy level to generate dialogue between ministries and relevant DRR policies and legislation;
• DRR capacity building; and
• Practical approaches at sub-national level that, in turn, can provide vital information for policy-makers on what works. 

These efforts also include actively monitoring and analyzing political and security developments, and developing and updating response plans accordingly.

DRR programmes focus primarily on the education sector through enhancing national policies and capacities to better integrate elements of risk reduction within national education curricula, teacher training and day-to-day management of schools. UNICEF is also closely collaborating with key government agencies, especially in the education and emergency sectors, to support critical policy, legislative and systemic improvements, which directly contribute to the national commitments.

To support the enhancement of national policies and activities, we are implementing capacity-building initiatives targeted to national government counterparts, especially within the emergency and education sectors. We aim to use our convening power to bring governments and social services together to foster region-wide sharing of knowledge on what works in disaster risk reduction. UNICEF is also expanding cooperation with key regional partners working in risk reduction, including UN-ISDR, UNDP, and IFRC.

Over the coming years, we are also conducting multi-country analyses, a global first for UNICEF. Our knowledge generation aims to reveal the capacity gaps and bottlenecks that are allowing the most marginalized children to slip through the cracks. We hope that knowledge sharing with governments and other partners in the region will then facilitate the development of transnational solutions, so that no child is left behind when faced with the risks of disasters.

The project Supporting disaster risk reduction amongst vulnerable communities and institutions in South Caucasus was carried out by the Government of Azerbaijan in partnership with UNICEF and funded by the European Commission’s DIPECHO. Children in several schools in Azerbaijan were taught preparedness skills for different kinds of emergencies through games, workshops and practical exercises. Their preparedness was tested when a 5.6-magnitude earthquake jolted the region in May 2012. While the school was severely damaged and had more than 200 people inside at the time of the earthquake, there were no deaths or injuries. This experience prompted the Ministry of Education in Azerbaijan to include more teaching hours devoted to disaster risk reduction in the national school curriculum.

As a result of a methodology developed by UNICEF, the Government of Kyrgyzstan was able to assess every school to see which ones needed to be refurbished, or even relocated, to protect children from the earthquakes and landslides that shake this mountainous country. This is a first for the region, with UNICEF, a range of Ministries and geological experts all involved in a partnership that spans new thinking and capacity-building on this issue, and the inclusion of disaster risk reduction in the curriculum, as well as the physical safety of school buildings.

UNICEF-DIPECHO Diaster Risk Reduction Programmes in CEE/CIS
Click here to read about disaster risk reduction programmes in the region.





A video produced by Beksultan Niyazbavaev (14) at a video workshop in Batken, Kyrgyzstan:

Let Us Start Our Lesson

See more videos from children in






Read more about the OneMinutesJr. 

Knowledge and Learning Resources for Children

EU interview

Listen to Anne Clear, Desk Officer for Central Asia comment on how EU-UNICEF partnership in disaster risk reduction has made an impact on children`s lives.


 Email this article

unite for children