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Change and Progress in Disaster Risk Reduction
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government. Centre of Natural Hazards and Disaster Science (CNDS).ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4299-283x
2022 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Human-induced climate change is projected to increase the frequency and magnitude of natural hazard events, posing a growing global threat to lives, livelihoods, and assets. Much past research on disaster risk reduction (DRR) has focused on failures of disaster management, while less attention has been devoted to how DRR has changed or improved over time.

This dissertation advances our understanding by empirically investigating under what conditions countries can achieve progress in DRR, including measures and policies for managing and reducing the risks of disasters. In that way, it contributes to efforts of sustainable development and climate change adaptation.

Article I explores the variety of change and progress under the Hyogo Framework for Action, the international regime for DRR from 2005 to 2015. In addition, the article assesses the prospects of the effectiveness of international environmental regimes built on soft law arrangements consisting of voluntary obligations and non-binding provisions while refraining from sanctions. 

Article II statistically investigates drivers of progress in DRR for understanding why some countries exhibit positive change. 

Article III complements the large-scale quantitative analyses of the previous studies with an in-depth case study to unveil the development of DRR policy regimes in two vulnerable countries. The article focuses on Fiji and Nepal as two cases of progress to advance our understanding of how changes in DRR materialised over time.

The dissertation makes several contributions to disaster research, theories of institutional and policy change, and development studies. First, this dissertation represents one of a few mixed-methods approaches in DRR research, conducting a comprehensive analysis of progress in DRR. Second, the dissertation systematically documents changes in DRR efforts, which confirms a positive global trend, detects countries that deviate from this trend, and identifies cases of outstanding progress. Third, the three studies highlight the importance of continued participation in and compliance with international regimes, governance effectiveness and accountability mechanisms, continuous leadership and knowledge diffusion, as well as large-scale hazard events for the expansion of DRR. Fourth, the findings demonstrate how positive changes were achieved even under adverse circumstances in developing countries.

The findings underscore the need for future research on positive change in DRR, particularly on how accountability mechanisms and regime types may shape policies and policy-making. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2022. , p. 67
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, ISSN 1652-9030 ; 198
Keywords [en]
public policy, sustainable development, disaster risk reduction, adaptation, international environmental agreements, soft law, regime effectiveness, Hyogo Framework for Action, Fiji, Nepal
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-477561ISBN: 978-91-513-1540-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-477561DiVA, id: diva2:1675016
Public defence
2022-09-15, Brusewitzsalen, 3312, Östra Ågatan 19, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2022-08-23 Created: 2022-06-22 Last updated: 2022-10-06
List of papers
1. The effectiveness of soft law in international environmental regimes: Participation and compliance in the Hyogo Framework for Action
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The effectiveness of soft law in international environmental regimes: Participation and compliance in the Hyogo Framework for Action
2021 (English)In: International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, ISSN 1567-9764, E-ISSN 1573-1553, Vol. 21, p. 113-132Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A number of recent international environmental regimes including the Sustainable Devel-opment Goals, the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction rely on soft law featuring voluntary action, wide-ranging provi-sions for participants and non-binding commitments, while skirting the idea of sanctions. Because of the increasing prevalence of soft law regimes, their intuitional design attributes and characteristics give rise to new questions about regime effectiveness. Concepts such as compliance and participation that originate from the assessment of the effectiveness of hard law regimes need to be revisited and adapted to this new subset with its distinct char-acteristics. The aim of this study, then, is to empirically investigate the prospects of effec-tiveness in the specific case of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005–2015 on disaster risk reduction (DRR) as an illustrative case study of soft law regimes. The study, thereby, examines participation and compliance as key factors of regime effectiveness by analys-ing data and descriptive statistics based on national reports and their indicators on DRR measures. The study not only aims to advance the understanding of concepts central to the assessment of regime effectiveness in the context of soft law regimes. It also investigates DRR for the first time on a global scale from a regime effectiveness perspective document-ing variation on the country level and serving as a guide to interesting cases and compara-tive research for future study.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer NatureSpringer Nature, 2021
Keywords
regime effectiveness, international environmental agreements, soft law, disaster risk reduction, disaster governance, institutional design
National Category
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-417791 (URN)10.1007/s10784-020-09490-8 (DOI)000546387400001 ()
Available from: 2020-08-25 Created: 2020-08-25 Last updated: 2024-01-15Bibliographically approved
2. Drivers of change in national disaster governance under the Hyogo Framework for Action
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Drivers of change in national disaster governance under the Hyogo Framework for Action
2020 (English)In: Politics and Governance, E-ISSN 2183-2463, Vol. 8, no 4, p. 256-269Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Many suggestions have been made on what motivates countries to expand their measures for disaster risk reduction (DRR), including the frequency and severity of natural hazards, accountability mechanisms, and governance capacity. Despite the fact that theoretical arguments have been developed and evidence collected from small-scale case studies, few studies have attempted to explain the substantial variation in the adoption of DRR measures across countries. This study combines available data on DRR measures, natural hazard events, governance, and socioeconomic characteristics to provide a systematic assessment of the changes that have occurred in the state of DRR at the national level. In line with theoretical explanations, there are indeed associations between several measures of frequency and severity and the development of DRR status. Additionally, voice and accountability mechanisms, as well as development aid, might facilitate positive change. Although these first results of a global comparative study on change in DRR have to be taken cautiously, it is a step forward to understanding the drivers of change at the national level.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cogitatio, 2020
Keywords
accountability mechanisms, climate change adaptation, disaster governance, disaster risk reduction, Hyogo Framework for Action, policy change, punctuated equilibrium
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Environmental Sciences Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-427720 (URN)10.17645/pag.v8i4.3062 (DOI)000605672100005 ()
Available from: 2020-12-10 Created: 2020-12-10 Last updated: 2022-09-28Bibliographically approved
3. Change in policy regimes for disaster risk reduction in Fiji and Nepal
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Change in policy regimes for disaster risk reduction in Fiji and Nepal
2022 (English)In: International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, E-ISSN 2212-4209, Vol. 77, article id 103030Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Much of the disaster risk reduction (DRR) scholarship has focused on failures while neglecting positive developments, particularly in developing countries. In part, this bias reflects the adaptation deficit argument, which suggests we should expect the most vulnerable (i.e., developing) countries to struggle with adaptation due to their socio-political characteristics and heavy exposure to natural hazards. Investigating Fiji and Nepal, this study serves as a plausibility probe, examining how unexpected change in national DRR policy regimes was enabled under such adverse circumstances and exploring the appropriateness of theoretical assumptions suggesting aspects that warrant more testing in future. Following an exploratory approach, this qualitative study uses documentary evidence and secondary literature to illuminate how factors such as leadership, diffusion, and ‘focusing events’ enabled change. The study finds that in both cases, large-scale disasters accelerated change; however, Fiji was able to build upon continuity in its political leadership, whereas change in Nepal was contingent on international pressure. The findings bolster the case for the theory of ‘focusing events’, i.e., hazards serving as external shocks opening windows of opportunity, in developing countries. Furthermore, they confirm the importance of continuous commitment and diffusion processes in helping to overcome barriers to adaptation. Thereby, this study refines theoretical assumptions and illustrates the value of studying and learning from success and progress, particularly in the context of developing countries. Finally, the findings of this study underline the need, when analysing the processes of change, to take a closer look at the socio-political contexts – including regime types.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2022
Keywords
adaptation, disaster risk reduction, Fiji, Nepal, policy regime change, punctuated equilibrium
National Category
Public Administration Studies Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies) Globalisation Studies
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-474890 (URN)10.1016/j.ijdrr.2022.103030 (DOI)000806300700004 ()
Available from: 2022-05-24 Created: 2022-05-24 Last updated: 2022-06-29Bibliographically approved

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