The Centre for Disaster Protection: Moving from Reaction to Readiness

In 2017, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom announced the creation of the Centre for Disaster Protection. This was in response to global recognition that climate change, population growth, urbanization and conflict are making disasters1 more frequent, more deadly and more expensive. The protracted and overlapping nature of contemporary crises means that finding better ways to plan and respond must remain high on the global agenda. The centre has been established to help with these problems by supporting governments and front-line humanitarian actors to shift from a responsive stance to an anticipatory one.

The centre’s areas of activity

As part of its new five-year strategy for 2019 to 2024, the centre has four key goals: ˰

  • Quality assurance: The centre will develop and deliver a quality-assurance methodology, process and function that can be used by all actors, to enhance the quantity and quality of risk-finance products and services.
  • Technical assistance and capacity building: The centre provides technical assistance to create knowledge, transfer skills and build capacity, in order to assist countries and multilaterals in making better decisions on risk ownership and management.
  • Evidence, experimentation and learning: The centre will contribute to building the evidence base on risk financing. Research outputs are a global public good and will be publicly and widely disseminated.
  • Advocacy and influencing: The centre seeks to act as a ‘positive disruptor’, catalysing change, sparking innovation and challenging the status quo, to find positive alternatives so as to ensure that risks are better managed and needs are better met.

Progress in 2019

The centre has made significant progress across its workstreams.

Key achievements to date include:

  • IDA19 papers: The centre has published discussion papers and policy briefs by world experts, which provide new insights into how IDA 19 can further strengthen its contribution to crisis prevention, preparedness and response.
  •  Innovative financing for refugee crises: The centre joined forces with the International Rescue Committee’s Airbel centre and convened two multi-stakeholder Innovation Labs to discuss ideas and options for financing responses to the global refugee crisis. A report was subsequently published on the lab’s findings.
  •  Capacity building and technical assistance: The centre has been working closely with its country partners to provide technical assistance and capacity building. As part of this, the centre delivered training sessions on the fundamentals of disaster risk financing in Pakistan and Côte d’Ivoire.
  •  Quality assurance: The centre has initiated its quality assurance function and provided independent and objective quality assurance services.

Next steps for 2020

The centre’s work during 2020 will include the following activities: ˰

  • Development of a flagship report on crisis financing: A report on crisis risk financing is currently being developed, discussing whether the financial instruments currently available to developing countries are appropriate to address needs. Moreover, a campaign on crisis financing will be launched. ˰
  • Development of the quality assurance system: During the coming year, the centre will develop and launch its quality assurance system and start delivering quality assurance. The quality assurance methodology will be launched during an event on Disaster Risk Financing Quality in March 2020. ˰
  • Support to countries: The centre will continue its activities and further expand its ongoing support to low and middle-income country governments, as well as development partners and regional institutions. ˰
  • Seminar series: The centre is launching its seminar series in partnership with the World Bank Disaster Protection Program and the Institutional Development Fund (IDF), bringing together diverse practitioners and researchers to stimulate exchange around various aspects of crisis and disaster risk financing


Contribution by Mareile Drechsler (Centre For Disaster Protection)


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