Themes in disaster risk reduction

DRR-related themes and issues are wide and cross-cutting.

Most DRR topics cover more than one theme or issue, and some themes have a high degree of correlation with others. In each section, you can learn more about common DRR themes and see the latest developments.

Natural environment

  • Climate change
    Adaptation benefits, costs, measures, capacity; climate resilience, climate-proofing, climate risk management, climate change as a disaster risk driver.
  • Environment and ecosystems
    Deforestation, ecosystems and environmental management, environmental degradation, environmental impact assessment, INRM and land-use.
  • Food security and agriculture
    Agricultural micro loans and finance, agricultural risk management, climate smart agriculture, crop distribution, diversified cropping system, food storage capacity, rural land-use planning.
  • Water
    Sustainable water resource management, including: drinking water, freshwater, irrigation, preventive protection of drinking water supplies, sanitation, transboundary water management.

Human development and inclusion

  • Capacity development
    Capability utilization, capacity assessment, capacity development response, individual, community and institutional learning, development planning, training and development, institutional strengthening and development, functional capacities, technical capacities.
  • Children and youth
    Child-centred disaster risk reduction, child protection, orphans, information and participation of children and youth, impact of disasters on children and youth.
  • Civil society/NGOs
    Civic action, collective community action, community-based organization (CBO) action, grassroots action, integrative DRR, NGOs and PVOs.
  • Community-based DRR
    Community vulnerability assessment, community disaster response preparedness, community risk mitigation, local capacity assessment, local risk mapping.
  • Cultural heritage
    Heritage conservation, traditional methods, knowledge, know-how, housing; ancient communities coping practices and systems, community resilience mechanisms.
  • Gender
    Gender mainstreaming, gendered vulnerability, gender-sensitive disaster risk management.
  • Human mobility
    Participation and protection of migrants, refugees, internally displaced people; migration induced by disasters, climate migration, planned relocation.
  • Inclusion
    Participation, inclusiveness, empowerment, at-risk populations, including: children, orphans, women, disabled, elderly, homeless, LGBTs, migrants, etc.
  • Social impacts and resilience
    Coping capacity, cultural impacts, loss absorption, loss acceptance, loss of livelihood, psychological impacts, psychological support, social vulnerability.

Science knowledge and advocacy

  • Advocacy and media
    Advocacy and public awareness raising, disaster risk reporting, public information on disaster risk reduction, risk communication, social media.
  • Traditional and Indigenous knowledges
    Indigenous early warning system, local implementation, knowledge, skills, technical knowledge; traditional knowledge, transferable indigenous knowledge.
  • Science and technology
    Science-informed initiatives, technology and innovation output, informing policy-making and practice, co-designing, co-producing and co-delivering new knowledge.

State governance and economy

  • Economics of DRR
    Disaster damage and loss assessment, funding, financial effects, poverty, socio-economic impacts, cost-benefit analysis, forecast-based financing.
  • Fragility and conflict
    Humanitarian crisis, conflict, post-conflict, peacebuilding, violence.
  • Governance
    Accountability, empowerment, coordination, policy and legislative framework; regional, national, and local platforms; cross-border collaboration.
  • Insurance and risk transfer
    Disaster insurance, re-insurance, catastrophe bonds, contingency funding and credit, micro-insurance, loans, reserve funds, risk financing, risk insurance.
  • Private sector
    Business partnerships for DRR, civil action and public-private partnership, corporate social responsibility, government and private sector partnership.

Infrastructure and critical services

  • Critical infrastructure
    Communications systems and networks, health facilities, emergency evacuation shelters, elements of transportation systems, waste disposal, water supplies.
  • Education and school safety
    Disaster prevention education and curricula, education continuity, safe schools, school disaster management.
  • Health & health facilities
    Capacity of health practitioners, health facilities and services, preparedness, gender, mental health, psychosocial support, safe hospitals, trauma prevention.
  • Structural safety
    Building codes, building standards, building materials, construction, retrofitting.
  • Urban risk and planning
    Resilient cities, urban planning, urban management.

Understanding and managing risk

  • Disaster risk management
    Mitigation, preparedness, prevention, risk reduction plan, policies and strategies; preparedness and contingency planning, prospective disaster risk management.
  • Early warning
    Alert and warning dissemination; end-to-end warning system; monitoring, analysis and forecasting; people-centred early warning system, policies and strategies.
  • GIS and mapping
    Geographic information systems, hazard exposure mapping, vulnerability mapping, risk mapping.
  • Information management & technology
    Data and information exchange standards, databases and information management, portals, knowledge management, networks and communities of practice, ICT.
  • Risk identification and assessment
    Hazard assessment, risk assessment; risk modelling; risk analysis process; vulnerability assessment.
  • Small Island Developing States
    Small island and developing states (SIDS), Small Islands, coastal resilience.
  • Space & aerial technology
    Satellite imagery, earth observation, remote sensing, geospatial technology, UAV, drones, optical and radar imagery, meteorological satellites.
  • Systemic risk
    Cascading effects, compound risks, disruption of systems, interconnections, risk governance, feedback loops, interdependencies, tipping points.


Build back better, humanitarian planning for long-term risk reduction, early recovery, shelter, reconstruction, psycho-social issues for rehabilitation.

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Topic guides

Are you interested in a trending topic in disaster risk reduction? Do you want remain up to date on a particular subject?

The PreventionWeb topic guides bring together a selection of reference material on various disaster risk reduction topics and emerging trends.

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