Taking the importance of local action as a starting point, this analysis traces the treatment of participation of local and community actors through the three international frameworks for disaster risk reduction (DRR): the Yokohama Strategy and Plan of Action for a Safer World, the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005–2015, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 (SFDRR). The study finds a concerning shift away from valuing local community input and toward promoting technological advances. Community actors went from valued partners with their own expertise and relevant beliefs in Yokohama Strategy to “aid recipients” to whom tailored risk information must be transmitted (in SFDRR). This shift may reflect the top-down nature of negotiated international agreements or a broader shift toward investments in technological solutions. Whatever the cause, given widespread recognition of the importance of local knowledge and participation and growing recognition of the importance of intra-community differences in vulnerability, it suggests the need for reconsideration of both the discourse and the practice of involving community-level actors in DRR planning and implementation.