Skip to main content

Über dieses Buch

The use of regional organizations to mitigate and respond to disasters has become a global trend. This book examines the role regional organizations play in managing disaster risk through a comparative study of ten regional organizations, demonstrating their current limitations and future potential.



1. The Role of Regional Organizations in Disaster Risk Management

On 6 November 2013, one of the strongest typhoons ever recorded struck the Philippine archipelago. The resulting damage was immense. Flying debris, flattened houses, damaged buildings and the loss of basic infrastructures caused copious deaths, displaced over 4 million people and affected roughly 14 million lives (UNOCHA, 2013). Blocked roads and a damaged airport only compounded the hardship felt by the survivors, many of whom were in need of basic necessities such as shelter, fresh water, food and medicine.

Simon Hollis

2. Regional Disaster Risk Management

Regional cooperation on DRM is now a global phenomenon. From the isolated islands in the South Pacific to landlocked countries in central Asia, regional DRM is in vogue. This is a fairly recent phenomenon that has only become evident in the last two to three decades. Before the 1970s, regional organizations did not prioritize, and in some cases did not even consider, DRM to be a policy space under its jurisdiction. Yet, from the mid-1970s, regional organizations such as the EU, ASEAN, LAS, OAU and the PIF either presented declarations of intent or acknowledged the importance of regional cooperation on natural disasters. While these declarations were rarely followed by any precise agreements or any substantial cooperation that exceeded information sharing, it did mark a period of nascent regional DRM cooperation.1 This period was followed by a significant and global increase in cooperation. From the late 1990s, regional organizations produced more sophisticated agreements on DRM. The EU created legal competencies in the area of civil protection in 1997, NATO created a Euro-Atlantic Disaster Coordination Centre in 1998, and SADC and ASEAN began working in earnest on frameworks for DRM cooperation that were established between 2001 and 2005, respectively. During this short period, from 2000–2006, at least 16 regional organizations began or updated cooperation in DRM.

Simon Hollis

3. The Rational Role of Regional DRM Cooperation

Natural disasters have become a heightened global security issue in the last decade. Not only have the number of major incidents increased over the last 30 years, but a majority of them have also occurred in developing countries (Perry, 2009: 61) that are highly vulnerable to disruptions to critical infrastructures. The adverse effects from global warming (Stern, 2006: 77–8; Field et al., 2012) combined with local, regional and global interdependencies means that when a natural disaster strikes it is more likely to produce escalating affects, such as the 2011 earthquake in Japan. General economic costs are also likely to increase. Global estimated damages caused by natural disasters rose from approximately USD 195 billion in the 1970s to USD 896.1 billion in the 2000s (EM-DAT, 2011b). Responding to this globalized ‘new normal’ (UNISDR, 2010a) reflects a new security agenda that has spread across the globe, infiltrating at least 26 regional organizations and a majority of states.

Simon Hollis

4. The Standardization of DRM

This chapter argues that states have largely adopted a standardized global model on how cooperation on regional DRM ought to be organized. It is posited that just like the state (Meyer et al., [1997] 2009), the environment (Hironaka, 2002) and education (Meyer and Ramirez, [2000] 2009), DRM is considered a global model that states emulate.1 As these global models are informed by world culture, which is ‘highly rationalized and universalistic’ (Meyer et al., [1997] 2009: 181), the individual, state, or regional organization also becomes a rational and responsible actor.2 When states organize themselves according to this global culture it is expected that high similarities in state activity will be apparent. The global standardization of regional DRM described in this chapter suggests that states are indeed motivated by a globalized DRM norm that provides an appropriate model for state activity on regional DRM. Global supply trumps local demand, which questions the extent to which the provision of protection is mere pretence rather than a rational concern. The role of regional organizations is thus understood here as more of a conduit for global norms rather than an independent actor motivated through local demand.

Simon Hollis

5. International Organizations and Norm Diffusion

This chapter describes how and why regional DRM cooperation has become highly standardized across the globe through the diffusion practices of international organizations and reflects on the consequences this has for the perceived role of regional organizations as disaster managers. If norms are ‘collective expectations about proper behaviour for a given identity’ (Jepperson, Wendt and Katzenstein, 1996: 54), then the diffusion of norms is when these collective forms of appropriate behaviour are ‘communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system’ (Rogers, 1983, cited in Strang and Meyer, [1993] 2009: 136–137). One of the most important entities that drive this process for regional DRM is the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). Acting under various titles this agency has organically evolved over the last half century into a leading global advocate that advances a particular form of DRM known as Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).1 Of course, the UNISDR does not stand alone but is mutually supported by a league of other international organizations that have increasingly targeted regional organizations as a medium to influence state-based DRM capacities and establish a common global model within regional organizations.

Simon Hollis

6. Norm Reproduction in the School of DRM

This chapter examines the interaction between international and regional organizations and how this creates particular roles that reproduce the global DRM model.1 When an individual or an organization acts out a global model, the set of norms embodied within that model is reproduced. This is essential for the existence of a norm that would cease to exist if it were not practiced by its recipients. Thus, following the logical thread in the previous two chapters — that established the existence of a global DRM model (Chapter 4) and described its diffusion (Chapter 5) — this chapter examines how this model, once diffused, is maintained through intersubjective exchange. This reproduction of the global model is achieved through a hierarchical relationship between the receiver and the teacher of DRM norms (see Finnemore, 1993).2 The ‘student’ of norms will practice and attempt to mimic the ‘teacher’, while the teacher will tell the student what type of acceptable behaviour is warranted in the area of DRM.

Simon Hollis

7. The Great Divide: Translating Expectations into Capabilities

What regional activities are actually taking place to increase the resilience of communities from natural hazards? Previous chapters have charted a journey through two explanations for why states have chosen to cooperate on regional DRM revealing the anticipated role of regional organizations in DRM. However, it is also necessary to go beyond expectations and analyse the operational aspects of regional activity on DRM. This provides insight into the functioning role of regional organizations and allows for a more accurate analysis on their current limitations and future possibilities. A similar quantitative scheme used to assess the anticipated role of regional organizations is applied to ten cases according to the extent to which they have development-specific regional capacities in encouraging local DRM awareness, instigating information sharing, providing operational support, developing standardized procedures and pooling DRM assets. This review reveals that a majority of regional organizations have struggled to implement regional DRM goals and consequently hold few substantial DRM-related capacities. A majority of regional organizations, for example, fail to successfully impact the community level or provide operational capacities to facilitate responses to disasters. It is also revealed that all cases, except for the EU, are heavily dependent on external donor or operational support which limits their roles as independent crisis managers.

Simon Hollis

8. A World of Regions

In an eye-witness account of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, Jack London poignantly noted: ‘[a]ll the shrewd contrivances and safeguards of men had been thrown out of gear by thirty seconds’ twitching of the earth-crust’ ([1906] 2003: 108). London’s observation reverberates a general truism that has increasingly come into sharp relief as today’s ‘shrewd contrivances’ augment transnational vulnerabilities in an interdependent environment. Regional DRM is a modern attempt to counter such disruptions of society. The last two decades have witnessed a substantial increase in regional activity on DRM, such as the formation of ASEAN’s agreement on disaster management and emergency response, the EU’s community mechanism on civil protection and the AU’s Africa regional strategy for disaster risk reduction. Over 30 regional organizations now cooperate on DRM with the aim of increasing the resilience of their member states and communities from natural hazards. But what role do these regional organizations play as disaster managers?

Simon Hollis


Weitere Informationen

Premium Partner

Stellmach & BröckersBBL | Bernsau BrockdorffMaturus Finance GmbHPlutahww hermann wienberg wilhelm

BranchenIndex Online

Die B2B-Firmensuche für Industrie und Wirtschaft: Kostenfrei in Firmenprofilen nach Lieferanten, Herstellern, Dienstleistern und Händlern recherchieren.



Künstliche Intelligenz und der Faktor Arbeit - Implikationen für Unternehmen und Wirtschaftspolitik

Künstliche Intelligenz und ihre Auswirkung auf den Faktor Arbeit ist zum Modethema in der wirtschaftswissenschaftlichen Politikberatung avanciert. Studien, die alarmistisch die baldige Verdrängung eines Großteils konventioneller Jobprofile beschwören, leiden jedoch unter fragwürdiger Datenqualität und Methodik. Die Unternehmensperspektive zeigt, dass der Wandel der Arbeitswelt durch künstliche Intelligenz weitaus langsamer und weniger disruptiv ablaufen wird. Jetzt gratis downloaden!