Disaster Risk Reduction and Environmental Degradation

Reducing disaster risk is critical to the success of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) supports Member States in integrating mobility in strategies that reduce risk and build resilience. In line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 (The Sendai Framework) and underpinned by broad multi-stakeholder engagement, these efforts harness dimensions of mobility in prevention and preparedness, respond to disaster displacement when it cannot be avoided, and promote resilience and durable solutions in recovery and reconstruction.

The Organization's approach to risk reduction is based on the premise that exposure, vulnerability, and capacity are profoundly influenced by people's mobility options and choices. While mobility is often a causal factor for risk, under the right circumstances, it is also an essential response and strategy that can contribute to resilience and support successful coping and adaptation. With the definition of disaster risk categorizing that such risk could occur within a system, society, or a community in a specific period, disaster risk reduction (DRR) seeks to prevent new and reduce existing disaster risk and manage residual risk to achieve sustainable development. As the global migration agency, IOM contributes to these efforts by strengthening State capacity to prevent displacement and manage mobility, in line with relevant provisions in the Sendai Framework. Through four specific objectives, the Organization advances mobility-based strategies in DRR and resilience, with a focus on migrants, displaced people, at-risk communities, and other vulnerable population categories.


Guided by the Organization's global migration governance policies and with a presence in 173 countries through a network of 436 offices, IOM's DRR programming draws on more than two decades of experience and expertise in addressing drivers of risk and managing mobility in complex crisis environments. As mobility can result in both new risks and strengthened resilience, IOM maintains a participatory community-engagement approach throughout its DRR, disaster response, and recovery interventions in creating conditions to maximize positive outcomes and reduce negative impacts for households, communities, and systems. These efforts contribute to disaster resilience and help communities to better cope and recover when displacement occurs.




To operationalize its commitments and guide the DRR and partnership activities of IOM's country offices, IOM elaborated a four-year plan of action in 2017. Launched on the occasion of the Global Platform in Cancun, Taking Sendai Forward: IOM Strategic Work Plan on Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience 2017– 2020 is helping to improve the Organization's ability to measure progress on DRR across specific activity areas – including through contributions to the United Nations system – while seeking to foster a more coherent, institution-wide approach based on IOM's mandate and comparative advantage. Specific activities include:

  • Community-based disaster risk management
  • DRR policy and strategy
  • Disaster preparedness and emergency response
  • Early warning systems
  • Infrastructure support
  • Multi-hazard risk assessments
  • Planned relocation
  • Resilient livelihoods development

To support the operationalization of DRR activities, IOM also maintains partnerships with local and national non-governmental organizations and civil society partners to incorporate local knowledge, capacities, and resources to promote better ownership and sustainability of DRR beyond IOM's engagement. At the global level, IOM supports initiatives by maintaining its close collaboration with United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), which serves as the focal point in the UN system for the coordination of DRR activities and is in accordance with the United Nations Plan of Action on Disaster Risk Reduction for Resilience (UN Plan of Action). Additionally, the Organization is an Executive Member of the Capacity for Disaster Reduction Initiative (The CADRI Initiative), which is the largest existing inter-agency mechanism supporting countries to integrate risk reduction in development and humanitarian response planning. Furthermore, IOM is a Standing Invitee the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD), which is a state-led initiative working towards better protection for people displaced across borders in the context of disasters and climate change.