Developing Disaster Risk Management Capacities

Project Summary

  Extensive consultations to discuss a holistic approach to disaster risk reduction © UNDP Iraq/2011

Iraq faces multiple threats from natural and human induced disasters. The most important among them are earthquakes, floods and droughts, while some others include storms, desertification, epidemics, fires and environmental pollution. Modern Iraq has inherited weak policies and institutions to deal with disaster risks.

In 2007, the Government of Iraq established a National Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Committee, chaired by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) with membership from ten ministries and departments. The committee has drafted a new disaster risk management policy and proposed the establishment of a National Disaster Risk Management Center (NDRMC).

The government however, needs help in implementing the policy and in setting-up the centre, for which the committee has requested assistance from the UN Development Programme (UNDP). A number of disaster affected governorates have also requested additional support. In response to these requests, UNDP has designed this project with a view to develop Iraqi capacities for disaster risk management. 

It will enable the different levels of Iraqi government and communities to reduce losses and damages from natural and human-induced disasters by adopting effective mitigation and preparedness approaches, using the priorities of the Hyogo Framework of Action (HFA) as the basis for its interventions.

What we have achieved so far


The DRR project has remained largely unfunded, and this has caused significant challenges to stepping into implementation. The project organized a series of meetings with government line agencies, United Nations agencies, funds and programmes and stakeholders at large to develop an appropriate disaster risk reduction model in Iraq that promotes:  

  • A holistic and government wide proactive approach to disaster risk reduction (DRR) as opposed to a single agency-led reactive response to disaster emergency
  • The concept of promoting a coherent framework that deals with disaster and climate risks at various levels and tiers
  • A dedicated institution, the National Disaster Risk Management Center (NDRMC), with authority and capacity to coordinate and drive the DRR process in Iraq

While resource mobilization has been a major thrust, the project has revisited each activity and worked out a new implementation strategy within the context of constrained resources. 

The project helped develop a consensus among key stakeholders on the institutional aspects of establishing a national centre disaster risk management centre, as well as on building institutional capacity in disaster information management. The project also prepared a comprehensive training plan for targeted professionals and practitioners. 

A disaster information management unit was designed and established temporarily at the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), which would be gradually transformed over a period of 3 to 5 years to a full-fledged Emergency Operational Centre under the management control of the future National Disaster Risk Management Center (NDRMC).

Lessons learnt from a number of catastrophic incidents in 2014 emphasized the need for developing a disaster web portal for the country and the project engaged with the Ministry of Science and Technology to provide technical support on building such online tool.

The project has also created significant inroads for DRR advocacy among the new parliamentarians whose role is critical for the enactment of the draft DRR law in Iraq.  A briefing note has been prepared in English and Arabic for the new parliamentary committee.

Funding information

Partner Agency Amount in US$
(Budgeted) (6,519,000)

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