Engineers’ voice crucial to Disaster Risk Reduction efforts, says new report

Image: Terry Kelly/

Immediate release – Thursday 2 March 2023

Engineers’ voice crucial to Disaster Risk Reduction efforts, says new report

Multi-disciplinary, cross-sector collaboration, particularly with engineering experts, would allow better assessments when developing risk reduction frameworks and channel resources more effectively, according to a new report.

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030: Reflections and insights from the Global Engineering Community offers an engineering perspective on how to better prevent and plan for disasters. It is published by the International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure (ICSI), with support from the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).

The United Nations’ Sendai Framework is a comprehensive plan that sets out what is needed to help reduce the risk of disaster and build resilience. It provides UN Member States with concrete actions to protect development gains from the risk of disaster.

The ICSI and ICE report offers input to be considered as part of the Framework’s mid-term review. It is an opportunity to reflect on the current risk governance and risk management mechanisms, in order to identify what changes are needed throughout 2023-2030 to implement the Sendai Framework, and achieve its goals.

Savina Carluccio, Executive Director of ICSI, said:

“Engineers play a crucial role in developing and managing the built environment, as key implementers of disaster risk reduction and resilience-building activities.

“Our report puts forward practical and focused recommendations from practitioners on the ground, with the aim of enabling more informed decision-making on the implementation of the Sendai Framework. It is a unique opportunity to amplify the voice of the engineering community and ensure that it is heard by decision makers at high-level forums.”

The paper’s findings are based on a global consultation, comprising a multi-lingual survey and a series of 1-to-1 interviews, with experts in disaster risk reduction (DRR) and resilience, conducted by ICSI and ICE.

The feedback highlighted a need to elevate DRR and resilience in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals and other global agendas. This would allow better connection between these frameworks and other systemic drivers and priorities. Ensuring a common standard when referring to concepts, such as resilience, was also deemed an important step.

David Smith, Chair of ICE’s Sustainable Resilient Infrastructure Community Advisory Board, said:

“Engineers are uniquely skilled, with a background that enables them to have a huge impact on the creation of sustainable and resilient infrastructure.

“Our investigations show the engineering community needs to be involved earlier on in discussions relating to both policy and project development. This will allow us to continue tackling the big issues facing society, and pioneer new solutions to the challenges we face.”

Abhilash Panda, Head of Financing Resilience, De-risking investment & Infrastructure Resilience at the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, said:

“[According to the report,] six critical deficiencies in risk governance and management still persist: lack of standards, lack of enforcement of DRR, speed of governance implementation, mismatched incentives, government accountability, and coordination across levels of government and with other sectors.”

The review emphasises the need to seek input from a diverse range of technical experts. It also highlights the importance of building local capacity and ensuring an inclusive, participatory approach to DRR that empowers local practitioners – who are often responsible for project implementation, operations, and maintenance.

It also recommends the development and implementation of systemic risk and resilience frameworks, including laws, policies, rulings, codes, plans, or other written mechanisms that encourage or enforce the uptake of DRR and resilience measures by governments and other decisionmakers. The development of these frameworks should be standardised to improve collaboration and reduce confusion, the report concludes.


Download The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030: Reflections and insights from the Global Engineering Community

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International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure (ICSI)
ICSI is the global movement for engineering action on infrastructure sustainability and resilience. It places the engineering community at the forefront of climate action, harnessing their deep technical expertise and ability to provide solutions and matching it with urgent demand. Through thought leadership, advocacy and cross-sector collaboration, ICSI mobilizes an engineering-led coalition of critical players to act on climate change under a collective vision for sustainable and resilient infrastructure that can transform communities across the globe.

Institution of Civil Engineers
Founded in 1818, the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) is a UK-based international organisation with more than 95,000 members, ranging from students to professionally qualified civil engineers. As an educational and qualifying body, with charitable status under UK law, we support our members throughout their careers, and help society to have trust and confidence in infrastructure professionals. Under our Royal Charter, ICE has become recognised worldwide for its excellence as a centre of learning, a public voice for the profession and a leading source of expertise in infrastructure and engineering policy. 

Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction
Adopted in 2015, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction is the world’s first comprehensive agreement aimed at preventing disasters, reducing the number of deaths, injuries, and impact on people’s livelihoods, economic, and social development, and increasing the resilience of communities and countries.
Read more about the Sendai Framework