Policy work

In the chaos and confusion of a disaster, the voices of those affected can get lost.  And even before disasters strike, as well as in their aftermath, people living in poverty are often excluded from the important decisions which could reduce their vulnerability and help them to recover from crises.

Governments are ultimately responsible for ensuring that their citizens can live in safety and dignity. We support poor people to get their voices heard, to have their say in the decisions that affect them and to hold their governments to account.  We work closely with communities themselves, as well as national, regional and international I/NGOs, networks, civil society movements and others to demand that the rights of people affected by disasters be fulfilled.

Our work is underpinned by a range of international legal frameworks and standards.  We lobby governments and bodies like the UN to ensure that these reflect the reality of poor people’s lives, and respond effectively to their needs. 

What are we doing? 

  • Striving to improve the effectiveness, accountability and timeliness of emergency response.  Working with civil society organisations, we aim to ensure that the voices of people affected by disasters and conflicts are represented in emergency response and longer term rebuilding efforts.  We also work to make sure that emergency response does not increase dependency and create a sense of disempowerment.  Find out more: NGOs and Humanitarian Reform project
  • Working to promote the safety and dignity of people – particularly women and girls - in conflicts and disasters.  Experience shows that communities can and do organise, develop and put in place their own protection strategies.  Our community-based protection approach acknowledges, strengthens and builds on these, rather than imposing solutions which could do more harm than good.  We also work specifically with women in conflict and post-conflict environments to make sure they can bring the perpetrators of violence and rights abuses to justice.  We support women affected by conflict to lobby their governments to protect women’s rights in conflict situations, in line with UN resolution 1325 (on women, peace and security) and UN resolution 1820 (on sexual violence in armed conflict).
  • Supporting communities we work with to mitigate, prepare for and respond to disasters, as well as helping people adapt to the impacts of climate change.  We also lobby international bodies and governments to demand that they invest in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation at local, national and international levels.  Our advocacy work focuses on supporting governments – and holding them to account – on implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action – a global blueprint for disaster risk reduction.
  • Developing our understanding of how our work, particularly in fragile and conflict situations, can be "conflict-sensitive".  This involves ensuring that the policies and practices of international bodies do not exacerbate existing conflicts or cause new ones, but instead strengthen the existing capacities of communities to build lasting peace. Find out more: Conflict Sensitivity Consortium