European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction

Roadmap for the Implementation of the Sendai Framework


The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, adopted at the 3rd UN World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction in March 2015 in Sendai, Japan and endorsed by the UN General Assembly in June 2015, has provided disaster risk management actors with a series of new guidelines. It highlights the role and relevance of regional platforms for disaster risk reduction, and of regional support for national and local efforts. To guide Europe’s implementation of the four priorities of action and seven global targets of the Sendai Framework, the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction agreed to develop a roadmap that will focus on activities for the period 2015-2020 and provide an overview for the 15-year span of the whole framework.


The Sendai Framework: an opportunity for a resilient and sustainable Europe

According to Munich Re, in 2014 Europe saw almost 160 disaster events with over 300 fatalities and damages amounting to US$ 17.6 billion. Floods in the Balkans (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia and Serbia), the United Kingdom and Germany have shown the need for Europe to prioritize risk reduction. The disaster in Serbia plunged the country into recession, and its fiscal position deteriorated further as a result of lower tax revenues and higher expenditures to meet unexpected post-disaster demands. Serbia was not alone in being affected seriously: nine other floods in Europe last year costed more than US$100 million each, making 2014 the year with the highest number of such costly floods since 2004. Other hazards were equally damaging. Sweden saw major wildfires, costing over US$150 million, and the real impact of “silent” disasters such as droughts, coastal erosion, cascading effects, etc. has not been quantified, but is believed to be substantially larger than previously estimated. As a consequence of both development patterns, increased societal complexity and dependencies together with and the increasing impacts of climate change, the trend of economic losses poses a challenge both to sustainability and to economic growth.

Over 80% of current disaster losses are caused by weather-related hazards, which are set to increase in frequency, intensity, spatial extent and duration as a result of changing climate, according to the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report. By 2050, in a business-as-usual scenario, there could be a nearly fivefold increase in the annual economic losses resulting from floods in Europe. Yet we also know that the severity of extreme weather and climate events depends strongly on the level of vulnerability and exposure to these events. Only 30% of the higher flood risk can be attributed to climate change and increased rainfall. The rest is attributable to human behaviour, such as building in risk areas. Far from being natural, disasters are something that we can prevent or minimize impacts from.

The Sendai Framework was the first international agreement, built on lessons learned from the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action: 2005-2015, to be adopted within the context of the post-2015 development agenda. It has been followed by the adoption in September of the Sustainable Development Goals, while the COP21 UN climate change conference will take place in December. Both processes are critical to efforts to reduce disaster risk and build resilience. To work effectively with prevention and to reduce the underlying risk factors outlined in the Hyogo Framework for Action has been the most challenging target past 10 years – in Europe but also globally. This underlines the need to continue accelerating and mainstreaming disaster risk reduction actions. Building a climate safe and sustainable society, physical planning and construction, work on accident prevention, emergency preparedness and management of accidents, serious disturbances and disasters must be seen in a holistic perspective.

Compared to the Hyogo Framework for Action, the Sendai Framework is more far-reaching, holistic and inclusive, and emphasizes the need to address disaster risk management, to reduce existing vulnerability and to prevent the creation of new risks. Far greater attention is paid to social and health-related issues in implementation. Further, while progress depends on a whole-of-society approach, which must span key stakeholder groups including women, persons living with disability, youth and children, older persons, indigenous people, the private sector and civil society in all its diversity. States have primary responsibility for reducing disaster risk.

What we are effectively looking at is how to achieve risk avoidance – pursuit of a development path that minimizes risk accumulation, reduces existing risks, and promotes resilience – creating nations and communities that can absorb losses, minimize impacts and bounce forward. This requires strengthened political cooperation internationally, but also nationally, regionally and on the local level. It means involving all actors to make resilience and disaster risk reduction a shared responsibility, including by boosting public-private partnerships, and by ensuring a much more active role for the private sector to use a risk-sensitive approach in investments.


Aim of the European Roadmap for Disaster Risk Reduction

The aim of this European roadmap is to provide guidance and highlight a number of areas of focus to implement the Sendai Framework emerging from the 10-year review of HFA implementation. It builds on the Sendai Framework’s identification of the role of regional platforms and support for regional and national efforts in building resilience to disasters. The roadmap takes into consideration what has been achieved and aims to complement what is planned within European countries and the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction’s regional organizations.  It takes into account the Sendai action plan to be developed by the European Commission early in 2016 and Council of Europe’s 2016-2020 work plan, the EUR-OPA Major Hazards Agreement.


Priorities identified for the Road Map 2015-2020

By analysing gaps identified in HFA implementation in Europe thanks to 10 years of reporting, as well as the Sendai Framework’s innovative elements and considerations, the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction has prioritised two areas of focus:


  1. The development or review of national and local-level strategies for disaster risk reduction. This first area of focus will be target 18e of the Sendai Framework: to substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020. To ensure the development of national and local strategies, risk assessments and disaster loss databases have been identified as essential building blocks.


  1. The integration of disaster risk reduction in different sectors. Based on reviews of HFA implementation and Sendai Framework focus the following areas emerged: climate change, environment, private sector, health, and persons with disabilities at national and local levels.


Main role of the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction in implementing the road map


Since its launch in 2009, the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction has been sharing knowledge and practices on disaster risk-informed policies as well as assessing progress in implementation and generally forging partnership among its members. Thus the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction has promoted the greater integration of disaster risk reduction considerations in decision-making.

The primary role of the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction in implementing this roadmap will be to build on experience of the cross-sectoral national platforms and initiatives in European states. A key role will be put disaster risk reduction on the national and local agenda and promote coordination of all stakeholders with the key aim of increasing the political and policy space for disaster risk reduction.

Open Forum meetings of the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction will be held in Brussels every two years. The Open Forum Meeting allows for the participation of multistake-holder actors and major groups to increase the sharing of knowledge, experiences and best practices among all disaster risk reduction actors. The Open Forum Meeting will play an important role in Europe since the Global Platform meeting in the future will be hosted in different continents. The Open Forum will enable exchanges and review of achievement and gaps in Sendai Framework implementation by major groups (NGOs, academics, scientists, local and community representatives, older and young people, etc.).  Further, the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction will foster direct exchanges of practices, lessons learned and an overview of the advances made.

Another important function will be the exchanges on the promotion of risk informed decision making, and sharing of experience on the integration of comprehensive disaster risk reduction strategies. This will provide practical suggestions for regional and sub-regional initiatives in support of national and community efforts to reduce disaster risk. Where countries can seek guidance from others in developing national and local strategies, the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction will benchmark with those who have already achieved the desired results.

Under the Sendai Framework, voluntary commitments on disaster risk reduction need to be reviewed both nationally and by regional and global platforms. In this regard, the Open Forum Meetings will allow to view the advances and challenges of voluntary commitments in the European context.

In the Sendai Framework, regional organizations are requested to play an important role within the regional platforms for disaster risk reduction. The European Commission and Council of Europe have embraced the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction including by becoming part of its Secretariat and Executive Committee. Furthermore, both regional organizations have agreed to develop a plan to support the implementation of the Sendai Framework (Annex 2).


Focus Area 1: Enabling national and local-level strategies on disaster risk reduction (review of existing strategies/development of new strategies)


As basis for the implementation roles and responsibilities must be sorted out and every country is expected to work out a national strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction in line with the framework, the countries risk profile and other needs. The development of national and local strategies by 2020 – as identified in target 18e of the Sendai Framework - requires a number of supporting actions that will contribute to the quality and impact of these strategies. Actions aiming to provide the necessary knowledge of risks and impact of hazards are: land use planning, risk consideration in investments such as infrastructure and basic services, risk assessment, climate change, and the systematic accounting of disaster losses through systematic learning and the development of disaster loss databases.

The Sendai Framework highlights a number of emerging considerations and aspects such as the emphasis on prevention of new risks in the course of development. These considerations and innovative approach to disaster risk reduction will require inclusive holistic national and local processes to develop and where strategies already exist, to the review of existing national and local strategies to ensure its retrofitting following the adoption of the Sendai Framework.

The European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction has been engaged in the ongoing preparation of “Words into Action” guidelines for Sendai Framework implementation. Guidelines on national and local strategies are also being developed to accompany efforts made at those levels. The European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction will continue to support disaster risk reduction focal points and national platforms to trigger exchanges on good practices, twinning and dedicated sessions on the development of strategies.


Good governance, including proper laws, regulations, designated responsibilities, cooperation and reviewing, is fundamental for the effective implementation of the Sendai Framework, as well as, national and local level strategies. Strengthening governance to manage disaster risk is a priority of action in the Sendai Framework. Every country needs to consider how its approach to disaster risk reduction tailored to its own context. It is important that clear roles and responsibilities are established for all relevant stakeholders from national to local level. Every country is also expected to establish a national platform for disaster risk reduction coordinating mechanism and designate a ministry or agency as disaster risk reduction focal point. Good governance is also required to allocate sufficient resources and budgets for disaster risk reduction in line with priorities for effective long and short term results. A basis for the implementation roles and responsibilities must be set and every country is expected to consider a national strategy for disaster risk reduction in line with the Sendai Framework, the country’s risk profile and other needs.

A whole of community approach requires inclusion and empowerment of different stakeholders, such as the full participation of persons with disabilities and their representative organisations in preparedness activities and programmes at all levels, ensuring a rights-based approach that meets the equal access and functional needs of all individuals.

The EFDRR will support twinning and exchange between countries and actors and encourage decision making by national focal points.



Risk assessment

Risk assessment is acknowledged in Europe as a fundamental step towards the development of national and local strategies, given that it enables informed decision making about the focus and actions needed. This understanding has allowed for the development of a number of measures aiming at ensuring that risk assessments feature at the national and local level. The development of risk management plans in accordance with the EU Floods directive and guidelines for risk assessment by the European Commission has allowed for countries in Europe to apply common considerations and methodology in assessing and managing risks. The risk assessment guidelines have been used in common within Europe, improving coherence among the risk assessments undertaken at national level in the prevention, preparedness and planning stages and making these risk assessments more comparable between countries. This aims to greater transparency and to facilitate cooperation in efforts to prevent and mitigate shared risks, such as those which cross borders.

The EFDRR will promote and share among all its members the experience already gained in Europe in order to establish a coherent approach towards risk assessment, including transboundary impacts.

Disaster loss database

The systematic follow up after accidents, disturbances and disasters and the collection of disaster loss data provides learning and information that can be used to assess the costs and benefits of disaster risk management, to demonstrate the need for public and private investment, and to show the need for risk-sharing and social protection mechanisms. Systematic disaster data collection and analysis ensures informed policy decisions and contributes to building the case for investments in disaster risk reduction. Therefore an element in national and local level strategies is to establish/maintain a national disaster loss database. By building on UNISDR efforts in sharing methodology and supporting national development of data on disaster losses, Europe has developed the understanding of disaster data losses and has worked to align efforts. The guidelines developed by the European Commission following consultations with the wider European region provide advice to countries on improving the coherence and completeness of the national disaster damage and loss data recording process, necessary for supporting evidence-based disaster risk management policies and actions. Furthermore, many of the proposed quantitative targets of the Sendai Framework will require the development of baselines: mortality rate (2005-2015), number of affected people (2005-2015), status of direct disaster economic loss to gross domestic product (2015). The development of disaster loss databases and case studies will be essential in order to review the framework implementation and to compare on the achievements and progress made since 2015.

The EFDRR will promote wider development of disaster loss databases in Europe as a key support for the establishment of national and local strategies for disaster risk reduction.

Peer reviews

Within the Sendai Framework, governments are requested to monitor and voluntarily report on its implementation of the framework. The use of peer reviews to enhance the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action and present disaster risk reduction strategies and improve policy-making in disaster risk management has been a very promising initiative. It encourages learning across countries and steers progress in further developing and implementing national and European Union risk management policies and practices. The peer review process, a governance tool, takes advantage of a policy exchange among peers to facilitate the exchange of best practices, examining the performance of the reviewed country in disaster risk management policy. It helps to strengthen mutual understanding and trust in the results, based on exchange of experiences and non-binding recommendations aimed at policy improvement. Because of the nature and the objective of the peer review process, it is considered to be an important contribution to the overall objective of developing national and local level disaster risk reduction strategies and to strengthen cooperation between countries. Peer Reviews are also an essential element to ensure an integrated approach to disaster risk reduction, linking risk prevention, preparedness and response actions.

The EFDRR will use the results of peer reviews as a mutual learning tool to further encourage Sendai Framework implementation.

Focus Area 2: Mainstreaming and integrating disaster risk reduction in key areas of focus


Risk-informed decision making in all relevant sectors is essential to contribute to overall disaster risk reduction. National governments, which are primarily responsible for disaster risk reduction, are encouraged to call for a definition of responsibilities across institutions and stakeholders to manage risk. This will help make stakeholder interaction with state institutions more predictable, especially interactions with private corporations which are responsible for a significant amount of risk management and mitigation. 

There are several new focus areas highlighted in the Sendai Framework. Health, an issue that received only marginal attention in the Hyogo Framework for Action, is now clearly at the heart of global efforts to build resilience. The fact that there is an entire section in the Framework outlining the roles of key civil society actors and stakeholders in resilience building shows that local communities, local governments, and local-level action are becoming increasingly important, and empowering communities through local government initiatives supported by civil society, particularly the private sector, is key.

In the first five years of implementing the Sendai Framework, the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction will place an emphasis on its core activities to support national and local level actions related to land use planning, economic management of risks and critical infrastructures for health services.

The main aim is to foster cross-sectoral cooperation through adequate guidance to all concerned actors.

Climate change adaptation, environmental and natural resource management

Since its creation, the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction has considered climate change to be one of the most prominent challenges for developing safe and resilient communities at local, national, regional and global scale. As a consequence, the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction Working Group on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction shared knowledge and information on the topic of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction linkages, and the institutional and legal mechanisms that in the European context support the integration of those two areas of operation. The Sendai Framework specifically addresses climate change adaptation and climate action by focusing on action needed to tackle underlying disaster risk drivers, such as the consequences of climate change and variability, among others.  It further sets out guiding principles which include the development, strengthening and implementation of policies, plans, practices and mechanisms that promote coherence among climate change and variability, environmental management and disaster risk reduction agendas. Strengthening disaster risk governance calls for collaboration across global and regional mechanisms and institutions for the implementation and coherence of instruments and tools relevant to disaster risk reduction, such as for climate change, climate adaptation, and sustainable development.

The Sendai Framework identifies poor land management, unsustainable use of natural resources and declining ecosystems as underlying drivers of disaster risk that need to be tackled. In densely-populated Europe, investing in ecosystem-based strategies is often overlooked by decision makers, even though they are cost-effective components of disaster and climate change adaptation policies and practices. Achievement of the goals set forth in Sendai Framework calls broadly for active engagement of environmental and land use managers in national platforms and for the adoption and implementation of disaster risk reduction strategies and plans aimed at strengthening societal, economic, social, health and environmental resilience. There is the need to share examples on the implementation of integrated environmental and natural resource management approaches, green infrastructure solutions, forest management and good examples of land use planning that incorporate disaster risk reduction.

Well designed and impact oriented Early Warning Systems can help to address the new challenges arising from changed risk profiles. Cascading effects reaching from natural into technological hazards and risks have to be well accounted for in a landscape of rapidly changing vulnerabilities.

The EFDRR will focus on land-use planning for resilience, which encompasses the above issues as well as topics such as forestry and urban risks.

Economic management of risks

There is a great untapped potential for contributions from the private sector and other economic actors to build resilience and reduce disaster risk. To date, these contributions in Europe to disaster risk management have been limited. While business is directly responsible for economic growth in Europe and across the globe, the need to engage in disaster risk reduction grows with it. The Sendai Framework recommends that national and local governments work closely together with the private sector in their area, across the four priorities for action. National and local governments may also benefit greatly from industry expertise, for example in insurance and risk-sharing, as well as lessons and good practices identified through the implementation of voluntary standards, and measures such as resilient building codes, resilient tourism, and business continuity. Many premises, buildings, infrastructure, schools, hospitals and other public services in society are maintained and owned by the private sector, which is why coordinated efforts are needed to secure continuity and resilience of public services.

The EFDRR will focus on economic management of risk, prioritising cooperation with economic actors not usually associated with disaster risk management.

Critical infrastructures in health services

Health is a key element of the Sendai Framework. Public health preparedness, or the capacity to address public health crises and to provide and sustain basic services, is fundamental to disaster risk reduction and resilience. Four of the seven Sendai Framework global targets have direct links to health, focusing on reducing mortality, population wellbeing, and promoting the safety of health facilities and hospitals. It is essential to enhance cooperation between social- and health authorities and other relevant stakeholders to strengthen country capacity for disaster risk management for health and social welfare, the implementation of the International Health Regulations (2005) and the building of resilient health systems, and to stimulate public and private investment in disaster risk prevention including in health facilities and other life-saving and harm-reducing measures.

The EFDRR will focus on fostering resilience of critical infrastructure, including basic services, particularly those related to health services.

Monitoring and Reporting


Consultations on the Sendai Framework and the 10 years of experience in monitoring implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action constituted an important reflection that has led to a stronger emphasis and language on the importance of monitoring and reporting in the context of the Sendai Framework.

The monitoring of the Sendai Framework is intended to complement the monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals. The “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” outcome document underlined that a key part of its success will be based on progress made in implementing disaster risk reduction and building resilience.

On reporting and accountability mechanisms, the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development offers an opportunity to build coherence in the monitoring and reporting on the Sustainable Development Goals and the Sendai Framework, including through thematic reviews, peer reviews and special sessions. The role of the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction will be to prepare a regional implementation report based on the Sendai Framework monitoring and reporting requirements. This report will be facilitated by UNISDR, the Council of Europe and European Commission as the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction Secretariat members.

With such an important opportunity ahead and the matured considerations on monitoring and reporting developed by the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction that included, among other actions, the call for disaster risk reduction peer reviews piloted by the United Kingdom and Finland, the focus and relevance of this topic will provide the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction with four areas of work related to monitoring and reporting advances in disaster risk reduction in Europe:






The EFDRR will monitor the implementation of the roadmap to view progress and identify future pertinent topics. For this purpose a baseline will be developed on the agreed actions.










Annex 1: Matrix of the Programme of Action / Milestones to implement the EFDRR roadmap on the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction: 2015-2030







Focus Area






Focus Area 1: Enabling national and local level strategies on disaster risk reduction (review of existing strategies/development of new strategies)






Risk Assessment





Disaster Loss Database





Peer Reviews 










Focus Area 2: Mainstreaming and integrating disaster risk reduction in key areas of focus

Climate change adaptation, environmental and natural resource management





Economic management of risks





Critical infrastructures in health services






Annex 2:  Regional organization planned activities contributing to the implementation to the Sendai Framework until 2020


European Commission


One-page summary of planned key activities


Council of Europe


One-page summary of planned key activities


Annex 3:  Sub-regional organization planned activities contributing to the implementation to the Sendai Framework until 2020



Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Initiative for South Eastern Europe

One-page summary of planned key activities