ELLA Policy Brief: Pushing Through Reform: Lima's Disaster Risk Management Strategy


In recent years, there have been a number of important actions at the institutional level for promoting disaster risk management (DRM) in developing countries. Yet securing a city-level political commitment that ensures the required investment and specific action plans in big cities has remained a pending challenge. This Brief describes how the Municipality of Lima designed and implemented its Disaster Risk Management Strategy, in particular analysing how disaster risk management was successfully positioned through advocacy and communications efforts. This case highlights some particularly interesting DRM issues in cities: the relationship between city and national level governments; the use of communications to convince citizens to want to prioritise DRM public works and the resulting political will this builds; and finally, the context of the integrated, systems-approach to disaster risk management strategies that is becoming increasingly characteristic of the region. In telling the story of Lima's strategy, the brief also highlights the role of key actors, initial results achieved, the contextual factors enabling the process, and some interesting lessons that could prove useful for city-level DRM efforts in other contexts.

Key Lessons:

The integrated DRM strategy developed by the Municipality of Lima is largely the result of the confluence of three key processes: advocacy and influence for mainstreaming DRM in the municipal agenda; institutional innovation for implementing the SINAGERD Law and for generally taking an integrated, systems approach to DRM; and capitalising on a moment of increased awareness of the urgency of DRM among the population.

This case is an example of how technical knowledge and experience from various interventions can be utilised. Since academic and technical institutions are a valuable source of knowledge and analysis, there is a need for closer collaboration between communities at risk, researchers and governments, and for high-quality, rigorous studies of risk and vulnerability.

DRM is an investment in the future that competes with multiple demands on resources. This case demonstrates how one possible solution is to mainstream DRM into development processes and budgets, while at the same time using communications to convince citizens and other public officials of the need to invest in DRM.


Watanabe, M. ELLA Policy Brief: Pushing Through Reform: Lima’s Disaster Risk Management Strategy. ELLA, Practical Action Consulting, Lima, Peru (2013) 6 pp.

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