Welcome to the SDC Disaster Risk Reduction Network

​Specialized certificate in assessment and management of
Geological and Climate related Risk (CERG-C)

APRIL 9 – JUNE 8, 2018, University of Geneva, Switzerland

We are pleased to announce the 31th session of the CERG-C program. This course includes 5 thematic modules:

  • Risk management

  • Volcanic risk

  • Seismic risk

  • Flood and climate-related risk

  • Landslide risk

These modules are designed to be of interest for practitioners and scientists from a wide background including geologists, civil engineers, physical geographers, social scientists or other field specialists. Participants typically come from governmental, non-governmental, international organizations and private institutions. Our main goal is to develop multidisciplinary skills for the assessment and management of natural risks.

This course, held at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, takes place over 9 weeks, including field immersions. The 2018 session will run from April 9 until June 8, 2018. If you are interested in learning more about the CERG-C program, please visit the website home page at: http://www.unige.ch/hazards (there you can find the application materials by selecting the Registration tab on the left). The deadlines for applications are September 12, 2017 for visa and/or fellowship applications, and January 28, 2018 for all other applicants.

Please find a poster and a flyer describing the CERG-C training. For more information, please write to cerg@unige.ch.

Practitioner's Guide Book on integration of DRR into Food Security and Livelihood

This booklet is drawn from lessons learned during the Cash-for-Work, Food Security and Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction (CFW-FS&DRR) project implemented, from 2011 to 2016, in the Chail Valley, Swat, in Pakistan, jointly funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). This booklet is intended for use as a practitioner's guide to plan and implement projects that integrate DRR into food security and livelihood activities with a cash approach. The booklet describes mechanisms and activities adopted for each step in implementation, especially in hilly and mountainous terrain.

To read the guide, please click here.

SDC launches CEDRIG online

SDC has launched a new online version of the Climate, Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction Integration Guidance (CEDRIG), a tool aiming at supporting development cooperation and humanitarian aid practitioners to integrate risks related to climate change, environmental degradation and natural hazards into their projects, programmes and strategies. CEDRIG also helps to identify and reduce potential negative impacts of activities on the environment, the climate and disaster risks.

CEDRIG is available in English, French and Spanish and was developed by SDC’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change and Environment Networks, hosted respectively by SDC’s Multilateral Affairs Division (Humanitarian Aid and SHA) and the Global Programme Climate Change (Global Cooperation).

Visit www.cedrig.org to learn more about CEDRIG, create an account, launch a study and create your team.


Efforts to reduce poverty and disaster risks are complementary

Natural disasters are a greater obstacle to ending global poverty than previously understood. This is the warning message of the latest report published under the World Bank Climate Change and Development Series. While traditional approaches reduce natural disasters to their monetary impact and represent only those wealthy enough to have something to lose, this report proposes a new measure for assessing disaster-related damages and suggests a “resilience policy” package in order to reduce ‘poor’ people’s vulnerability to natural disasters.

For more information, click here.


Facing the mountain - A short documentary about faith, disaster resilience and change in the Himalayas

Coping with extremes is part of life for people across the Himalayas. Uncertain summers follow freezing winters, as monsoon rains deluge the mountains, carrying the danger of landslides and floods. But in June 2013, in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, conditions fatefully aligned to produce an unprecedented disaster.

At Kedarnath, a sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, thousands of pilgrims and locals were faced with a once-in-a-generation catastrophe. Floodwaters and debris tore through buildings, roads were swept away, and thousands of lives were lost.

Three years later, the river cuts a calmer line through the Kedar valley and the sounds of mule bells and tramping feet rise and fall again along the pilgrims’ trail. In ‘Facing the Mountain’, through the words of survivors, local elders and new visitors, we are shown a portrait of a place where the events of 2013 have taken their place in a larger story. The enduring story of the region is not one of tragedy, but of resilience, of faith, and of eternal change.

For more information, click here.

​20th anniversary of the National Coordination Agency for Disaster Reduction of Guatemala

On 09 December 2016, the National Coordination Agency for Disaster Reduction of Guatemala (CONRED) celebrated its 20th anniversary in Guatemala City. At the celebration event, Switzerland was honored with a merit medal for its support of the Coordination Center for the Prevention of Natural Disasters in Central America (CEPREDENAC) based in Guatemala. The SDC-financed project “Promotion and harmonization of Central American policies for Integrated Disaster Risk Management” ran from 2013-2016 and strengthened both CEPREDENAC and its member CONRED in improving the regional coordination mechanisms for disaster risk reduction. The Swiss Ambassador in Guatemala, Jürg Benz, participated at the event and stressed the vital role of CONRED at the national and regional level. 

Photo: Lic. Sergio Garcia Cabañas, Executive Secretary of CONRED, Swiss Ambassador, Jürg Benz, Vice President of the Republic of Guatemala, Dr. Jafeth Cabrera Franco (from right to left).

F2F Event 2016 of the Swiss NGO DRR Platform

Urban DRR and Urban Resilience, 6th to 8th December 2016, Switzerland

A Face-to-Face (F2F) event is organized by the Swiss NGO DRR Platform to shed light on disaster risks in urban areas and provide insights into different approaches and practices in urban DRR and resilience building.

The event will start with a two-day workshop introducing and discussing approaches and case studies followed by a half-day public event that will broaden the thematic scope towards urban resilience. The workshop will be structured along four thematic blocks: Disaster risks in the face of increased urbanization (Block I), Understanding urban disaster risks (Block II), Interventions for urban disaster risk reduction (Block III), and The space and strategy for NGOs in working on urban DRR towards resilience (Block IV). The event will conclude with a public event on urban resilience with inputs from representatives from different sectors.

The presentations and report of the F2F 2016 of the Swiss NGO DRR Platform are now online and can be accessed via: http://www.drrplatform.org/11-events/31-f2f-2016.


Enroll now to the Free Online Course on Disaster Risk Reduction!

Starting November 5th 2016, the Cooperation & Development Center at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) will launch its Massive Open Online Course (MOOC): A Resilient Future - Science and Technology for Disaster Risk Reduction.

What You Will Learn?

  • Explain DRR related concepts and science and technology for DRR.

  • Identify and describe existing and emerging technologies for landslide and flood reduction.

  • Explain methodological tools to assess vulnerabilities and risk and strengthen the resilience of communities at risk of landslides, floods, and earthquakes.

  • Exemplify the role and the challenges of science and technological innovations for disaster risk reduction in an interdisciplinary manner including the importance of social aspects.

  • Recognize some of the actors active in DRR and international policy frameworks and technology for DRR

The course is FREE and OPEN to anyone who has the motivation, persistence, and interest in learning about disaster risk reduction.

Duration: 7 weeks and requires 2-4 hours of effort per week.
The course is being produced by the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

Short video on the course : https://youtu.be/hkrenjfFq2g

Switzerland, new Co-Chair of GFDRR Consultative Group

On 1 July 2016, Switzerland has taken over as Co-Chair of the GFDRR Consultative Group (CG). GFDRR (Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery) is a partnership of 34 countries and 10 international organizations managed and hosted by the World Bank in Washington D.C.

Besides financing grants, GFDRR supports high-risk, low-income countries with on-the-ground technical assistance and capacity building, enabling them to mainstream disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) into national risk reduction policies and plans. GFDRR facilitates the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and currently operates in 89 countries. The CG sets GFDRR's long-term strategic objectives and oversees expected results. Switzerland is a long term supporter and founding member of GFDRR, which was established in 2006.

Learn more about GFDRR at: https://www.gfdrr.org

13th INTERPRAEVENT 2016 Conference, Switzerland

Alpine natural hazard safety, an ongoing task for mountainous countries

The congress of the international research society INTERPRAEVENT, an international network of experts on protection against natural hazards, was staged in the city of Lucerne, in Switzerland, from 30th May to 2nd June 2016. It was jointly organised by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) and the Swiss canton of Lucerne.

The participants, who included 550 international experts from research and practice,  exchanged the latest information and experience about alpine natural hazards processes: avalanches, debris flows, floods, landslides and rock fall. Tools and mechanisms on how to "live with natural hazards", the main topic of the congress, were presented and covered all sectors of the risk cycle: risk governance and policies; data acquisition and modelling; hazard and risk assessment (analysis, evaluation); hazard and risk mitigation (structural, non-structural measures, insurance) and emergency management (emergency planning, early warning, intervention, recovery).

Find more information on the research papers and the Congress:



Open Online Maps to support emergency preparedness and response

In time of a crisis, humanitarian organisations are called to locate people on Open Street Map.

To support humanitarian operations, Open Street Map (OSM), one of the biggest free open platforms that creates and provides geographic maps, is upgrading its functionalities through three projects:

Humanitarian Open Street Map Team (HOT): Open Street Map volunteers located around the world provide detailed maps on the places most in need in time of a crisis. To get accurate data on people in need and facilitating therefore relief operations, humanitarian organisations are asked to locate people on the online maps.

Missing Maps Project: As many places where disasters occurs are "missing" from any maps or uncompleted, the project aims at putting 20 million of the world's most vulnerable people on the map by 2017. 

Healthsites.io: Detailed data on health-care facilities throughout the world are provided with the collaboration of the medical community who can access the online maps and update key information (domains of work, staff, beds, contact). 

22 September 2016, the 2nd Humanitarian Open Street Maps Summit will take place in Brussels, Belgium.

Learn more about the projects

Start of the e-discussion on the nexus DRR- climate change- migration- economic development in North Africa!

The challenges of poor economies, climate change, natural disasters and socio-political instability are acting as triggers for many people to change their livelihoods up to migrating elsewhere. This is particularly true for Africa. Our SDC colleagues in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia have expressed their interest to explore the nexus between climate change, natural disasters, economic development and migration in the context of North Africa.

We are interested to hear about the situation in different regions, not only North Africa. We want to explore e.g. the effect of climate change and natural disasters as a possible initial driver of internal migration. Is it the first step towards far-reaching trans-boundary migration? Are there examples where positive economic development (stimulated e.g. via the creation of new income generation opportunities) has stopped or even reversed rural to urban migration? Such questions shall be addressed and concrete cases, experiences and lessons learnt shared.

Brown Bag Lunch - SDC Europaplatz, Thursday, 18 February 2016, 12.15 - 13.45

The BBL will shed light on the learning process, present the results and share the extracted recommendations. Catering: Bring your own lunch; fruits & drinks will be provided.

Registration: Please register by e-mail (cosude.amlat@eda.admin.ch)   









New Publication: "Rethinking Good Practices in Land and Water Management, Integrating Climate Risks and Finance Mechanisms"

Why do watersheds matter when it comes to poor people's livelihoods, their access to water or their protection from disasters and climate change?

- People living in watersheds know each other;

- People living in watersheds know their environment;

- People's income depends on the watersheds;

50 development professionals from Latin America and the Caribbean, and from SDC Head Office, comprising five thematic knowledge networks, met for one week in Nicaragua to generate evidence on successful watershed management interventions.

Read the 10 key messages at the beginning of the report. They will make a difference in your next project design.


SDC holds CEDRIG workshop in Cochabamba, Bolivia from 27 – 30 October 2015 with participants from Nicaragua and Bolivia.

SDC has invited 33 participants from 4 regions of Bolivia and Nicaragua to attend a 4 day CEDRIG training course in Cochabamba, Bolivia, that started on 27 October 2015. The participants come from 8 different sectors and representing various Ministries and local Authorities. The Government officials and NGO representatives at the workshop are very motivated to learn about DRR as well as adaptation to climate change and to degraded environments. The workshop was facilitated by Roberto Mendez and Naraya Carasco from SDC.

In Bolivia the level of awareness and understanding concerning those issues has significantly increased in the last few years. Last May, a new law entered into force requiring that all public investments have to include analysis and measures to decrease risks from climate change, natural hazards and environmental degradation.

In this context the participants of the CEDRIG workshop learn how to integrate DRR & CCA into the planning of projects which is in line with and a first step to start operationalizing the new law.

CEDRIG workshop just finished in Esteli, Nicaragua: Participants learnt how to mainstream DRR, CC and environmental issues in their projects.

The workshop was organized jointly by SDC’s networks for Disaster Risk Reduction and CC&E. The course is part of SDC’s commitments to the subject of CCA and DRR, whose importance has been confirmed in the Swiss Parliament’s Message on International Cooperation 2013 - 2016. The purpose of the course, in addition to raising awareness of the importance of integrating DRR, CCA and E in development initiatives, is to train the participants in using the guide and to set an agenda for applying it to programs and projects supported by SDC and its partners in the different countries. Are you working for SDC? Would you be interested to learn from a CEDRIG workshop? Contact the focal point  to check about possibilities.

Regional F2F Meeting in Nicaragua

A Multi-Network F2F Meeting on “Rethinking best practices in integrated water and soil management at multiple scales at basin level, integrating climate risks and financial mechanisms for scaling up" was held in Nicaragua from 6 to 10 July 2015; under "Evento Mulitredes COSUDE" videos (in Spanish) and photos are now available.more » under "Reportaje Social" videos (in Spanish) and photos are now available.


​​Video: Integrated Disaster Risk Management for a Resilient World

More than 55 million people worldwide have fled their homes, including 20 million because of natural disasters and climate change. A paradigm shift that moves us away from responding to natural disasters to taking preventive action is needed because  an increase in natural risks can be expected. This video briefly explains why integrated disaster risk management approach which Switzerland advocate's can contribute to a more resilient world.