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Deconstructing Policy: A Case Study of the World Food Program Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Policy

By Geraldine N Chipendo, William Aldis, and Rodger Doran

Economic, social and political systems play a role in creating vulnerabilities which contribute to the occurrence of disasters. Momentum was built around Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) as a strategy to reduce disaster impacts. To encourage  DRR policy makers to evaluate the extent to which their initiatives reflect the goals of DRR before implementing them, a policy analysis of the World Food Programmes (WFP) DRR policy was conducted using Carol Bacchis Whats the Problem Represented (WPR) to be policy analysis method. The WFPs DRR policy focuses on building the resilience and capacity of the most vulnerable people, communities and countries by working to ensure food and nutrition security while reducing disaster risk and protecting as well as enhancing lives and livelihoods. This portrayed the policy problem as the inability of vulnerable communities to cope and recover from shocks independently without external help. This had more emphasis on relief and recovery which satisfies the mandate, interests and operational capacities of WFP and its donors, but silences other determinants of vulnerability. We found that understanding the root causes of disasters does not guarantee DRR policies that fully address them due to internal and external influences on the organizations decision making process.