National Planning and Disaster

Authored by: Allan Lavell , JC Gaillard , Ben Wisner , Wendy Saunders , Dewald van Niekerk

The Routledge Handbook of Hazards and Disaster Risk Reduction

Print publication date:  December  2011
Online publication date:  March  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415590655
eBook ISBN: 9780203844236
Adobe ISBN: 9781136918698


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The notion of national planning is fraught with difficulties. In some low-income, highly indebted countries bilateral budget support makes up more than one-half of national expenditure. Assistance from the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the World Health Organization (WHO) and other multi-lateral institutions has become routine, not a matter of sudden or unforeseen disaster. International non-governmental organisations (NGOs) provide many of the services that would be expected of a national government. Indeed, African Nobel Laureate, Wangari Maathai, suggests in the case of Africa that such dependency means that ‘governments and individuals [in Africa] aren’t the active partners in development’ (Maathai 2009: 68). Crisis and emergency have become the new ‘normal’. Furthermore, large transnational corporations are likely to have contracts covering such vital sectors as water and electricity, and they control an increasing amount of farm land (World Bank 2010a). In such circumstances, national experts, parliamentarians and officials do play a role, and the appearance of sovereignty is closely protected. Yet both the words ‘national’ and ‘planning’ have to take on severely nuanced and limited meanings.

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