Empowerment of local people for sustainable disaster mitigation: Experiences of developing countries

Kenji Okazaki, Rajib Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The mechanism of choice-making to reduce risk, i.e., how people perceive the degree of risk and how people are motivated to reduce the perceived risk, should be investigated. In this way, we may better understand how to empower local people for sustainable disaster mitigation. As a possible approach to achieving this objective, the experiences of the Risk Assessment Tools for Diagnosis of Urban Areas against Seismic Disasters (RADIUS) initiative and the Global Earthquake Safety Initiative (GESI) are introduced below and their lessons discussed. Both RADIUS and GESI methodologies stressed participation and ownership of the local people to reduce the earthquake risk in their cities. Motivating local decision makers and policymakers was the first step in this regard. Bringing local disaster managers in the process of disaster management was a challenging task, for which both projects had achieved significant success. Thus, the significant achievement of both projects was the ownership transfer of the risk management process to the local disaster managers. However, as argued in the first part of this article, there remains an unresolved issue, which is how to motivate local residents to take appropriate actions to reduce the risk at the individual level. The RADIUS and GESI methods are considered as the first step in this long-range and multidisciplinary process, where the involvement of local residents is important. Empowerment of local people through appropriate risk perception and motivation are the key elements for the success of this process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-14
Number of pages12
JournalRegional Development Dialogue
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development


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