Goal 3

Strive for risk-informed development


For GNDR, risk-informed development is about prioritising risks faced by communities living in the most vulnerable situations, and taking account of these risks when designing and delivering development plans and actions.

A risk-informed approach from the perspective of people most at risk enables more sustainable and resilient development and challenges everyone involved to recognise that development choices create risk as well as opportunity.

Sustainable development can only be achieved when local risk is fully understood. Risk is potential for adverse impacts on the lives, livelihoods and assets of people. And levels of risk are determined by the threats people face, their vulnerability, and their capacities.

When development is not risk-informed, communities report that far from offering progress, this so called ‘development’ is actually creating risk, increasing existing risk and wiping out any potential gains.

Critical to understanding and assessing the complex threats and risks, challenges and opportunities, uncertainties and options faced by communities most at risk, is the need to partner with those people who are most at risk. Where these partnerships happen, the need for coherence among sectors and policies is clear, especially in crisis or post-crisis contexts: violence, hazards and political instability are all part of the same equation for communities living in vulnerable circumstances.

If we understand the need for humanitarian action as a failure of development, a stronger integration of development, humanitarian, peace-building policies, actions and actors is required.

Further understanding and implementation of the triple nexus approach is essential to achieve sustainable development which is risk-informed and builds the resilience of people most at risk.

Through a range of member-led activities, GNDR is ideally placed to ensure that local knowledge, expertise and realities are contributing to the development plans of all actors, including government, international institutions and the private sector, so that policies and practices are more risk-informed.

Even in one location, a community can face a diversity of needs and risks. Those needs and the means to reduce risk are all connected.

This challenge is not just locally, but also nationally and internationally.

Governments have committed to implementing a range of international frameworks and, taken together, they reflect the range of risks and needs of a community. But often these frameworks lack coherence at the local level and are implemented in isolation, by different government departments. This not only creates inefficiencies and the potential to reduce, rather than build resilience, but also misses the connections between these needs and the underlying causes of risk.

Achieving our goal



  • All sectors believe they must build resilience whilst advancing development.

Indicators of Success

  • Number of humanitarian and development actors reporting understanding of the benefits of risk-informed development, as measured by Partner Survey.
  • Number of international documents that mention the importance of risk-informed development, as measured by policy analysis.


  • Campaign on coherence looking at the full picture of the experience of a most at risk community when designing development initiatives, showcasing the benefits (in economic and non- economic terms) of risk-informed development.



  • Evidence-based knowledge exists and is applied on how to do effective risk-informed development in the context of six drivers of risk.

Indicators of Success

  • Increase in knowledge of how to do risk-informed development in all six contexts, as measured by post-activity evaluations and annual membership survey.
  • Application of new knowledge on how to do risk-informed development in all six contexts, as measured by post-activity evaluations and annual membership survey.


  • Launch ‘A Decade To Get It Done’ – a series of local action-research programmes on some of the biggest barriers and challenges for risk informed development, producing cookbooks on subjects such as ‘How to build resilience for people on the move?’ and ‘How to build resilience in conflict settings?’ These research programmes will be linked with regional universities to create incubators of knowledge.
  • Strengthen capacity of members and others to implement approaches to risk-informed development in these complex contexts. This will be through a Community Exchange programme and the development of cookbooks, trainings, webinars, and mentorships.
  • Establish an Innovative Solution Bank to allow members to deposit new approaches online and learn from others.



  • Different sectors at different levels have opportunities to coordinate.

Indicator of Success

  • Increase in coordination between different departments, as measured by Partner Survey.


  • Hold national collaboration meetings between different sectors and departments.
  • Campaign on flexible national budgeting that allows for resources to be allocated for risk in an integrated way.
  • Establish ‘A Seat at the Humanitarian Table’ initiative to allow local CSOs bringing a resilience perspective to be a part of humanitarian decision-making processes.



  • All actors, not just DRR practitioners, have clear roles and responsibilities for taking risk into account.

Indicators of Success

  • Humanitarian and development standards include consideration of risk, as measured by policy analysis.
  • Number of governments that are aligning their reporting process for global frameworks, as measured by policy analysis.


  • Support institutions integrate risk perspectives into development and humanitarian standards.
  • Encourage governments to align their national and local targets and indicators for development, DRR and climate change adaptation.
  • Design online platform or app for people to report when development is not risk-informed.


What will success look like?

Development takes risk into account.

How will we measure this?

Quantitative indicators:
  • Increase in % of members from communities most at risk who perceive that development plans and activities consider risk
Qualitative indicator:
  • Stories of risk-informed development from all GNDR regions
  • Annual membership survey
  • VFL survey conducted at the end of strategy
  • 33% of members from communities most at risk think that local investment projects and local development plans take into account risks in some way (VFL 2019)


Top photo: Flooding of agricultural areas and villages in Prachinburi, Thailand in September and October 2013. Credit: Sooksunsaksit/Canva

Middle photo: Jacinta Ahisibwe collects water from a local stream in a slum on the outskirts of Kampala, Uganda. She says: “Due to the lack of waste disposal sites in this community, waste from the household goes into the homes during flooding and into the water sources that are used by most community members.” Credit: Jjumba Martin/GNDR

Bottom photo: Poorna Chandra Lenka took part in Views from the Frontline community surveys in Odisha, India. He says: “Although we have 2.5 acres of land, it’s not suitable for farming. My son and grandson work for others. The land does not give us anything.” Credit: Sarika Gulati/GNDR

Download the full strategy

The full GNDR strategy document is available in PDF format in four languages.

Find out more about the work of our global network by visiting our main website.

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This site was made possible due to the generous contributions from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Swedish International Development Cooperation.

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