Governance in disaster recovery

Communities do not exist in isolation but are affected by external and internal forces and influences, the governance environment, which shapes how they act.
The governance environment is the range of formal and informal organisations, policies and practices operating at different levels which affect people both directly and indirectly. Rules, laws and social norms can all influence or restrict how people are able to act. At the local level, governance includes characteristics relating to vision, participation, consensus, long-term thinking, volunteerism, commitment and enthusiasm.
Governance includes institutional, policy and socio-economic factors that affect all aspects of development. For instance, while planning regulations might designate areas for reconstruction, unwritten societal taboos might over-ride these laws. Similarly, the governance context influences the ability of communities and their organisations to access resources, skills technologies and markets to influence policy such as the adoption of livelihood centred approaches to DRR.

Governance is one of the Hyogo Framework for Action’s priorities. (“Ensure that disaster risk reduction is a national and local priority with a strong institutional basis for implementation”).

Institutional analysis is an essential process for understanding the roles and agendas of the different organisations, policies and processes that influence vulnerability. Power structures, the roles and influence of different groups – the elite, land-owners, money-lenders – and how they manipulate processes, access to resources and information all contribute to prevailing vulnerability. 

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