The third UN World Congress on Disaster Risk Reduction, held in Sendai, Japan in March 2015, agreed on a new framework to guide disaster risk reduction policy and practice for the next 15 years. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 (SFDRR) leaves important implementation issues unspecified and potentially creates both problems and opportunities for complex, multilevel governance systems in coping with hazards and disastrous events. Early warning systems (EWS), if built into the mainstream of planning for development and disaster relief and recovery, could present a significant opportunity to realize many SFDRR goals. We explore the complexities of using hydrometeorological EWS to prepare for drought and flood disasters in the densely populated communities of Pakistan’s Indus River Basin in contrast to the African Sahel’s less densely settled grasslands. Multilevel governance systems are often dominated by a top-down, technocentric, centralized management bias and have great difficulty responding to the needs of peripheral and vulnerable populations. People-centered, bottom-up approaches that incorporate disaggregated communities with local knowledge into a balanced, multilevel disaster risk management and governance structure have a dramatically better chance of realizing the SFDRR goals for disaster risk reduction.
Access this resource online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13753-015-0048-3