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With disasters becoming an increasingly recurring phenomenon it is essential to find common understanding about the meaning of the basic terminologies used on the subject. Terminologies never really stand still, they adapt to the shift in thinking by adopting new terms and expanding on the existing ones.

The terminologies have been used by scientists, scholars and researchers in different contexts and perspectives. It is therefore necessary to iron out differences and find internationally accepted standard definitions.

In 2004 the ISDR Secretariat released the basic definitions on disaster risk reduction in order to promote a common understanding on this subject, for use by the public, authorities and practitioners. This was published in “Living with risk: a global review of disaster risk reduction initiatives”.

UNISDR Terminology: Basic terms of disaster risk reduction 2004

The following year, the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015 requested the UNISDR secretariat to “update and widely disseminate international standard terminology related to disaster risk reduction, at least in all official United Nations languages, for use in programme and institutions development, operations, research, training curricula and public information programmes”. Accordingly the ISDR released its new version of terminologies in 2009 after consultations with a broad range of experts and practitioners in various international venues, regional discussions and national settings.

These definitions are provided in:

UNISDR Terminology on Disaster Risk Reduction 2009.Pdf
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