HDR Final Thesis Presentation - Jonathan Raikes - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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HDR Final Thesis Presentation - Jonathan Raikes

We would like to invite you to attend the Final Thesis Presentation of Jonathan Raikes, a Doctor of Philosophy candidate in the School of Social Sciences.

Thesis title: Disaster risk reduction and the Sustainable Development Goals: Pre-disaster governance for integrated management in Canada and Australia.

When: Wednesday, 23 September 2020, 9am-10:30am

Where: Sippy Downs Campus, IC1.49A and via Zoom: https://usc-au.zoom.us/j/92175791733


In 2015, three landmark international agreements established the post-2015 global de​velopment agenda related to climate and disaster risk. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (March 2015), the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (September 2015), and the Paris Agreement (December 2015), which together position disaster risk reduction as a core development strategy for human development and vice versa. This more holistic view of disaster risk reduction challenges historic notions of disaster management that focused solely on preparation, response and recovery to specific events.

This thesis seeks to improve the knowledge and practice of multi-level governance for disaster risk reduction and human development (as defined by the Sustainable Development Goals) via an examination of: (1) pre-disaster risk governance for floods and droughts; (2) the application of disaster risk reduction policies and practices on floods and droughts in a human development context; and (3) the efficacy of the post-2015 global development agenda in domestic policy in relation to disaster management. Drawing from two case studies involving Canadian and Australian government practitioners, data was collected and analysed using two Delphi studies, semi-structured interviews, and policy analyses of local, state/provincial, and federal legislation, policies, plans, and strategies.

It was found that an integrated approach between disaster risk reduction and human development challenges the conceptual boundaries of and requirements for public policy and administration for disaster management. Where disaster risk management has traditionally focused on the exposure to natural hazards, such as floods and droughts, an integrated approach between disaster risk reduction and human development requires engaging underlying drivers of vulnerability and empowering individuals and vulnerable groups in pre-disaster planning for preparedness. In its application to flood and drought risk management in Canada and Australia, however, this study shows a disconnect between disaster risk reduction and human development policy and practice. Expert panellists from the two studies argued that political, programmatic, and administrative issues, coupled with a lack of risk awareness and risk mobilization beyond the emergency management governance space currently hinder the adoption and performance of an integrated, systems-based approach.

International agreements and mechanisms, including the Sendai Framework, the Sustainable Development Goals, and the Paris Agreement, may alleviate this disconnect by providing a reference point for countries, like Canada and Australia, to justify and organize policies and practices in way that conjointly recognizes the interdependencies of these public policy and administration fields. The challenge moving forward is mobilizing these agreements within the multi-level governance spaces of disaster risk management and human development without convoluting the participatory and vulnerability-based approaches that are currently promoted by governments.

This study addresses a knowledge gap in sustainable development and the application of cross-sector policies relating to disaster risk reduction and human development. It provides a foundation for policy reform and future research relating to disaster risk management and risk governance by investigating the theoretical and practical dimensions of an integrated approach and the role of international agreements in domestic disaster management policy within developed countries. This includes a broader understanding of the multi-level governance dimensions of risk management for floods and droughts, and the role of collective action in achieving the Sendai Framework’s and Sustainable Development Goals’ targets in Canada, Australia, and more broadly.


Jonathan Raikes is a Canadian human geographer and current PhD student in the Sustainability Research Centre at USC. Jonathan has approximately seven years of experience working in the academic and public sectors. In the public sector, Jonathan worked for the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction’s (UNDRR) Coordination Unit in 2016. Jonathan has contributed to the development and roll-out of the system-wide UN Plan of Action on Disaster Risk Reduction for Resilience and has assisted in an assessment on the impacts and responses to the 2015/16 El Niño. Since leaving the UNDRR in 2016, Jonathan continues to consult with various stakeholders on disaster risk reduction, including international organisations, local, state/provincial and federal governments, and academics from around the world. Jonathan’s current work investigates the intersection of disaster risk reduction and human development (via the Sustainable Development Goals) in governance and management in Canada and Australia. Jonathan engages with local, state/provincial and federal governments to explore governance and management requirements to reduce disaster risk to floods and droughts, and the efficacy of international agreements on domestic planning and implementation.

We look forward to seeing you there!