Informal Disaster Governance

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

Informal Disaster Governance


  • Patrizia Isabelle Duda Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, University College London, UK / University of Agder, Norway
  • Ilan Kelman Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, University College London, UK / University of Agder, Norway / Institute for Global Health, University College London, UK
  • Navonel Glick Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, University College London, UK


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Abstract:  

Scholars and practitioners are increasingly questioning formal disaster governance (FDG) approaches as being too rigid, slow, and command-and-control driven. Too often, local realities and non-formal influences are sidelined or ignored to the extent that disaster governance can be harmed through the efforts to impose formal and/or political structures. A contrasting narrative emphasises so-called bottom-up, local, and/or participatory approaches which this article proposes to encapsulate as Informal Disaster Governance (IDG). This article theorises IDG and situates it within the long-standing albeit limited literature on the topic, paying particular attention to the literature’s failure to properly define informal disaster risk reduction and response efforts, to conceptualise their far-reaching extent and consequences, and to consider their ‘dark sides.’ By presenting IDG as a framework, this article restores the conceptual importance and balance of IDG vis-à-vis FDG, paving the way for a better understanding of the ‘complete’ picture of disaster governance. This framework is then considered in a location where IDG might be expected to be more powerful or obvious, namely in a smaller, more isolated, and tightly knit community, characteristics which are stereotypically used to describe island locations. Thus, Svalbard in the Arctic has been chosen as a case study, including its handling of the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, to explore the merits and challenges with shifting the politics of disaster governance towards IDG.


Keywords:  Arctic; climate change; disaster governance; disaster risk reduction; policy change

Published:  


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/pag.v8i4.3077


© Patrizia Isabelle Duda, Ilan Kelman, Navonel Glick. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.