Disaster risk reduction as a professional competency. A review of related training and education provision for built environment practitioners in the UK and Australia

The UN’s Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 highlights the importance of engaging multiple stakeholders in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). However, questions remain about whether the increasingly broad range of people who are required to make more informed decisions about risk reduction actually have the professional competencies to do so. DRR in the UK is a part of the resilience agenda, which implies a proactive approach to managing disasters and reducing the risks. In Australia, DRR is integrated within national disaster management policy, shifting responsibility away from government towards a proactive private sector, community and individual. When analysed closely it becomes apparent that despite the presence of legislation that encourages integrating such considerations into built environment processes, many built environment practitioners have not received the training required for dealing with DRR. In addition, proactively dealing with disaster risk in both countries is primarily implemented by emergency managers that typically have not been trained to deal with the required range of DRR approaches. These observations suggest that if DRR considerations are going to become better integrated into the (re)development of increasingly urbanised world, then there is a need to better integrate DRR principles into the core professional training (or at least continued professional development) of some of these key built environment practitioners. Therefore with the aim of assessing the extent to which DRR is (or can be) a core professional competency, this paper a) presents a critical review of the current core competency requirements for members of professional institutions, and b) provides an overview of the training of built environment practitioners in the UK and Australia.