The critique of disaster management approaches is important and relevant since it promotes their improvement. One of the models that have been subjected to criticisms is the PPRR model (Tangney, 2017). It consists of four elements: prevention (mitigation) and preparedness take place before the emergency, and response and recovery are the two post-emergency stages (Australian Council of Social Service, 2015). The first element aims to reduce the likelihood of a negative event, and the second one ensures the development of the measures that will result in appropriate response and recovery (Queensland Government, 2018). The third element is concerned with containing and controlling an issue, and the final one intends to facilitate and speed up recovery.
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This simple model is several decades old, which may raise the question of its relevance and applicability to modern settings. Consequently, the present paper aims to consider the use of PPRR in emergency management along with its potential shortcomings to determine if PPRR remains appropriate nowadays. Overall, the paper argues that PPRR is still relevant because it is used with notable success in a variety of settings, but the enhancement of PPRR is also a possibility.
The Relevance of the PPRR Model
Despite being subjected to some criticisms, the PPRR model is popular in Australia (Tangney, 2017). For example, the Queensland Government (2018) promotes its business use, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (2014) suggests using it for pandemic influenza, and the Australian Council of Social Service (2015) recommends it for emergency management in general. Given the fact that the disaster management of Queensland has been commended by the Federal Emergency Management Agency of the US and other independent agencies (Tangney, 2017), it can be inferred that there is some evidence to the PPRR model being an effective approach. Apart from that, the World Health Organization and International Council of Nurses (2009) used the framework to contextualize their disaster nursing competencies. Thus, the PPRR model has found its applications and is still being used with relative success, which implies that it must have remained relevant.
However, other approaches to emergency management are also available. For example, the UK emergency management involves two preliminary stages (anticipation and assessment) that are followed by the usual PPRR model (HM Government, n.d.b). The two additional steps are concerned with disaster epidemiology (assessment) and the activities related to monitoring the environment for hazards and threats (anticipation). The UK government considers the PPRR elements to be important but insufficient for emergency management (HM Government, n.d.a), and the PPRR model has been adjusted to the needs of the country.
Another model that PPRR can be compared to is the five-element model proposed by Pearson and Mitroff (1993). Just like PPRR, the model is not very recent (it was introduced in the 1990s), but it is noteworthy because it includes the stage of signal detection, which is followed by PPRR (although the first two elements are united into one for this model). Moreover, the five-element model also incorporates the stage of learning. Thus, there are at least two models that use the elements of PPRR but enhance it with additional steps. The comparative analysis of the three models can suggest the following conclusions about PPRR.
PPRR focuses on the crucial elements of the emergency management cycle (both reactive and proactive). It also characterizes the elements, specifying some important features like their content and duration. For example, PPRR points out that its first two stages must be continuous (Australian Council of Social Service, 2015). Therefore, PPRR provides some helpful guidance related to the process of emergency management. Apart from that, it is relatively simple, which can be considered a benefit since the ease of use might be helpful. The mentioned benefits of PPRR can explain its popularity and applicability to different contexts, which is illustrated by the fact that it is used by Australia and the International Council of Nurses.
On the other hand, simplicity is not unambiguous. It can also be considered an issue. As a result of its simplicity, PPRR fails to note some important elements, including, for example, environmental scanning and learning. While additional stages are not ruled out by PPRR, they are not highlighted by it either. Consequently, the model can be enhanced through the use of additional elements.
It can also be suggested that the reasons for PPRR shortcomings are not necessarily concerned with its age; after all, another relatively old model includes additional stages that rectify some of the issues noted for PPRR. Apart from that, the successful use of PPRR in various modern settings implies that it is practically applicable nowadays and, therefore, it may be incorrect to consider PPRR outdated. However, the mentioned shortcomings should be taken into account when attempting to employ PPRR. Depending on the needs of a specific emergency management project, it may be recommended to improve PPRR by adding the stages that other models propose.
The analysis of the PPRR model demonstrates that despite being several decades old, it is still employed in practice, and the bodies that apply it (in particular, Queensland’s government) are commended for their ability to manage emergencies. However, the PPRR model is not exhaustive. It lacks the elements that appear crucial, for example, learning and environment scanning. The reason for the shortcomings may not be connected to the age of the model; rather, they are just the result of its features. In particular, PPRR focuses on a specific number of emergency management activities, leaving out other significant elements, which may be considered by other models. Therefore, it might be incorrect to assume that the model is outdated or irrelevant, but it has its limitations, which need to be acknowledged when PPRR is used. Apart from that, following the example of the UK government, it is possible to enhance PPRR with additional stages. Overall, the model remains relevant, but it can also be improved based on the needs of a specific project.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Sendai Framework (SF), which were signed in 2015, are interconnected (United Nations Development Programme, 2018a). In particular, both can be viewed as tools meant for the solution of global problems, but SDGs are more comprehensive while SF focuses on emergency risk reduction. Still, there are commonalities between the two. The present paper will review the similarities between SDGs and SF to determine the principles that are employed by the United Nations to develop such tools. The investigation is important because it can help to understand both frameworks and apply the knowledge to the context of the investigator’s country: Saudi Arabia. As the study demonstrates, Saudi Arabia has adopted at least some of the principles illustrated by SDGs and SF.
Commonalities Between the Sustainable Development Goals and the Sendai Framework
The most apparent commonality between SDGs and SF is that both employ goals and targets to guide modern countries towards improvement and development. For example, SDG 1 includes a target that requires the eradication of extreme poverty (that is, ensuring that all people live on more than $1.25 a day) by 2030 (United Nations, 2015b). As can be seen from the example, the frameworks seem to intend to develop specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely (SMART) goals, even though the result is not always very specific. For example, SF has set the target of reducing disaster mortality during 2020-2030 as compared to 2005-2015. No precise figures that would describe anticipated reduction are included. However, it can be inferred that more specific targets can be developed locally to ensure their attainability in various regions. Therefore, the proposed goals are as specific and measurable as they can be, and it may be suggested that SDGs and SF are similar in promoting SMART goals.
Moreover, both tools also highlight the need for cooperation. In particular, the final SDG is devoted to the “partnership for the goals” (United Nations, n.d.), and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which announced SDGs also highlights the significance of “collaborative partnership” for the success of the project (United Nations, 2015b). Similarly, SF repeatedly highlights the importance of collaboration (United Nations, 2015a). Therefore, the emphasis on collaboration is an important commonality between SDGs and SF.
Finally, more specific commonalities can be found. In particular, while SF is devoted to risk reduction, SDGs include some goals that are either directly or indirectly connected to the same outcome. Also, SF goals can be beneficial from the perspective of SDGs. For example, SDG 1 includes the considerations related to protecting poor communities from disasters. Similarly, SDG 13 is concerned with climate change and, among other things, it incorporates a target aimed at improving the resilience of communities that are at risk of natural disasters (United Nations, 2015b; United Nations Development Programme, 2018b). Consequently, the targets of SF, which include the development of risk reduction strategies in every country of the world (United Nations, 2015a, p. 9), should be beneficial for the mentioned SDGs and vice versa.
In general, a well-developed country is more likely to be able to dedicate sufficient resources to risk reduction and disaster management, which implies that SDGs as a whole can generate an environment that would facilitate the achievement of SF targets. In turn, SF should contribute to the creation of a resilient community, which should assist it in its efforts to reach SDGs in general. Thus, SF and SDGs are indeed interconnected.
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Applicability to Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia intends to employ SF and has acknowledged SDGs while also promoting their use in other countries (Saudi Press Agency, 2017; United Nations Development Programme, 2018b; United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, n.d.). Therefore, it can be assumed that Saudi Arabia has adopted or plans to adopt the goals and targets of SDGs and SF (Saudi Press Agency, 2017). Moreover, Saudi Arabia uses SMART goals in other fields of its activities. For example, the Saudi Vision 2030 (2018) applies this format to the majority of its goals. The latter is not directly connected to disaster management, but some of them may have an impact on it (for example, the objectives pertinent to governmental effectiveness). In summary, the principle of SMART goals, including those related to SF and SDGs, seems to apply to Saudi Arabia.
The need for cooperation, especially when the achievement of development goals is concerned, is also acknowledged by the country. For example, Saudi Arabia participates in a variety of conferences devoted to emergency management, including the recent meeting dedicated to the Arab Coordination Mechanism for Disaster Risk Reduction (United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, n.d.). Thus, Saudi Arabia is willing to cooperate with other countries, acknowledging the second established principle.
Finally, the significance of disaster risk reduction, as well as other features that are mentioned by SDGs and SF, is also recognized by Saudi Arabia. For example, apart from participating in relevant meetings, the country also focuses on disaster training and education (United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, n.d.). This factor proves the use of some of the principles of SF in Saudi Arabia (United Nations, 2015a). As for SDGs, the Saudi Vision 2030 (2018) can illustrate some of the related efforts. For instance, the Saudi Vision 2030 (2018) has the goal aimed at increasing women’s participation in the workforce (SDG 5 and SDG 10) and multiple goals that promote the country’s economic development (SDG 8). In summary, all the commonalities that have been found in this investigation are demonstrable Saudi Arabia.
The present investigation suggests that some of the commonalities found between SDGs and SF include the use of goals and targets (especially SMART ones), cooperation, and attention to disaster risk reduction, as well as some other aspects that are crucial for sustainable development. Saudi Arabia has acknowledged SDGs and SF, uses SMART goals in other fields, and cooperates with other countries in the matters related to SDGs and SF. Thus, Saudi Arabia demonstrates adherence to all the found principles.
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