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International Recovery Platform

Leveraging Post-disaster Windows of Opportunities for Change Towards Sustainability:

Disasters are catalysts for change: they are increasingly recognized as offering opportunities to direct and navigate change towards aspired outcomes, such as sustainable development goals. However, little is known about how to leverage the opportunities created by disasters to achieve sustainability objectives. Learning from existing case studies is challenging, partly because there is no framework that integrates concepts of change from both sustainability science and disaster recovery literatures. This study develops a unified analytical framework to facilitate the documentation and analysis of case studies of sustainability transitions following disasters. The aim is to enhance the potential for theory-building, and to draw lessons that can be used to help leverage opportunities presented by disasters in the future. This study applies the framework to available empirical cases and identify specific conditions, resources, social relations and constraints that affect disaster-to-sustainability transitions. The expectation is that this framework will serve professionals and researchers in the fields of sustainable development and disaster mitigation to enhance the effectiveness of their research and applied activities.


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