PhD defence by Rodrigo Mena

PhD student

Rodrigo Mena

Wednesday 25 Nov 2020, 16:00 - 17:30
PhD defence
Spoken Language
This defence will take place online
International Institute of Social Studies
Ticket information

Due to the coronavirus, the defence will take place online. You can follow the proceedings via ISS Livestream.

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Rodrigo Mena

On 25 November 2020, Rodrigo Mena will defend his PhD thesis entitled 'Disasters in Conflict: Understanding disaster governance, response, and risk reduction during high-intensity conflict in South Sudan, Afghanistan and Yemen.

Mena focuses on the knowledge and practice of disaster risk reduction (DRR) and disaster response during periods of high-intensity conflict. He argues that disasters like droughts, floods or earthquakes are a social and political phenomenon based on the interaction between extreme natural events and people’s vulnerability to harm and loss during these events. Conflict contributes to that vulnerability, thus explaining disasters and conflict co-occurrence.

Through comparative analysis of cases in South Sudan, Afghanistan and Yemen, he finds that disaster governance, DRR and response are possible and needed during high-intensity conflict moments, but the scale and impact of those actions are likely to be limited. In addition, due to the lack of (capable) governance structures and significant levels of state fragility, DRR and disaster response promotion and implementation rely on top-down international agendas, which are adapted and politically negotiated by multiple aid and society actors at different levels.

Doctoral board


Professor Wil Hout

Doctoral dissertation supervisor

Professor Thea Hilhorst

Members of the Full Doctoral Committee

Dr Hugo Slim, University of Oxford

Dr Ayesha Siddiqi, University of Cambridge

Professor Maarten van Aalst, University of Twente

Professor Georg Frerks, Utrecht University

Professor Ali Bilgiç, Loughborough University and former Prince Claus Chairholder

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