Influenced by the humanitarian/emergency background of the founding members, UCD follows humanitarian principles and a rights-based and participatory approach in every sphere of its work. UCD strongly believes that the traditional knowledge of the deprived rural poor is valued and respected, and there is the confidence that rural people are capable of contributing to their own sustainable development if external assistance is provided when these communities are confronted with natural and man-made hazards. On a practical level, the fundamental thrust of this approach is decentralization and empowerment.
Externally, UCD’s role as a “change agent” helps to develop community disaster risk management systems and structures that are capable of managing their own risk reduction to alleviate them from sufferings. These community risk management structures are not parallel structures but are built upon traditional institutions, promoting equitable representation and participation. UCD strongly believes in maximizing its impact by transferring field experiences into knowledge to influence the development policies and practices of NGOs, donors, and government agencies. This is important for working towards the long-term goal of eradicating poverty.