Regional Workshop on Coastal Hazards and applications in Risk Assessment and Mitigation

CDR provided input towards the Regional Workshop on Coastal Hazards and applications in Risk Assessment and Mitigation organized by UNESCO/IOC, Paris and the University of Mortauwa 19-22 March 2013, Mount Lavinia Hotel. This was orgnaised by the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System  Working Group 1: Tsunami Risk Assessment and Reduction.

Following sessions were facilitated and led by CDR:

Social Dimensions of Vulnerability

Disasters are disruptive and/or deadly and destructive outcomes of triggering agent(s) when they interact with, and are exacerbated by, various forms of vulnerability. Disaster risk results from a combination of hazards (in other words, triggering agents) and people’s vulnerability to those hazards. While triggering agent(s) stand(s) as the independent component of a disaster, which may originate from the natural environment, human activity or a combination of the two, vulnerability is considered as the dependant component which is determined by the degree of risk, susceptibility, resistance and resilience.

There are innumerable variables interacting to produce future increased vulnerabilities, which in turn have been categorised under physical, social, political, economic and technological. The concept of social vulnerability emerged most recently within the discourse on natural hazards and disasters. Hazard experience, awareness of hazards, effect of livelihood and income to vulnerability, hazard consequences to person, hazard effect to property, health and capability to get medical treatment, socio-demographic qualities, and availability of social support systems, social aspects of structure vulnerability to hazards, and the implementation of land use controls have been identified as the factors most contributing to social issues of disaster vulnerabilities.

With this context, this session took participants through basic views of vulnerability, social vulnerability and its components, risk and vulnerability, and opportunities and challenges associated with social vulnerability reduction. There is debate and ongoing discussion surrounding the causes and possible solutions to social vulnerability and in cooperation with scientists and policy experts worldwide, momentum is gathering around practice-oriented research on social vulnerability. In the future, the hope is that links will be strengthened between ongoing policy and academic work to solidify the science, consolidate the research agenda, and fill knowledge gaps about causes of and solutions for social vulnerability.

Resilient Cities - Making disaster risk reduction a reality

This session provided an overview of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) campaign to raise awareness and boost commitment for sustainable development practices that will increase a city’s well-being and safety. With an initial two-year campaign launched in 2010, Making Cities Resilient: My City is Getting Ready, urged leaders and local governments to commit to a checklist of Ten Essentials that would make their cities more resilient.

The UNISDR Secretariat was identified as the overall coordinator of the campaign. However, local, regional and international partners as well as participating cities and local governments were seen as the main drivers of the initiative. Two years after the launch, over 1000 cities had signed up to the campaign and it was decided that the campaign should carry on beyond 2015.

Based on the success and stock-taking by partners and participating cities in the first phase, the campaign is shifting its focus to more implementation support, city-to-city learning and cooperation, local action planning and monitoring of progress in cities. In addition, the campaign is continuing to advocate widespread commitment by local governments to build resilience to disasters and increased support by national governments to cities for the purpose of strengthening local capacities.

This session explored the characteristics underpinning a ‘resilient city’ and provided an overview of the tools already developed by the campaign partners to support cities in achieving working towards this goal. The session concluded with details of planned activities for the next phase of the campaign.

Concept of stakeholders in disaster risk reduction and management

A stake is an interest of a share in an undertaking, while a stakeholder is an individual with a stake. Stakeholders are individuals or groups that benefit from a disaster risk reduction project intervention. Further, stakeholders can be harmed or have their rights affected by the same project. Fundamentally, stakeholders are individuals or groups that affect and are affected by a project and its activities. Stakeholders can also affect a risk reduction project’s functioning, goals, development, and even survival. Stakeholders are beneficial when they help you achieve your risk reduction goals, but can be antagonistic when they oppose your mission. Stakeholders may have the power to be either a threat or a benefit. They may exert their influence either deliberately or incidentally. Consequently, those responsible for disaster risk reduction projects need to be wary of their stakeholders and their influences.

This session explored the concept of stakeholders in the context of disaster risk reduction. It focused on how to effectively identify and engage with those individuals, groups and organisations likely to be affected by, or likely to have an influence on, specific interventions for disaster risk reduction. At the end of the workshop, delegates were able to:

  • Understand the importance of considering stakeholders when planning and implementing interventions for disaster risk reduction
  • Identify stakeholders, and understand their relationship to the intervention and their needs
  • Map and prioritise stakeholders
  • Select an engagement strategy for each stakeholder, by building and implementing an effective communication plan based on the stakeholder’s supportiveness and receptiveness