Tuesday, 31 October 2017

COP 23 Bonn Agenda: Financing Integrated Governance of Risks

'Local people in marginal environments such as drylands, wetlands and vulnerable coastal regions deal with disaster and climatic shocks regularly.  Integrating disaster and climate governance and financing with long term development goals is the only way to  help improve the wellbeing and life chances of poor people in marginal environments."
– Prof Lyla Mehta, project leader of Research Council of Norway funded project on climate change, uncertainty and transformation. 

Financing integration of disaster and climate risk governance ought to be on COP 23 Bonn agenda.
Financing for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation cannot be two separate activities anymore. They need to be integrated with each other now. India initiated such integration in its INDCs and after the COP 21 Paris Agreement. This integration continues to rank high on the Government of India's agenda.

At the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Delhi in November 2016, Sam Bickersteth of CDKN chaired a key panel on "Integrated DRR, Response to Climate Change and Sustainable Development" which developed clear understanding and consensus on the advantages of such integration of risk governance in the Asian context.

The South Asia Disaster Report 2016 by Duryog Nivaran, which focuses on Building Back Better, argues that integration of DRR with CCA in disaster recovery process is important and possible in South Asia.

COP 23 in Bonn is one of the most important global policy events that encourages a wide range of actors to move ahead in reducing the negative impact of climate change on human life and nature.

COP 23 Bonn agenda is aimed at finding ways to improve and expedite financing climate change actions. However, the agenda does not directly pick up on integration between disaster and climate risk. A lot of effort is invested in understanding risks—scientific technological, or economic—but little effort is invested on integrated governance of risk across all levels.

The recent publication titled Disaster Risk Governance in India and Cross Cutting Issues edited by Indrajit Pal and Rajib Shaw (http://www.springer.com/in/book/9789811033094) offers some of the reasons for such integration.

The book offers a much needed balance between theory and practice of disaster risk governance in India. The evidence and actions that flow are of interest and use to COP 23 Bonn agenda.

Rarely before has such quality of data, research, conceptual work and practical cases on risk governance have been brought between the covers of a single book.

Drawing from the book and AIDMI's work on risk reduction and resilience building as a central element of local planning the following items can be taken up on COP 23 Bonn agenda.

First, it is important to develop national perspectives based on but not limited to global values and international efforts to move towards a green and clean economy. This will be a transformation agenda and each nation will select what Erik Olin Wright in his book titled, "Envisioning Real Utopias (http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.152.6099&rep=rep1&type=pdf) calls "ruptural" or "intersitial" or "symbiotic" transformation. Such national perspectives will make financing more demand based.

Second, sub-national implementation processes are critical for this integration. Road corridors in Bangladesh, Wind parks in Sri Lanka, rupee linked bonds in India, or urban public transport in China are some examples where financing of such integration can take place with focus on sub-national processes.

Chetan Vaidya, ex-director of School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi, has often said that urban areas are a good spot to start with such financing.

Third, linking risk governance with development—urban, post-disaster, delta and desert areas—across not only forestry and environment but across all sectors of economy is now most urgent.

Fourth, climate related knowledge and lessons integrated in school safety activities in order to make our children prepared against climate risks.

In Andhra Pradesh in India the authorities have initiated such integration with the support from UNICEF and UNDP in its DRR Road Map. Financing such Road Maps, including in another state, Bihar, remain a challenge.

Perhaps such financing of integrated risk governance can help address what Asian Development Bank calls nexus of urbanisation, development, environment and unemployment in Asia. But this is not to say that what Jyoti Sharma calls "neoliberal trap" should not be avoided by such financing.

Time has come for the participants of COP 23 Bonn to be (as Wilton S. Dillion, cultural anthropologist and senior scholar emeritus at Smithsonian Institution in the USA calls) "loose, playful, and responsible" and not to be too burdened with the "business case" for such integration alone.
– AIDMI Team

for any further information please contact: bestteam@aidmi.org

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Delivering Results and Working in Partnership: Two Key Concepts for South Asia to Accelerate Building Urban Resilience


South Asia has so much to offer to ARP in terms of reducing risks and building resilience. As we celebrate International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) 2017, urgent ways must be found to leverage this advantage.

– Mihir R. Bhatt

While working on Duryog Nivaran's (DN's) flagship knowledge product titled South Asia Disaster Report 2016 (SADR 2016): Build Back Better (BBB) several ideas became clearer.  These ideas, mostly on urban resilience, are of use in implementing Asian Regional Plan (ARP) on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in South Asia.  For the success of ARP it is important, one, to deliver results, and two, to work in partnership.  These two concepts, if put into action in South Asia, will profoundly improve the impact of ARP.

Duryog Nivaran is a South Asia network of individuals and institutions looking at alternative ways to reduce risks that local communities face. DN was one of the first to initiate work on urban risk with Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) in South Asia in early 1990s.

SADR is a series of thought provoking reports that aim at changing the way we understand disasters: as a given, top-down, and asset centric. SADR 2016 builds on previous such reports to accelerate Building Back Better in South Asia.

The Asian Regional Plan was developed as a follow up to Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) and was accepted at the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) in November 2016, Delhi. Urban resilience is high on the ARP agenda.

Asia is a home to some of the most vulnerable cities in the world as well as a hub of some of the most proactive cities promoting risk resilience. Asian Development Bank (ADB) is active in investing in cities in Asia to take a lead in building resilience.

Many urban resilience initiatives in South Asia face delay in delivering the results as well as failing to mobilise a partnership in cities. The following actions are suggested to help in building such partnerships.

First, it is important – to start with – to have at least one well planned and well articulated project to be successful in delivering the results as well as in its partnerships.  Such a project changes lives of many urban projects. There is no South Asia wide review of key urban resilience projects to see what successes partnerships and results look like.

Second, community participation is important in delivering results and making partnerships work around DRR. Well planned and well resourced community participation is important to deliver results. Role of children in such participation is a key in South Asia. More work is needed to find ways to get better and sustained results of community participation.

Third, women and children must have more say in shaping the results of urban resilience and making partnerships work at the local level in cities. Direct focus on poor women and vulnerable children is essential while results are achieved and partnerships are made in a cities.

Fourth, connectivity is spreading in South Asian cities and ARP must build on this rapid spread of connectivity in cities to understand and act on resilience.  Though several initiatives are taken to find ways to use connectivity to reduce risk; pathways for cities to follow are yet to be traced and strengthened in South Asia.

Fifth, water is a key to air and land related urban work and in South Asia water is often a starting point for urban resilience building. It may be too much of water which results in floods – or the lack of water. The interplay of water, cities, and resilience in South Asia needs more attention in project planning and ideation by national authorities.

Sixth, being resilient can be faster and sustainable if cities learn from own work and the work of others. Often each city invents its own solution which takes time and resources but in many cases (not all) another city in South Asia has already invented a solution that can be widely used.  Heatwave Action Plan by Climate Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) in Ahmedabad is an example of city-to-city learning takes place.

Delivering results and working in partnership is important to implement ARP. SADR 2016 is about to be launched in South Asia in November 2017 and will help towards the implementation of the ARP.

- AIDMI Team

for any further information please contact: bestteam@aidmi.org

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Youth Leadership: Source of Energy for Building Community Resilience

Context
The All India Disaster Mitigation Institute (AIDMI) has always embraced the idea of youth leadership in the field of disaster risk reduction (DRR). Since 1987, AIDMI has been consistently inviting students (from 33 countries) and fresh graduates to work on local aspects of DRR across all levels of key action. Till date, 121 students have worked with AIDMI as interns or team members. By working with the policy makers, practitioners, partners and critics involved in the DRR sector of South Asia, these interns have promoted youth leadership in the changing landscape of humanitarian action in the region. They offer fresh and new ideas and pick up work that often seems insurmountable.

AIDMI invests in youth and their leadership as against buildings and campus facilitates. The returns of this investment to the society and the DRR sector are enormous.

The following document the experiences of AIDMI interns during their periods, how the experiences enrich their knowledge in DRR, enhance their professional working skills, as well as understanding of context in India. Later, many of which have applied to their work field and future career.

Musings on AIDMI Internship
Working in AIDMI enabled me to understand very aspects of being successful in the field of disaster risk reduction (DRR). The first thing I realized was that communication is usually an essential aspect to success in this field. It is also important for an individual to have the ability of multi-tasking during the working hours and as a Disaster Manager we don't have a fixed working hour, we should be willing to work whenever risk wants us to. Risk keeps no working hours.

Working at AIDMI helped me to understand the importance of asking the right questions at the right time. On the other hand, I also realized that it is important to maintain punctuality in order to be successful.

Risks are not punctual. Risks strike any time. We can address this situation by making our risk reduction efforts punctual.

Another key to effective work in the DRR entails that an individual has to have a professional attitude in order to fit in. At the same time, one should have the ability to network with people in the chosen professional field. Both are important and a balance has to be gained. This balance I experienced at AIDMI.

All the team members were really supportive. What I am taking back from this internship is the infinite amount of experience in the field of Disaster Management which will make me a responsible and a successful citizen in future, to continue as a professional in this field and help India to overcome from any disaster risk.
– Russi Singh

From the day I started working with AIDMI, I found the AIDMI team very cooperative. They helped us everywhere whenever we needed them. I learned about so many things in class but at AIDMI I actually saw how DRR works. I learned about key aspects of Child Centred Disaster Risk Reduction. AIDMI has so much going on and it is upto us to understand, reflect, and make use of the experience. AIDMI gave me a platform where I learned so many new things about risk and how to move to resilience building. With this, I would like to thank Mr. Mihir Bhatt and the entire team of AIDMI for giving me such learning environment.
– Ashish Dangar

During my internship at AIDMI, I got an opportunity to learn a lot of things about disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation and how both can be integrated at local level. It was my first experience of working on a local planning project with local authorities. This experience helped me to understand how the government departments work and strive to reduce risks. Perhaps the most important thing that I learnt during my internship was the different perception of disasters among different people. Risk has many faces and many incarnations. The difference in the way risks are perceived by different departments also dictates how they prepare for them. I am grateful to Brijbhai for giving me this opportunity to explore many ways of learning about risks citizens of India face.
– Renuka Poonia

The experience of working with AIDMI for the preparation of District Disaster Management Plan (DDMP) was very satisfying. The wide range of tasks which I was asked to lead added to my professional skills and understanding. Particularly working in rural areas of Chhattisgarh was completely different from my experience of working in rural areas of Maharashtra. How often we overlook our tribal citizens. Apart from community consultations, working in office was a learning experience. It certainly provided an environment for enhancing professionalism. As the DDMP was made with the support of UNICEF, it gave an idea of how do NGOs work in collaboration with other agencies as well as the administration. Meeting the deadlines and having the pressure of deadlines helped in understanding the vast significance of punctuality. Moreover, the experience improved my knowledge of ground dynamics of risks and disaster management sector, theoretical as well as practical. Documentations, photo quotations, interactions with various line departments, guidance from Vandanaben and Vipulbhai greatly added to my awesome journey with AIDMI!
– Suresh L. Borkar

Working with the AIDMI has helped me in honing the skills required to be a successful disaster manager. A healthy blend of professionalism and empathy along with deep respect for the local community was central to my AIDMI experience. People are in the centre of any DRR activities at AIDMI. The documentation of the details gathered through the hazard and vulnerability analysis from the communities and authorities was remarkable and helped me in understanding various risks to which a community is exposed to. I also learned how to coordinate and collaborate with government departments and other non-government agencies to achieve common objectives. Risk cannot be understood from only one point of view. Most importantly, the mentoring and guidance I received from Vipulbhai and Brijbhai at AIDMI was critical in making my internship experience fulfilling and rewarding.
– Akshay W.

The best thing about AIDMI is that, it has never given the youth a feeling of being interns at any time. We represented AIDMI whenever we went to meet higher authorities or to the last person in the community. The guidance and support received by the field team and seniors for food and accommodations, field visits and documentations and what to focus on has helped us to groom and learn a lot. The forty days helped us to gain professional skills of documentation, drafting of letters, presentations, data analysis and extracting of data and information from the readings, photo and quotes helped me in understanding the different aspects of risk reduction.
– Vaibhav Naresh Raut

The internship has helped me in building professional networks among DRR experts and improving upon my risk communication skills at a professional level, which I feel would be a great asset in building stronger relationships (at a personal as well as professional level) with whom I would be working with in the near future. During our day-to-day conversations with our mentors, I also came to know from Vandanaben about certain approaches of advancing in this field of disaster management, owing to its novelty yet growing significance in the contemporary world. Concrete work speaks volumes in this fast growing DRR sector. The working environment in the field as well as in office proved to be quite challenging due to the deliverables that were to be met on everyday basis in order to complete the plans within the specified time. Risks do not wait. So, risk reduction plans cannot wait. However, this rush got balanced with the friendly, cordial and supportive nature of our mentors. It was with their experience and guidance that the deliverables could be completed on time. On a personal note, I believe that this sort of balanced environment is necessary for every employer as well as for any task to be completed within a specified time limit.
– Jyotirmoy Deb Goswami

Way Ahead
AIDMI is inviting youth to work on areas of risk and culture; uncertainty in risk reduction; why some DRR projects make poor worse off; and who is best suited to reduce risk at the lowest level of the economy.

Perhaps the greatest contribution of these youth leaders to AIDMI has been their novel perspectives on risk reduction and climate adaptation which are totally unencumbered with existing narrative. One such intern is now a young ambassador of a leading Asian country. The other intern shapes the UN thinking on DRR in Geneva. A fresh graduate has moved on to lead response operations for a leading international NGO based in UK, while another youth has moved on to work with a leading management consulting firm. Their idealism, sincerity and dedication are infectious and inspiring in equal measure. AIDMI has been fortunate to work with such youth leaders from all across the world and re-iterates its commitment to do so in future as well.
– Kshitij Gupta of AIDMI.

"After the local community leaders and authority officials the youth at AIDMI has been my sustained source of energy".
– Mihir R. Bhatt

for any further information please contact: bestteam@aidmi.org

School as a key to reducing people affected by disasters by 2030

The schools are considered to be the main key to move closer to reducing the number of affected people by disasters by 2030 in South Asia.

International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) began in 1989, after a call by the UN General Assembly for a day to promote a global culture of risk-awareness and disaster reduction. Held every 13th of October, the day celebrates how people and communities around the world are reducing their exposure to disasters and raising awareness. The 2017 edition continues as part of the 'Sendai Seven' campaign. This year the focus is on Target B - substantially reduce the number of affected people globally by 2030, aiming to lower the average global figure per 100000 between 2020-2030 compared to 2005-2015.



All India Disaster Mitigation Institute (AIDMI) is celebrating the IDDR 2017 by capturing lessons from the last 12 months actions with 1471 schools to promote and strengthen safe education that saves lives and reduces the number of affected people by any disasters (including local and climate related risks - accident, heat waves, or heavy rains in the case of schools).

During the IDDR 2016 celebration, AIDMI announced to link each school safety training with the preparation of School Disaster Management Plan (SDMP) by trained educators. The commitment resulted into 915 SDMPs that were prepared by educators themselves based on the training lessons. Various agencies joined this year-long action – state and district disaster management authorities; UN agencies, city municipal corporation; and 1471 schools. The SDMP is becoming a tool to prepare a plan at school level as well as connecting school communities to come closure and join efforts that are raising awareness and preparing against local hazards among young generation. “Our joint efforts must result into equipping school teachers and students with the knowledge and skills that may potentially save their lives as well as avoiding emergency situation to happened in school” said by Mr. Kaustav Talukdar, Kamrup Metro District Disaster Management Authority Officer, India.

The SDMP is also supporting schools to address climate related risk like school announcements based on heat waves alerts by authorities during summer and heavy rain alerts during monsoon. ”The culture of disaster management needs to be imbibed in a society for which the motto of “catch them young” sounds prudent as a whole new generation’s becoming the flag bearers of DRR and trained in preparedness, response, mitigation, including climatic sensitization towards sustainable community.” - said Vrindhanath M C, with Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation, City Coordinator, UNDP, India.

The schools are key platform for local implementation of the Sendai framework, especially achieving targets – B, and D. As not every hazard has devastating consequences, a combination of natural, cultural, social and political factors contributes to disasters. The school is the key platform to address these local situations effectively. During the 2005-2015 HFA period, India as well as many other countries generated evidence on how schools can be safe as well as how safe schools can contribute to safer community.

The knowledge exchange platform is playing very important role in school safety as AIDMI's support to institutions in Maldives and Myanmar in South Asia resulted into institutionalization of safe education component.

AIDMI based on the 2001 Gujarat earthquake initiated safer schools campaign that expanded from Gujarat state to 12 states of India and neighborhood countries in South Asia. AIDMI along with government institutions, UN agencies, universities and networks is taking various actions with schools emphasizing on local implementation of India's National Disaster Management Plan.

- Vishal Pathak, AIDMI

for any further information please contact: bestteam@aidmi.org

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