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TUE1.3: Integrative risk management - Examples from member organisations of the Swiss NGO DRR Platform on how to increase resilience
Session organized by the Swiss NGO DRR Platform
Strengthening resilience in the context of learning and transformation
1Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation; 2Caritas Switzerland; 3Swiss Red Cross, Switzerland
The term “resilience” has increasingly gained importance and has shaped the development agenda and its policies over the last few years. The term is particularly used in the context of disaster risk reduction (DRR) and adaptation to climate change (ACC) and is often considered as the binding force linking development, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. When referring to resilience, it is meant that a community, nation and system is able to anticipate, absorb and recover from the effects of a hazardous event in a timely and efficient manner, including through ensuring the preservation, restoration, or improvements of its essential basic structures and functions (SREX 2012) and ideally to bounce back better (DFID 2011).
Building community resilience by integrating disaster risk reduction and health system strengthening
Swiss Red Cross, Switzerland
Honduran and Swiss Red Cross started relief and reconstruction programs after hurricane Mitch in 1998, applying a community based approach to strengthen local capacities and focusing on two rural areas covering 200 most vulnerable communities (60’000 people) in 6 municipalities marked by absence of health care services and disaster management and highly exposed to natural hazards. The integrated approach is implemented at household, community and authorities’ level, interlinking risk mitigation and disaster preparedness, public health, education and territorial management. A core strategy lies in strengthening capacities by organization, training and equipment of local committees, linked to and recognized by relevant authorities. Local risk assessments are combined with scientific risk analysis and provide planning instruments for local committees, local and regional authorities and Red Cross programs. Community based capacity strengthening leads to knowledgeable and healthier communities which are able to monitor and manage their risks and improve coping mechanisms. Traditional knowledge combined with scientific analysis improves communities’ ability to adapt to new or changing risks appearing under the climate change impact. The local committees are recognized by and linked to the regional and national systems (health and DM) providing them access to external services and resources. Infrastructure measures do not only mitigate local risks but are an important part of the capacity strengthening process as the community participates fully in planning, fund raising, implementation and maintenance. The integration of health and disaster risk reduction improves the knowledge about the environmental health – healthy environment circle, leading to better management of natural resources and assets. Integrating community based DRR and health system strengthening can contribute to strengthening resilience of local communities. The approach shows a high potential for scaling up and enlarged multi-sector and multi-stakeholder strategies.
DRR in fragile context (Afghanistan)
Helvetas Swiss Intercooepration
HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation has particularly gained experience in the field of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in a fragile context through its DRR project in Afghanistan where it won the renowned Swiss-Re Resource award. In collaboration with local authorities and communities, HSI implements the program in Northern provinces of Afghanistan whose goal is to contribute to improved livelihoods of poor rural population by reducing flood risks and increasing long-term land productivity.
Strengthening resilience through learning and transformation
Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation
There is no single answer of managing risks or adapting to the changing climate. A balanced portfolio of measures to enhance local collective action and create subsidiary structures at national and international scales as well as multiple hazard risk management approaches are essential to strengthen resilience. The IPCC Special Report Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation puts particular emphasis on resilience building and strongly emphasizes that learning is key for contributing to resilience. The objective of the input is to provide food for a discussion on how NGOs, practitioners and donors can enhance the effect of learning and transformation in humanitarian and development work. Based on the three case studies presented by HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation, Caritas Switzerland and Swiss Red Cross, a set of features had been identified contributing to resilience building. All case studies underline the importance of learning and transformation as a major source for resilience building. The special report emphasizes that a mix of actions ranging from incremental steps to transformational changes are crucial to reduce the adverse impacts of extreme events. While incremental steps aim to improve efficiency within existing technological, governance, and value systems, transformation involves alterations of fundamental attributes of a system such as regulatory or legislative regimes, biophysical or technological systems. Especially in countries where vulnerability is high and the adaptive capacity low, changes in extreme climate and weather events can make it difficult for systems to adapt sustainably without transformational changes. So the main questions are therefore what are the mechanisms which positively shape such a learning environment? What is necessary that a community envisages learning as key or even undergoes such a transformational change? How can we support these communities in this process or is it out of our reach?
Strengthening resilience at community level; linking up community DM with Government DM
In Bangladesh Caritas started 2003 in DRR, developing mixed Volunteers to become proactive in disaster preparedness and emergency response at village level. But there was no link with Government DM structures. These are organized top down to the Union level. A Union includes 9 Wards and about 30'000 people. Ward elect their representative into the Union Council including a Union Disaster Management Committee (UDMC) is responsible for support and distribution of funds. Mostly they fail to link with the communities.