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Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or room to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
TUE4.6: Local actions and community empowerment
Time: Tuesday, 28/Aug/2012: 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Session Chair: Diana MANGALAGIU, Oxford University
Session Chair: Franz STÖSSEL, SDC
Location: Sanada 1


Session Abstract


Characteristics of safe and resilient communities and key determinants of successful disaster risk reduction programmes

Nathan COOPER, Mohammed Omer MUKHIER

Community Preparedness and Risk Reduction Department, IFRC

As the world’s largest humanitarian relief and development network, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has significant knowledge and experience in implementing community-based disaster risk reduction (CBDRR) programmes. Building safe and resilient communities is at the heart of these CBDRR programmes.

The humanitarian relief and recovery operation following the Tsunami in 2004 provided IFRC with a unique opportunity to analyze the two key challenges in implementation of its programmes; a) to gauge how we articulate resilience in a meaningful way to the target communities of CBDRR programmes and the CBDRR practitioners and b) to identify the critical factors conducive to the achievement of the needed impact and sustainability in implementing CBDRR programmes in support of resilience building. To this end, IFRC commissioned an in-depth study of CBDRR programmes to define the characteristics of resilient communities and the key determinants of successful CBDRR programmes. This study was carried out by the ARUP International Development(1) in 2010-2011.

Drawing on documentation from the Tsunami Operation, broad-ranging literature review and participatory research in more than 30 communities, the study defined a safe and resilient community as:

1) Being knowledgeable and healthy,

2) Being organized,

3) Being connected,

4) Having infrastructure and services,

5) Having economic opportunities,

6) Being able to manage its natural assets.

(1) Arup International Development operates as a non-profit group within the Arup

Group Ltd. (www.arup.com/internationaldevelopment)

International municipal cooperation as a modality for transferring local best practices in disaster risk management: practice, promise and pitfalls

Kristoffer BERSE1, Yasushi ASAMI2

1Department of Urban Engineering, The University of Tokyo, Japan; 2Center for Spatial Information Science, The University of Tokyo, Japan

The paper introduces the concept of city-to-city cooperation (C2C); one of the modalities for international municipal linking that involves the sharing and, where appropriate, transfers of best practices from one locality to another. It has been estimated that 70 percent of cities worldwide engage in C2C in one way or another; yet there is still little academic understanding as to how it is actually practiced especially in the context of certain sectors such as disaster risk reduction. This paper provides a brief background on the development of C2C as a decentralized development cooperation strategy, and then zeroes in on the experience of some cities and organizations from Asia in enhancing various aspects of disaster risk management through C2C. It concludes with a discussion of the potential and limitations of C2C in enhancing the resilience of cities to disasters.

Disaster cultural resilience of religious communities – case study from Sri Lanka post 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami

Ted Yu Shen CHEN

University of Melbourne, Australia

This paper examines cultural resilience through the lens of religions, namely Muslim, Buddhist and Christian communities in Sri Lanka. Findings from my PhD study where I conducted in-depth interviews with thirty-eight households from three resettlement villages and eight religious NGO officers that participated in the resettlement programs reveal that some religious communities are more resilient than others. Differences in resilience and vulnerability are found to be associated with their attitudes towards community and religious leaderships, perspectives toward the causes of disasters and pathways towards mitigation, family organisations and relationship to places of worship, gender roles, attitudes towards charity, ownership and transference of property and spiritual empowerment.

The case study resettlement villages were selected based on their clearly identifiable religious communities. Moratuwa is an area that has historically been settled by Catholics with early influences from the Spanish missionaries; Kalutara is an area that is predominantly Buddhists with a historical Buddhist stupa and temple in the township and Hambantota, although a majority Buddhist district has a concentration of Muslims living in the coastal town that was severely affected in the tsunami. These case studies are also chosen because they were built by two international religious NGOs - Christian Habitat for Humanity and Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation, both of which considered religion as part of their approach to recovery and reconstruction.

The significance of this research is to contribute to a better understanding of cultural resilience especially religious cultures that can be found across the developing world where entrenched vulnerabilities create many disasters. Insights on how cultural codes, frameworks and attitudes affect disaster preparedness, mitigation and recovery can assist planners and emergency managers working to build resilience in different cultural contexts.

Empowering communities to cope with disaster risks through community-based disaster management

Manash Ronjan BHADRA, NNM Mujibuddaula Sardar Kanak KANAK, Rabiul ISLAM

Shusamaj Foundation, Bangladesh, People's Republic of

Disaster risk is on the rise throughout the world. Over the past two to three decades, the economic losses and the number of people who have been affected by natural disasters have increased more rapidly than both economic and population growth. Natural disasters severely hamper the progress and achievements of sustainable development while, at the same time, physical infrastructure we are constructing may itself constitute a source of risk in the event of future disasters. This is particularly true in the case of natural disaster like cyclones, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis where the majority of victims are killed by their own collapsing houses. From the perspectives of environmental degradation, human intervention, and security aspects, disaster management is a pressing issue for all of us and should be undertaken on a comprehensive basis. The approach seeks communities at risk get engaged in all of its phases: prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. Empowered the community is the most effective approach to achieving sustainability in dealing with natural disaster risks. Shusamaj Foundation is carrying out various community-based programmes to establish disaster prevention as an essential component of sustainable development. Its activities include improvement of the safety levels of core community facilities such as schools; the dissemination of best practices in disaster risk management at the community level; and the formulation of integrated programmes for sustainable development through disaster risk management initiatives. The paper presents analysis and some findings of those programmes which engage communities to deal with disaster risks.

Impact of the 2011 drought among communities in Afghanistan

Salim SUMAR, Laila Naz TAJ

Focus Humanitarian Assistance Europe Foundation, United Kingdom

Afghanistan has endured decades of political instability, conflicts and natural disasters. Food insecurity remains one of the most visible outcomes of this protracted complex emergency. This insecurity is further exacerbated by frequent natural disasters especially droughts that occur cyclically in Afghanistan. In 2011, a drought affected 14 of the 34 provinces contributing to the 7.4 million people that remain food insecure. Our study profiles the impact of the 2011 drought in six provinces of Northern Afghanistan using a combination of qualitative and quantitative assessment tools. Results indicate an average reduction of 90% in the production of wheat in 2011 across the six provinces as compared to the previous year. This translates to a yield of 134 kg/Jerib in 2011 as compared to 1407 kg/Jerib. As a result, 60% of the households relied on food assistance while 55% coped by selling livestock to buy food. Other coping mechanisms at household level included borrowing from relatives, begging, child labour and migration among others. The paper aims to further detail and discuss the impact as well as other coping mechanisms among the communities across the six provinces in Afghanistan. In addition, various recommendations including the role of micro finance, cross border trade, technological innovations and access to markets will be discussed among other recommendations.

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