Can UK Water Service Providers Manage Risk and Resilience as Part of a Multi-Agency Approach?
University of Exeter, United Kingdom
The flooding of Mythe water treatment works during the severe floods of 2007 in the UK, demonstrated weaknesses in the multi-agency approach to the assessment of risk. Water companies were criticised for not providing vital information regarding the vulnerability and consequences of infrastructure failure during the risk assessment process. This research aims to establish the current level of collaboration between responder organisations and Water companies and whether this approach can achieve a greater resilience of critical infrastructure failure during extreme events.
As defined within the Civil Contingencies Act, 2004, statutory duties of risk assessment are assigned to emergency responder organisations. Whilst a statutory duty is not placed on the Water companies they are expected to support this process through collaboration within Local Resilience Forums. The results of the risk assessment are delivered through the publication of Community Risk Registers, which are used to inform future emergency planning priorities and to help identify resilience capabilities.
Using a mixed methods approach, content analysis was performed on the Community Risk Registers for England, supported with qualitative interviews with Emergency Managers exploring the effectiveness of the multi-agency approach to the assessment of risk. The analysis identified a number of inconsistencies that would suggest the Water companies are still not entirely engaged with the risk assessment process. The results identified likelihood and impact scores assigned to risk categories with the caveat stating ‘the Water Company had yet to provide details of the actual risk assessment.’ Risk category and outcome descriptions had been wrongly assigned and risk assessments had been performed within the same water company area using a style of risk matrix different to the nationally proposed matrix. To improve resilience of critical infrastructure failure during extreme events requires greater engagement of Water companies in the risk assessment process.
Exploring the Effectiveness of Humanitarian NGO-Private Sector Collaborations ─ Interesting & Unlikely Alliances?
THI Ltd., Canada
NGOs, International Agencies and governments are expected to prepare for and respond to disasters more frequently with equivalent or fewer resources. Academia and media increasingly identify disasters as challenging the capacities of disaster relief providers. Humanitarian NGOs are experiencing increased resource competition, well publicized disaster response failures, donor and staff fatigue and public demands for greater capability. The private sector loses productivity, capital assets, market share, and labour, causing income reductions in effected communities. A nation’s GDP is impacted by disaster events and large-scale disasters increasingly have global consequences.
Increased demand for more results with diminishing resources has yielded unexpected innovations, such as NGO-private sector collaborations that transfer resources, expertise and knowledge between themselves. Multi-disciplinary literature review suggests that these collaborations can reduce risk, enhance recovery and increase community resiliency through all disaster phases. However, research into what creates collaborations’ effectiveness is limited.
A case study approach was used to investigate two large, international aid agency and private sector collaborations and to inquire into what facilitates successful collaborations. All collaboration partners were committed to using their skills, resources and expertise to create practical solutions in the disaster risk reduction phases and had clear ideas regarding what worked and what did not.
This research identified twelve practices that participants stated had enhanced effectiveness during the collaboration’s development, expansion and maintenance. These twelve practices were (1) mutual trust/transparency, (2) clear communication, (3) policies/procedures, (4) clear roles/responsibilities/accountabilities that deal with market competition, (5) compatible skills/expertise/knowledge, (6) comprehension of culture and context, (7) critical assessments, (8) collaboration, (9) common commitments, (10) operational evaluations, (11) aligned interests and (12) executive and operational champions.
NGO-private sector collaborations sharing expertise, knowledge and resources are uniquely positioned to maximize disaster risk reduction, preparation, response and recovery and to alleviate pressure on traditional sources of support.
Systematic Knowledge Sharing of Natural Hazard Damages in Public-private Partnerships in Sweden
Karlstad University, Sweden
Goal: In line with the shift, that the neoliberal politics has made it is of importance to understand how knowledge transfer is practiced in public-private partnerships to entail lessons learned to become tools for a more resilient society.
Method and Material: Case study with qualitative semi-constructed interviews, respondents from public and private entities in Sweden are interviewed, regarding lessons learned in maintenance of roads after extreme weather events. A socio-technical system perspective is used for the analysis.
Findings: Adverse effects of climate change are one of the most highly profiled concerns we are facing in terms of both direct and indirect aspects. Systematic learning is, along with e.g. adaptive management and innovation, essential to meet future changes.
During the 1980s and 1990s, a shift in society took place when neoliberal ideas of freedom through deregulation, smaller government and market facilitation became the norm to steer and govern society. As a result, deregulation and liberalization of the public sector in Sweden and Europe evolved. The competitive tendering processes became a tool to operate through strategic collaboration and cooperation across boundaries in society, and to build a resilient society that is well-informed and prepared for the challenges that lay ahead.
It is argued that strategic outsourced procurement allows organizations to concentrate their abilities to controlling processes. The argument is that public-private partnerships will get stronger over time, and become future advantages for parties involved. The notion is that these partnerships can become a strong tool for building societies that are more resilient. Scholars have found barriers hampering cross-border sharing of knowledge. These barriers can be of different types, policies, plans, goals and means for each organization, resources, abilities to handle problems, knowledge and understanding of problems and solutions.
Involving the Mining Sector in Achieving Land Degradation Neutrality
1United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, Germany; 2ETH - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich; 3KEDGE Business School; 4University of Leeds, Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Environment
Land degradation neutrality (LDN), was adopted by the UN General Assembly as one of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals, to be achieved by 2030. LDN can be defined as a state whereby the amount of healthy and productive land resources, necessary to support ecosystem services, remains stable or increases within specified temporal and spatial scales.
Achieving LDN at global level implies the introduction of Sustainable Land Management (SLM) practices and land rehabilitation and restoration projects over a combined surface of approximately 12 million ha of land, representing the current land degradation footprint of the global economy. This is a vast endeavour that cannot be handled by a single institution. Businesses with large land footprints and materiality risks need to contribute to the effort.
In this paper, we examined the business case for mining companies to engage in LDN. The analysis of Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR) policies and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reports of 30 mining companies revealed no significant uptake, despite evidence of attractive risk-adjusted returns. We considered this to be a function of the lack of enabling conditions, such as regulatory or market-driven incentives, as well as inadequate financial architecture to support the investments required to turn the business case into practice.
Our analysis revealed a potentially vast, largely untapped opportunity for engaging mining companies in socially and environmentally responsible operations compatible with SLM and LDN. With no legally binding regulatory frameworks in place, we argue that they would ultimately only engage if there is an enabling context that creates or reinforces the business case for SLM/LDN. Market-driven solutions such as industry standards for sustainable land management or land stewardship certifications, together with innovative financial solutions to mobilize adequate patient capital could provide the right incentives to trigger the necessary response.
C&A Save the Children Urban DRR Project
Save the Children, Switzerland
Save the Children and the C&A Foundation have initiated a partnership for three years focusing on the most vulnerable segments of society, children and mothers. Considering that children and mothers often are the most affected by and the most at risk in emergency situations the partnership focuses on responding to the needs of children and mothers in emergencies but also addresses how children and mothers can become more resilient through disaster risk reduction in an urban setting. The ‘C&A DRR Innovation Fund’ has a quite significant range in terms of number of countries in Asia and Americas. The partnership is therefore in a uniquely privileged position to have a key private sector DRR partner investing funds in learning and research to improve the quality and impact of urban DRR programming for the most vulnerable. A combination of program sharing and learning activities, the development of easy to use tools and guidance and the undertaking of new and targeted research are expected to greatly contribute to a step change in the way other NGOs and actors alike use learning to deliver against Urban DRR for the most vulnerable.