Mozambique and the International Agreements Mozambique has compliance with several International Agreements and is a signatory of several international agreements focusing on environment dealing with DRR&EP, CCH. One example is the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015the global disaster risk reduction agenda that identifies several priorities for action as a guide for states, international and regional organizations, and other stakeholders. The HFA includes a mandate in relation to gender equality and empowerment of women in the context of disaster risk reduction, referring the need for mainstreaming gender into all DRR policies, plans and decision-making processes, including those related to risk assessment, early warning, information management, and education and training. Moreover the Platform on Gender Equality and Disaster Risk Reduction agreed by all nations represented at its World Conference, established that gender, should be mainstreaming in the five Hyogo Framework priorities. Gender approach should be included in disaster management initiatives; in capacity building that addresses women’s groups and community-based organizations; in communication and information dissemination, in training and education with holistic approach that include socio-cultural issues; in providing opportunities to women in science and technology; and in program implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
Mozambique has made encouraging strides in reducing its poverty levels and is making gradual progress towards benchmarks set by the national Action Plan for the Reduction of Absolute Poverty (PARPA) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Gender and disaster risk management are among the eight cross cutting issues of PARPA II. In line with HFA a ten-year strategy aimed at strengthening the capacity to mitigate the impact of frequent natural disasters in Mozambique (National Master Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction (PDPMCN). Provincial and district level authorities, including INGC representatives, need to be supported to take on their leadership role in preparedness and response. As it has been highlighted in several worldwide experiences (see case studies and lessons learned), local governments are key actors when implementing DRR&EP and CCH activities and tools in the region/area. Therefore effective DRR in Mozambique requires coordination and that capacity building efforts at central level be replicated and strengthened at provincial, district and community levels where the disaster risks are evident.
Effective coordination on gender issues in DRR &EP and CCH is one of the key issues. No single intervention, individual actor or organization can effectively address the diverse needs of women and men alone, particularly if entities in the field are not sensitive to these gender differences. An effective coordination requires assessment of the situation and needs of men and women, development of common strategies; coordination meetings with all stakeholders and setting aside adequate funds for coordination mechanisms.
Support at this level is also needed to address early recovery once an emergency is over and the external humanitarian partners have left, in order to ensure a smooth transition to the reconstruction/development phase. In this phase it is important that institutions are prepared and have already a plan of action to provide and implement several activities according to women’s and men’s needs (e.g: skills training; income generation training activities).These should definitively include gender analysis as a cross-cutting matter especially at the decentralized level, a situation that through the official documentation of Mozambique that were studied, was not clearly found.
Gender equality in DRR&EP, CCH mitigation and adaptation does not mean merely addressing women’s issues. It means addressing concerns of men and women, the relations between them and the root causes of imbalances. It is important to consider that gender inequalities have negative effects on women’s coping capacity but they are important actors of change as they are holders of significant knowledge and skills related to mitigation, adaptation, and reduction of risks in the face of DRR and CCH. The importance of mainstreaming gender equality for the recognition of human rights, sustainable development and/or poverty eradication and disaster reduction has been acknowledged in a series of international instruments. In Mozambique even if the efforts to comply with gender mainstreaming are recognized, they still remain at a macro level with constrains on how to implement at field level the guidelines provided in the several government instruments and mechanisms.
Gender-specific vulnerabilities and challenges in DRR&EP: good practices and lessons learned what does the literature shows as key issues to mainstreaming gender From the literature review, there are common agreements in that, to address communities at risk, local governments play an important role in:
Coordinating and sustaining a multi-level, multi-stakeholder platform to promote disaster risk reduction in the region or for a specific hazard;
Engaging local communities and citizens with disaster risk reduction activities and link their concerns with government priorities;
Strengthening institutional capacities to implement practical disaster risk reduction actions;
Implementing innovative tools and techniques for disaster risk reduction.
All of these are key issues to be considered by the international community, donors and the GoM when supporting DRR&EP activities at local level.
In many cases, at local and field level it has been acknowledged that there are difficulties in understanding local risks and vulnerabilities due to the lack of sufficient knowledge about disaster risks and vulnerabilities of their communities and appropriate disaster risk reduction measures. Therefore it is important that different stakeholders (national governments, NGOs and UN agencies) and partners provide strong support to help local governments to better plan and manage local disaster risks. In this context training to local staff is essential to implement accurate, efficient and effective programs that address the most vulnerable.
Some considerations for successful experiences on gender mainstreaming in DRR&EP and CCH are presented below :
The use of an integrated holistic approach, that is innovative creating and adapting several tools to highlight and integrate gender considerations in projects and programmes. Gender must be a cross-cutting issue in DRR&EP and CCH mitigation and adaptation activities, addressed through a multi-stakeholder approach where political, technical, social, developmental and humanitarian activities are coordinated. Holistic approach mainstreamed by gender offers an opportunity for re-examining gender relations in the community and help to achieve disaster resilience. Implementing activities addressing women a will be needed when there are cultural prevailing patterns in the community that indicate that activities must undertaken with men and women separately.
Using the women local and traditional knowledge in DRR&EP and CHH activities, can stimulate innovative strategies adapted to the environment allowing the development of actions that reflects their practical needs and interests.
Natural disasters exacerbate existing gender inequalities. Programmes and projects on DRR &EP may create further discrimination and injustices if gender is not taken into account, and the policies to respond are built on the same unequal power relations that created the problem. Women are agent of change. Use disaster recovery activities as an opportunity for women’s access to and control over resources at all levels through income generation projects, revolving funds, and other schemes that can provide their economic autonomy.
Addressing women’s strategic needs in projects and programs are needed, that can lead to changes in traditional women roles that will challenge the “male” culture. Developing and implementing non-traditional training and skills such as masonry, mobile phone servicing, and hand-pump repairing are options that could lead women to acquire economic autonomy, and enabling them to negotiate a change in gender traditional roles.
In Mali the use of a participatory approach in project development to allow grassroots women to assess their own needs and generate their own innovative solutions, was a key factor that lead to the success of a project where women developed sustainable alternatives to wood trade, changing their agriculture practices to a more environmental friendly source of income.
In Indonesia the use of DRR&EP and CCH activities as an opportunity to change women’s traditional role and status in the community, helped to open new opportunities to engender Acehnese women’s legal rights for a better future in the law and regulations that protect both women and men equality.
Collection of qualitative data on the vulnerabilities of women and men contributes to build their capacity profile in the community. This will help to identify sources of resilience, coping strategies and alternative livelihood opportunities that exist within communities. This information will contribute to develop activities in view of needed changes on the gendered division of labour and gender roles. Collecting, developing and implementing data disaggregated by sex on DRR&EP, was a good example implemented by SNHA NGO in Nagapattinam India, that showed how it is possible to respond to an emergency in a manner that is equitable and gender-sensitive. The relief, rehabilitation and disaster mitigation policies call for this information to be periodically collected, updated and analyzed from a gender perspective.
Development of tools is essential to analyze gender issues in DRR&EP and CCH so that field practitioners and policy makers can understand gender-based vulnerabilities when they develop projects.
Gender analysis and participatory vulnerability assessments in communities subjected to natural disasters is of vital importance. Developing a participatory in-depth examination of women and men vulnerability empowers and motivates women and men to take appropriate actions. Linking disaster preparedness and response to long-term development helps to understand vulnerability, its root causes and to identify the most vulnerable groups.
Gender issues in DRR &EP and CCH are not gender neutral. Rehabilitation, and reconstruction, processes need to include a gender perspective in view of the pre-existing socio-cultural and economic vulnerabilities rooted in the unequal gender relationships that exists within most groups of men and women. One of the challenges is to involve men in reproductive activities that lead to changes in their roles. This is a long process that has to take into consideration cultural and traditional norms, to avoid future negative reactions that can jeopardize changes.
Training of national and local authorities and staff working in DDRR&EP and CCH using a holistic approach that includes socio-cultural analysis, is indispensable. This also includes how to use and adapt existing different tools to implement a gender analysis and a vulnerability assessment.
Ensure that all girls and boys benefit equally from education in emergency situations. It is important to understand the social and gender dynamics that might affect boys and girls, on the supply and the demand of education.
Women and men have different perception of hazards. Often women are at risk of violence and may be unable to have access to aid and make their needs known. Commonly men are assigned a protection role however they can also face situations of risk-taking during and subsequent to a natural disaster. They can be caught between gendered demands that define the notions of ‘manhood’ in patriarchal societies.
Priority areas for action It emerges from the data collected in the literature review, that under the context of Mozambique, the following recommendations apply:
Implementation of gender analysis and vulnerability assessments before starting a project proposal , in coordination with all mechanisms and institutions responsible for disaster risk reduction, climate change, and poverty reduction activities;
Mainstreaming of gender into strategies and plans and implementation of a gender approach in planning and programming;
Insurance of equal access to early warning systems on natural hazard for women and men;
Development and production of statistics desegregated by sex on the impact of disasters, carrying out of gender-sensitive vulnerability, risk and vulnerability assessments and developing gender-sensitive indicators to monitor and measure progress;
Public and media awareness increase on gender sensitive vulnerabilities and capacities in disasters and gender specific needs and concerns in disaster risk reduction and management and CCH;
Organization and development of research on cost-benefit and efficiency of gender-sensitive policies and programmes in disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and poverty reduction;
Linkage of DDRR&EP and CCH mitigation and adaptation from a gender perspective;
Mainstreaming of gender in disaster preparedness, response and contingency planning making them respond to concerns and needs specific and men and women;
Increase of women’s participation in disaster relief coordination and insurance of equal access to disaster relief assistance between men and women;
Building and enhancement of the capacities pertinent to national institutions to enable gender mainstreaming into all development sectors.
In the aftermath of natural disasters, affected communities will need help to restart agricultural activities as soon as possible, in order to meet household food security needs adequately and restore resilience. Food security is multidimensional and multi sector and involves many different stages from production to storage. Women, girls, boys and men have a special role in each of food security dimension and in each of them there are gender implications specially when referring to secure family wellbeing. Women are the main responsible for the processing, preparation and provision of food for the household in the family. In a post-disaster situation, the roles of women and men may change and therefore it is recommended to assess division of labor in food security and nutrition wellbeing for the household. This is also true in the distribution process because in some societies, women and/or children can be victims of food discrimination. Gender issues should be mainstreamed in availability, access, utilization of food. Gender aspects are relevant to most of these issues since women and men are generally affected differently by natural disasters, emergency and displacement and have different access to and control over resources.
Literature and experience, all steer towards the conclusion that working towards gender equality (i.e. women and men) is central to develop successful initiatives. The value of incorporating gendered stakeholder analysis into projects is not to consider poor women as victims who need to be saved but mainly to call attention that they are also agents of change. Gender analysis in projects and programmes highlight the different roles, and impacts on women and men in the proposed activities and how to support them in pro gender equality. In view of the different forms of vulnerability, inequalities and other social characteristics of men and women and of their options/potential and consequences in different areas, a vulnerability assessment is an essential element both in terms of program-efficiency and in terms of empowerment. Lessons learned in the example of this literature review, reveal that interventions to save lives and secure livelihoods in emergencies are more efficient and effective when gender differences are properly understood.
Taking a new, cutting edge approach to the issues around gender and DRR&EP and CCH requires a reframing of the problem in a way that takes account of core power differentials, particularly the relationships between women and men. A forward-looking approach requires more than a simple integration of gender into existing policies, but somewhat an emphasis on transformation and change that need analysis of the causes and impacts of natural disasters and climate change in order to find key opportunities to bring together men and women at the centre of all responses, as participants and beneficiaries in the immediate and longer-term programs and projects .
General characterization of the climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction communities44
CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION
DISASTER RISK REDUCTION
strong scientific basis
environmental science perspective
engineering and natural science basis
traditional focus on event and exposure and on technological solutions
shift from response and recovery to awareness and preparedness
short term but increasingly longer term
Organizations and institutions
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC)
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
National environment and energy authorities
United Nations (UN)
Pro Vention Consortium (World Bank)
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
International, national and local civil society organizations
National Adaptation Plans of Action (NAPA) for Least Developed Countries
UN International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR)
Yokohama Strategy and Plan of Action for a Safer World
UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR)
Hyogo Framework for Action 2005–15
Special Climate Change Fund
Least Developed Countries Fund
Kyoto Protocol Adaptation Fund
National civil defence/emergency response
International humanitarian funding (for instance, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
Beijing Agenda for Global Action on Gender-Sensitive Disaster Risk Reduction45
Beijing, China, 22 April 2009
We, the participants of the International Conference on Gender and Disaster Risk Reduction7 from 43 countries, bringing expertise and knowledge from all regions of the world, have met in Beijing, China, from 20-22 April 2009. This conference has built on the gains of a series of regional and international events promoting gender equality in disaster risk reduction, including all gender-sensitive policies, risk assessment, early warning, and success indicators for building resilience of nations and communities to disasters.
We acknowledge key regional and international processes and declarations such as the Hyogo Framework for Action, Ministerial Conferences on Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia and Africa, the Call for Action on Gender and Climate Change by the International Colloquium in Liberia, the Nairobi Plan of Action for African Parliamentarians on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, the Beijing Platform for Action, and the Manila Declaration for Global Action on Gender in Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction. These processes and declarations present a consensus among the world’s political leaders on the critical importance of gender mainstreaming to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
We, the participants from 43 countries, UN agencies and civil society organizations around the world, have carefully reviewed progress and have identified and agreed upon challenges from gender perspective under the five themes of the Conference: (1) Promoting policy changes for gender-sensitive disaster risk reduction; (2) Linking disaster risk reduction with poverty reduction from a gender perspective; (3) Making disaster risk reduction a tool for climate change adaptation; (4) Ensuring equal participation of men and women in building community resilience to disasters and (5) Women and post-disaster relief and reconstruction: One year after the Wenchuan Earthquake in China.
We fully recognize that disasters triggered by natural hazards such as flood, drought, tropical storms and earthquakes are on the rise. Today, the most frequent disasters are climate-related. The rising trend of disasters poses serious challenges for the world to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, especially food security, poverty reduction, and environment sustainability. International data available shows that disasters hit poor people the most, although the rich are not necessarily excluded from the impacts.
We are fully aware that women comprise 70% of the world’s poor and that women are more vulnerable to the impact of disaster due to existing socio-economic, political and cultural disadvantages. Prevailing policies and frameworks do not adequately recognize and support the crucial role that women play in sustaining household and community economies and social networks. Climate change will make the daily lives of millions of women in developing countries even more difficult, primarily due to environmental degradation.
We raise concern that gender remains a marginalized issue in the current national and international negotiations around disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Gender considerations have barely been applied as a fundamental principle in policy and framework development.
We are fully convinced that the issues of gender, poverty reduction, climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction and post disaster recovery and reconstruction that we discussed at this conference are all components of the development process. Gender equality is a fundamental development issue that needs to be integrated and addressed throughout the development process. Disaster risks and the risks arising from climate change and rapid urbanization are ever increasing challenges that the development process faces.
We need political will and commitment, scientifically sound approaches, policies, programmes and action plans to address these complex issues. It is important to adopt an innovative and comprehensive approach. We need integrated development policies, planning and implementation processes that take into account disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation with gender as a cross-cutting issue.
We fully promote multi-stakeholder, multi-sector, multi-disciplinary and multi-level cooperation and collaboration as a win-win option to achieve and sustain gender equality. Only in this way will sustainable development be achievable.
We are all convinced of the importance and need for integrating a gender perspective in policies and programmes in our own capacities as politicians, senior government officials, and development and humanitarian actors, and we are committed to advocating for this.
We, therefore, recommend nine achievable actions before 2015. We request national Governments to make strong commitments in line with international mechanisms:
Increase political commitment to gender analysis and gender mainstreaming through enhanced cooperation and collaboration between Ministries responsible for disaster risk reduction, climate change, poverty reduction and gender issues, with the participation of civil society;
Develop and review national policies, relevant laws, strategies, plans, and budgets and take immediate action to mainstream gender into national development policies, planning and programmes;
Foster the linkage between disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation from a gender perspective through policy and administrative measures;
Collect gender-specific data and statistics on the impact of disasters, carry out gender-sensitive vulnerability, risk and capacity assessments and develop gender sensitive-indicators to monitor and measure progress;
Increase public and media awareness of gender-sensitive disaster vulnerabilities and capacities, and of gender-specific needs and concerns in disaster risk reduction and management;
Support research institutions to study the costs, benefits and efficiency of gender-sensitive policies and programmes in disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and poverty reduction;
Secure the actual application of disaster risk assessments as part of development policy-making and programme formulation to prevent disasters from making the poor even poorer;
Improve and mainstream a gender perspective and equal participation between men and women in the coordination of disaster preparedness, humanitarian response, and recovery through capacity building and training;
Build and enhance the capacities of professional organizations, communities and pertinent national and local institutions to enable gender mainstreaming in all development sectors.
We, the participants, endorse the nine points listed above and reaffirm our commitment to gender equality as a fundamental development issue needing to be integrated and addressed throughout the development process.
We, the participants, require accountability from all development stakeholders, in particular requiring that:
Governments, especially national committees or platforms, development cooperation partners for disaster risk reduction, review and report their progress in the implementation of the above actions, as part of the reports to UNISDR for the mid-term review of Hyogo Framework of Action in 2011;
Parliamentarians and counsellors take action to ensure gender mainstreaming in national legislation through policy and budget allocations at national and local levels;
UNISDR and UNIFEM facilitate the process in mainstreaming a gender perspective into disaster risk reduction and provide technical support to the governments and all stakeholders;
UNISDR in collaboration with other relevant UN agencies continue to develop tools and methodologies to build awareness and support national processes to ensure that gender equality considerations are fully integrated in all disaster management processes and practices;
UNDP in collaboration with other UN agencies provides concrete guidelines and support for making disaster risk assessment and reduction an integral part of poverty reduction strategies and programmes at country and local level;
The World Bank and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) take action to ensure disaster risk reduction measures are an integral part of country and sector development assistance;
UNFCCC secretariat and UNISDR work closely together to provide concrete guidelines for making gender-sensitive disaster risk reduction part of the Copenhagen strategy for climate change adaptation at COP-15.
We therefore recommend that the global initiative on gender and disaster risk reduction should be linked to the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action and use the biennial Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction as a mechanism to monitor and assess the progress made at national level.
Manila Declaration for Global Action on Gender in Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction
Manila, Philippines, 22 October 2008
We, the participants of the Third Global Congress of Women in Politics and Governance, on Gender in Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction, have gathered in Manila, Philippines, 19-22 October, 2008,
UNDERSCORING that women are vital agents of change, holders of valuable knowledge and skills, and can be powerful leaders from community to global level in climate change mitigation, adaptation and in disaster risk reduction;
RECOGNIZING that effects of climate change are one of the most urgent human security, ecological and development challenges of our time— exacerbating poverty, forced migration and conflict;
HIGHLIGHTING the close link between climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction for which the Hyogo Framework of Action 2005- 2015 provides a guide to better protect our societies and economies from current and future hazards;
UNDERLINING the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that climate change impacts will vary among regions, generations, ages, classes, income groups, occupations and gender, and that the most marginalized will be disproportionately affected;
ACKNOWLEDGING that industrialized countries have a historical responsibility for climate change;
NOTING the lack of awareness in many countries on the issue of climate change and disaster risk reduction;
EMPHASIZING that women make up the vast majority of the world’s most impoverished people and face unequal access to and control over resources, technology, services, land rights, credit and insurance systems, and decision-making power;
RECALLING the 2007 Human Development Report, which states that climate change is likely to magnify existing patterns of gender inequalities; and
DENOUNCING the absence of a gender perspective in the global agreements on climate change, despite national, regional and international commitments, and legally binding instruments on gender equality;
HEREIN DECLARE THAT
Climate change and its negative impacts must be understood as a development issue with gender implications that cuts across all sectors (social, cultural, economic, and political) from the community to the global level; and concerted efforts are required by all stakeholders to ensure that climate change and disaster risk reduction measures are gender responsive, sensitive to indigenous knowledge systems and respect human rights;
Women and men must equally participate in climate change, disaster risk reduction decision-making processes at community, national, regional and international levels;
The Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) urge its Secretariat to adhere to human rights frameworks and standards, and international and national commitments to gender equality, such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Agenda 21, the Beijing Platform for Action, Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820, ECOSOC 2005/31, the Millennium Development Goals, the Hyogo Framework for Action and the UN Convention on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
Parties to the UNFCCC:
Shall request its Executive Secretary to develop and implement a strategy to ensure gender considerations are fully integrated in the Secretariat’s work plan, programs, assistance to the Parties, and cooperation with financing mechanisms;
Shall ensure participation of women and gender experts during the preparation and presentation of national communications, as well as gender parity at national and international meetings, in particular at the Conference of Parties, and recognize women as a Constituency;
Should request the Secretariat to cooperate with international organizations and donors, in the development of gender sensitive policies and program guidelines to aid Governments in ensuring gender equality while reducing climate-related risks and adapting to climate change at national and community level;
Financial institutions and funding mechanisms supporting climate change measures and disaster risk reduction should:
Integrate gender-sensitive criteria into planning, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of programs, projects and initiatives;
Allocate adequate resources to address the needs of women in climate change mitigation, adaptation and disaster risk reduction, for example through funding appropriate and environmentally sound technologies and supporting women’s grassroots initiatives in sustainable use of natural resources;
Refrain from funding of extractive industries, such as mining, logging and oil and natural gas extractions that exacerbate climate change, poverty and gender inequality.
Market-based mechanisms, such as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), carbon trading funds and credits, must be made accessible to both women and men and must ensure equitable benefits. Thus, CDM should fund projects that enhance energy efficiency and make renewable energy technologies available and affordable to women for household needs, enhancing economic activities and socio-economic mobility,
Building on the Bali Plan of Action, UNFCCC (Article 6), and the Hyogo Framework for Action (Priority 3) Governments should:
Promote, facilitate, develop and implement public awareness campaigns, education and training programs on climate change and disaster risk reduction, targeting women and men, and boys and girls alike;
Facilitate access to information on climate change and disaster risk reduction policies and results of actions, which are needed by women and men to understand, address and respond to climate change and disaster risk, taking into account local and national circumstances such as quality of internet access, literacy and language issues;
Systematically document and make accessible best practices on gender responsive climate change and disaster risk reduction initiatives, facilitating replication of such practices;
All development partners shall ensure that affirmative action is promoted, and climate change and disaster risk reduction measures are rapidly adopted in high risk areas, such as Africa and small island states;
Governments, their respective statistical offices or bureaus, international organizations and financial institutions should collect sex-disaggregated data in every sector and make these readily available;
Governments and international organizations must pursue gender responsive budgeting to ensure adequate allocation of resources to enhance the capacity of women, especially the poorest and most disadvantaged, to foster their resilience to climate change and disasters;
Governments, regional and international organizations should monitor, prepare for, and respond to climate-induced human displacement, migration and conflict, paying special attention to the needs of women and children;
South-South and South-North cooperation must be promoted and coordinated to effectively respond to the global issues of gender in climate change, disaster risk reduction and food security;
Women organizations and specialized agencies, civil society, parliamentarians, government ministries and departments responsible for gender equality and women’s affairs must have a stronger voice and role in the discussions and decisions that are being made on climate change and disaster risk reduction.
WE DECLARE OUR FULL COMMITMENT to contribute to these goals and to cooperate with each other and all relevant stakeholders – including governments, parliamentarians, the private sector, civil society, indigenous peoples, academia, religious institutions and individuals – with the intent to carry this declaration forward to all meetings through which decisions on climate change, disaster risk reduction are made, including UNFCCC COP-14 (Poznan), COP-15 (Copenhagen), the Second Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction and beyond.
October 22, 2008
Dusit Thani Hotel
Disaster means “A serious disruption of normal life that includes major loss of lives or property, too severe for a society or community to cope with and recover from on its own. Disasters can result from natural, biological or technological hazards, like, among others, hurricanes, earthquakes, drought and floods.”
Disaster risk reduction (DRR):47 is “a cross-cutting development process with the goal of reducing losses from natural hazards. DRR can be expressed as an overarching philosophy or framework embedded in sustainable development. It aims to reduce disaster vulnerability and increase resilience by encompassing disciplines like disaster management, disaster mitigation and disaster preparedness, and pursuing action across the social, political, scientific, and humanitarian and development sectors.”
Natural hazards by themselves do not cause disasters. It is the combination of an exposed, vulnerable and ill-prepared population with a hazard event that results in a disaster. Climate change increases disaster risks in two ways: increasing the frequency and/or severity of weather and climate hazards, and increasing communities’ vulnerability to natural hazards due to the combined effects of ecosystem degradation, reduced availability of water for ecosystems and agriculture, and changes in peoples’ livelihoods.
Awareness of risk is a necessary condition for disaster risk management and reduction and “Risk assessment is a required step for the adoption of adequate and successful disaster reduction policies and measures.”, a methodology that determines the nature and the extent of risk and analyzes potential hazards, evaluates vulnerabilities by applying quantitative and qualitative analysis of risk and its consequences.
The disaster risk reduction approach understands risk comprehensively: “Disaster risk reduction is a conceptual framework of elements considered with the possibilities to minimize vulnerabilities and disaster risks throughout a society, to avoid (prevention) or to limit (mitigation and preparedness) the adverse impacts of hazards, within the broad context of sustainable development” (Source: ISDR).
The probability of harmful consequences, or expected loss of lives, people injured, property, livelihoods, economic activity disrupted (or environment damaged) resulting from interactions between natural or human induced hazards and vulnerable conditions. (Source: ISDR). Function of probability and magnitude of different impacts (Source: IPCC).
How do practitioner asses DRR and CCH?
The conceptual emphasis of this term unites practitioners seeking to address vulnerabilities across different contexts. They have common factors such as the people, wildlife, buildings, etc. that can experience the outcome; the identification of endogenous and exogenous factors that influence and can be influenced and estimated time over which the outcome is expected to emerge.
Disaster/risk analysis involves understanding (i) the types of hazards that might affect people and also (ii) the different levels of vulnerability of different groups of people. Disaster risk reduction practitioners are concerned with increasing exposure to hazards and seek to address it by influencing a society's intrinsic capacity to cope with, and adapt to, changing environments and shocks. Disaster risk reduction practitioners are likely to assess the intrinsic characteristics of the affected population – and how these elements at risk might influence/ contribute to the probable outcome. This difference perhaps also bears significance on the estimated time over which the outcome is expected to emerge.
Disaster Preparedness: definition pre-disaster activities that are undertaken within the context of disaster risk management and are based on sound risk analysis. This includes the development/enhancement of an overall preparedness strategy, policy, institutional structure, warning and forecasting capabilities, and plans that define measures geared to helping at-risk communities safeguard their lives and assets by being alert to hazards and taking appropriate action in the face of an imminent threat or an actual disaster. Disaster Preparedness and the HFA: Priority 5 of the Hyogo Framework for Action specifically focuses on the need to strengthen disaster preparedness for effective response at all levels. Implementing Priority 5 requires a common understanding of what constitutes and effective disaster preparedness system - including an understanding of disaster risk factors. The HFA specifically underlines a few key activities that should be undertaken in view of strengthening disaster preparedness at all levels. These are:
Strengthen policy, technical and institutional capacities in regional, national and local disaster management, including those related to technology, training, and human and material resources.
Promote and support dialogue, exchange of information and coordination among early warning, disaster risk reduction, disaster response, development and other relevant agencies and institutions at all levels, with the aim of fostering a holistic approach towards disaster risk reduction.
Strengthen and when necessary develop coordinated regional approaches, and create or upgrade regional policies, operational mechanisms, plans and communication systems to prepare for and ensure rapid and effective disaster response in situations that exceed national coping capacities.
Prepare or review and periodically update disaster preparedness and contingency plans and policies at all levels, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable areas and groups. Promote regular disaster preparedness exercises, including evacuation drills, with a view to ensuring rapid and effective disaster response and access to essential food and non-food relief supplies, as appropriate, to local needs.
Promote the establishment of emergency funds, where and as appropriate, to support response, recovery and preparedness measures.
Develop specific mechanisms to engage the active participation and ownership of relevant stakeholders, including communities, in disaster risk reduction, in particular building on the spirit of volunteerism
Vulnerability: refers to “Conditions determined by physical, social, economic, and environmental factors that increase the susceptibility of a community to the impact of hazards”. The more vulnerable a community is to a natural hazard, the greater its disaster risk. Disastrous losses can result from natural hazards; but whether or not a disaster occurs, and how bad the disaster is, depends on the strength of the natural hazard, and on how vulnerable the people are. Disaster risk can be reduced by reducing human vulnerabilities.
The concept of vulnerability is central to disaster risk reduction and there are some few Key Definitions:48
The degree to which a system is susceptible to, and unable to cope with, adverse effects of climate change, including climate variability and extremes. Vulnerability is a function of the character, magnitude, and rate of climate change and variation to which a system is exposed, its sensitivity and its adaptive capacity (Source: IPCC).
ISDR defines Vulnerability as the conditions determined by physical, social, economic and environmental factors or processes, which increase the susceptibility of a community to the impact of hazards. For positive factors, which increase the ability of people to cope with hazards
All individuals and communities are to varying degrees vulnerable to hazards. Among disaster risk reduction practitioners, there are different dimensions of vulnerabilities according to the elements at risk – physical, social, economic, and environmental. Vulnerability refers to susceptibilities of the built environment and may be described as “exposure”.
Factors of vulnerability include levels of literacy and education, health infrastructure, the existence of peace and security, access to basic human rights, systems of good governance, social equity, traditional values, customs and ideological beliefs and overall collective organizational systems. The poor and predominantly female and elderly populations are characterized by higher economic vulnerability as they suffer proportionally larger losses in disasters and have limited capacity to recover. Similarly, an economy lacking a diverse productive base is generally more vulnerable to disasters in the sense that it is less likely to sustain recovery from disaster impacts and will perhaps also lead to forced migrations. Diminished biodiversity, soil degradation and water scarcity threaten food security and health.
Often, when disaster risk reduction practitioners assess vulnerability, they wish to ascertain the intrinsic 'condition' of people—the physical, social, economic and environmental factors that determine people's capacity to reduce the potential impacts of a hazard event and cope with its occurrence. They are often interested to determine if a particular climate hazard will impact a particular locale, including the population living in that locale. In other words, for many managers working on climate change, if a climate impact, such as sea-level rise will affect a particular coastline, including its population and ecosystems, the area is considered vulnerable. Climate change experts are more likely to consider the long term impacts, in decades and centuries, of climate variability and change as well as related environmental change (e.g., degradation of coastline and sea level rise).
Global trends indicate that at present it is growing vulnerability that is driving the increase in disaster risk:49