Dis­as­ter re­silience at the lo­cal level

Sun.Star Davao - - OPINION -

THERE’S a new pub­li­ca­tion from the United Na­tions Of­fice for Dis­as­ter Risk Re­duc­tion (UNISDR) that is a must-read for lo­cal gov­ern­ment ex­ec­u­tives. It’s en­ti­tled, “Words into Ac­tion Guide­lines: Im­ple­men­ta­tion guide for lo­cal dis­as­ter risk re­duc­tion and re­silience strate­gies - A com­pan­ion for im­ple­ment­ing the Sendai Frame­work tar­get E (2018 - Pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion ver­sion)”. You can down­load it from here - http://bit.ly/2tGUeeT

The Sendai Frame­work for Dis­as­ter Risk Re­duc­tion 2015-2030 (Sendai Frame­work) takes over from Hyogo Frame­work for Ac­tion 2005-2015 (HFA) and brings the level of ac­tion not just on haz­ards, ex­po­sure, and vul­ner­a­bil­ity of pop­u­la­tions to ac­tions through prospec­tive,

cor­rec­tive and com­pen­satory mea­sures. In the process, the fo­cus of the Sendai Frame­work is on the lo­cal level and how the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and au­thor­i­ties should re­act to re­duce the risks, ex­po­sure, and vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties.

Thus, one of the plat­forms is build­ing re­silient cities. The UNISDR rec­og­nizes ten es­sen­tials for build­ing re­silient cities. These are: 1. Or­gan­ise for Dis­as­ter Re­silience, where an or­ga­ni­za­tional struc­ture, pro­cesses, and pro­ce­dures are fully iden­ti­fied to re­duce ex­po­sure to dis­as­ter risks and the im­pact and vul­ner­a­bil­ity to the pop­u­lace and vi­tal in­fra­struc­ture and ser­vices.

2. Iden­tify, Un­der­stand and Use Cur­rent and Fu­ture Risk Sce­nar­ios to learn from the past and in the process be able to make in­formed de­ci­sions in­stead of re­peat­ing the same mis­takes over and over again.

3. Strengthen Fi­nan­cial Ca­pac­ity for Re­silience sim­ply be­cause dis­as­ters cost a lot and re­cov­ery will cost even more. “Re­sources can come from city rev­enues, na­tional dis­tri­bu­tion and al­lo­ca­tions to sec­toral de­part­ments, pub­licpri­vate part­ner­ships and tech­ni­cal co­op­er­a­tion, as well as civil so­ci­ety and ex­ter­nal or­ga­ni­za­tions,” UNISDR writes.

4. Pur­sue Re­silient Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment and De­sign as in­te­grat­ing re­silience into so­cioe­co­nomic de­vel­op­ment plans and in­fra­struc­ture not only safe­guards de­vel­op­ment in­vest­ments, it also en­sures that the fa­cil­i­ties and ser­vices of these fa­cil­i­ties are able to serve the peo­ple when they are at their most needy state.

5. Safe­guard Nat­u­ral Buf­fers to En­hance Ecosys­tems’ Pro­tec­tive Func­tions. Time and again, it has been prove that the ecosys­tem pro­vides nat­u­ral pro­tec­tion, giv­ing the great­est im­pe­tus to pro­tect it as well; like nat­u­ral clean wa­ter, fire­wood for cook­ing, and land­scape that doesn’t crum­ble and bury the peo­ple be­cause of abuse and mis­use.

6. Strengthen In­sti­tu­tional Ca­pac­ity for Re­silience as it is the in­sti­tu­tions in place, in­clud­ing the lo­cal gov­ern­ment, that will be the first and sus­tained re­spon­ders.

7. Un­der­stand and Strengthen So­ci­etal Ca­pac­ity for Re­silience. There can never be enough drills, there can never be enough prepa­ra­tions, and there can never be enough in­for­ma­tion dis­sem­i­na­tion.

8. In­crease In­fra­struc­ture Re­silience as in times of dis­as­ter, in­fra­struc­ture to com­mu­ni­cate, trans­port, bring wa­ter, power, and emer­gency ser­vices are most vi­tal.

9. En­sure Ef­fec­tive Dis­as­ter Re­sponse. Pre­pared­ness ef­forts, early warn­ing sys­tems and com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tems must all be in place, all the time, and peo­ple must be prop­erly in­formed and trained on what to do.

10. Ex­pe­dite Re­cov­ery and Build Back Bet­ter. By now, we should have learned our les­sons from typhoon Yolanda. That says it all.

There are case stud­ies to learn from, there are in­puts worth pon­der­ing on. One thing is cer­tain, be­ing dis­as­ter-ready is now a must among lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, and it pays to learn from how oth­ers are do­ing it best and what are the pot­holes to be avoided.

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