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From climate change to Covid: are we ready to deal with natural disasters? – Global problems


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Credit: Bibbi Abruzzini
  • Opinion Bibby Abruzzini (Paris)
  • Inter press service

Straight through this whirlpool of intersecting crises new toolkit and interactive website from For usthen Global Network of Civil Society Organizations for Disaster Risk Reduction (GNDR), Save the Children Switzerland as well as Inventing futuressupported by Fund of France, examines how civil society organizations coordinate disaster risk reduction and post-emergency response. Targeted at civil society networks, activists, government officials and civil society organizations, this toolkit provides best practices from around the world.

“Today we are all actors and victims of crises. How can we better understand them and learn how to deal with them? These practical tools allow us to uncover rates, exemplary actions and their consequences through simple definitions and concrete testimonies from civil society, ”says Karin Moe, Emergency Management Manager at the Fondation de France.

“Building resilient communities in the face of natural and man-made hazards has never been more important. While natural disasters make no distinction, politicians do. Together we can act and pressure decision-makers to promote holistic disaster prevention and reduction and truly people-centered policies, ”says Sarah Strak, Director of Forus.

Civil society at the forefront of disaster management

Resilient communities to Nepal, to conflicts in Mali and peace processes in ColombiaThe toolkit presents six approaches to disaster risk reduction based on case studies collected from the civil society ecosystem. The toolkit addresses a variety of topics, from capacity building to local knowledge, resource mobilization, partnerships with governments, and long-term sustainable development and livelihood resilience, ensuring that communities “come forward” in the aftermath of a disaster.

In particular, this toolkit aims to clarify the key role that civil society organizations play at the forefront in disaster mitigation in the face of a growing and intensifying global risk landscape. Bringing together governments, communities and experts is the only way to confront multiple natural disasters affecting local and social processes such as education, migration, food security and peace. If civil society cannot operate freely or even exist, our collective ability to cope with natural disasters and ensure long-term resilience is limited.

“You have countries where civil society is not even allowed to exist. This reality has changed dramatically since the Arab Spring, when countries live in dire crisis, with military conflicts, where the role of civil society is now not only to fight for its existence, but also to provide the population with basic needs and humanitarian interventions. “, – says Ziad Abdel Samad, director Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND).

Daily Disasters and Inequality

Robert Ninesiga, from UNNGOF, a platform of national civil society organizations in Uganda, argues that in most cases “more effort has been made to respond to natural disasters while ignoring the aspect of disaster prevention”.

Consequently, this requires ongoing conscious awareness and capacity building in relation to disaster prevention, and this can only be effectively achieved if sustainable partnerships between central governments, local authorities, civil society organizations, the media and citizens are strengthened.

Shock events, high impact natural disasters such as conflicts, earthquakes or tsunamis are just the tip of the iceberg. More and more “everyday disasters”Affecting people around the world. Local, small-scale and slow-onset disasters are often “invisible” – far from attention. Low-income people are the most vulnerable and find themselves on the fringes of infrastructure, response systems and media attention.

For example, urban slum dwellers around the world are not only frequently exposed to severe natural disasters such as floods and storms. Bangladesh Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Covid-19 has suffered far more than other communities.

“Most of the slum dwellers receive daily wages but cannot earn money. They do not know how to maintain social distance, because 4-5 people live in one room. Many people use shared bathroom facilities. Hygiene is very difficult. There is not enough room at home to sit or sleep with sufficient distance. Due to lack of money, many slum dwellers only eat once or twice a day. Violence and sexual harassment have increased due to the cramped conditions in society. Children don’t go to school, ”explains Joint Development Action Program (PDAP) that works in the slums of Dhaka.

These pressures exacerbate the usual “day to day” problems associated with air pollution and debris disposal, flooding, wetlands and poor water quality.

Local knowledge and a sustainable future

Civil society organizations often fill a huge gap and find themselves at the forefront of prevention and emergency efforts. IN localization of responses and partnerships are absolutely essential to understanding the needs of communities in pre- and post-disaster scenarios.

In Honduras, civil society organized community-led events to prioritize local action plans across the country.

“Honduras and Central America as a whole have been hit by increased natural disasters over the past 10 years, most of which are related to climate change. Our role in helping communities adapt to climate change and manage natural disasters is through capacity building, humanitarian assistance and advocacy by forging links between local, national, regional and global levels, ”says José Ramón Avila of ASONOG, the national platform of civil society organizations of Honduras.

The intense and cascading nature of risks, such as in the cases of Covid-19 and climate change, pose a serious threat to the achievement of sustainable and sustainable development. sustainable future… Experience gained over the past three decades has shown that disasters and development are closely linked… Ignoring the impact of natural disasters makes it difficult to achieve sustainable development.

“Sustainable development can only be achieved with a full understanding of local risks. Critical to understanding and assessing the complex threats and risks, challenges and opportunities facing the communities most at risk is the need to partner with these people. This hands-on toolkit contains valuable insights and examples from GNDR members and others on how this can be achieved, ”says Bijay Kumar, Executive Director. Global Network of Civil Society Organizations for Disaster Risk Reduction (GNDR)

He also was found that much of the negative impact on sustainable livelihoods does not come from major, “intense” disasters, but from many smaller, “everyday” disasters. It has become critical to tackle intense and daily disasters and integrate our response with the overall work of sustainable development.

The question we need to ask ourselves is: can we build new bridges of solidarity between civil society, communities and governments? Can we prevent and anticipate disasters? Our future is insecure; To build resilient communities, it is imperative to lay strong roots for the prosperity of our societies.

Author Bibby Abruzzini is a communications specialist at Forus.
Find the Disaster Risk Reduction Toolkit and Microsite here. Available in English, French and Spanish.

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© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedOriginal Source: Inter Press Service

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