Interview Feature: Disaster Risk Reduction in Nepal - 8 Questions for Chakra Pani Sharma, Under Secretary, Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development

from Government of Nepal, UN Country Team in Nepal
Published on 19 Nov 2012

1 . What is Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction?

Community based disaster risk reduction approach focuses on engaging communities in building their resiliency to disasters. This approach aims to increase community awareness and ownership of Disaster Risk Reduction Initiatives. Importantly these initiatives need to be incorporated in the planning stages, at the local level and focus on strengthening local capacity to mitigate, prepare and respond to disasters.

2 . Why is it important to focus on communities for DRR?

Communities are the first to be affected by disasters and they are the first to respond to disasters, so naturally, they should be the focus point for DRR.

In order to ensure we reach vulnerable groups, communities must be actively involved with DRR. Also, engaging communities and utilising their specific skills, knowledge and experience for DRR will lead to sustainable risk reduction.

Working at the community level and adopting a bottom-up approach is very important. If we look at development interventions, they are usually always focused at the community level. It’s crucial for DRR to be mainstreamed into these development program areas at the community level in order to protect the investment and gains of this development from disasters.

3 . How does a community achieve DRR?

In order to achieve DRR and increase community resiliency to disasters, communities need to have an understanding of their risks, the role and responsibilities of all actors, and the technical guidance on how to reduce risks. To do this, communities must be actively involved and committed to DRR. By utilising their own skills and knowledge from the initial planning stages, communities can own the process of achieving resiliency.

The Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development is supporting communities successfully implementation DRR in two ways. First, we are co-coordinators with the IFRC for the NRRC’s Flagship 4, Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction. Under Flagship 4, nine minimum characteristics for a disaster resilient community have been agreed upon. Flagship 4 has recently launched a project tracking survey to track the progress of communities and VDCs against these characteristics.

We have also finalised the Local Disaster Risk Management Planning (LDRMP) guideline for communities. The LDRMP provides communities the tools for vulnerability and capacity assessments and to create local disaster management plans. In addition, the LDRMP creates a mechanism to channel resources for DRR to the VDC level.