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Social protection and labor – Disaster risk management toolkit

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By Hideki Mori, Yuka Makino (co-team leaders), Kenichi Nishkawa-Chavez, Rajib Shaw, Adea Kryeziu, Raiden Dillard, Thomas Vaughan Bowen, Barry Patrick Maher, Matthew Liam Hobson, Ana-Veronica Lopez, Erika Vargas, Phillippe Leite, Semeon Joachim Abel, Rich Webster, Galina Kalvatcheva, and Llanco Talamantes.

This toolkit was conceived for the use of two groups of World Bank Group (WBG) staff and consultants. The primary target users consist of social protection and labor (SPL) specialists who help WBG client countries to strengthen the natural-disaster responsiveness of SPL systems, or more broadly, to mainstream DRM in the country’s SPL policies, programs, and service deliveries. The second most important target users are those who belong to either disaster risk management (DRM) or disaster risk financing (DRF) communities, those work closely with and support the first group, or those are interested in using SPL programs and services as a platform to support their objectives. It is our hope that the knowledge and insights contained in this toolkit will increase the effectiveness of the two target users in assisting their country clients. While some parts of this toolkit are relevant only to WBG staff and consultants, we hope many other parts will also be useful for their in-country counterparts.

SPL specialists in the WBG are typically trained in economics, political science, sociology, and other social sciences. In contrast, DRM specialists tend to be engineers, urban planners, and environmental scientists. Many in the DRF community have degrees in financial economics and business management.

It is not among our objectives to convert SPL specialists into DRM or DRF specialists, or vice-versa. However, our objective includes facilitating communication among the three groups of specialists. When people from different professional specializations come to work together, even a simple word like “risk” is interpreted differently. Engineers are likely to think of physical damage and destruction, where death and injury are the primary human impact to be minimized. SPL specialists, on the other hand, would think of loss of job and income, declining consumption (particularly food), and its long-term impact on human capital. This is what Robert Chambers called “Professional Biases” in his classic book, Rural Development: Putting the Last First. However, to face cross-sectoral challenges, understanding the perspectives of partners from different disciplines is important.

It is also among our objectives to be able to answer questions like those below, which often come to the minds of WBG SPL specialists when they are asked about the linkage between their field and DRM:

  • What SPL instruments are useful for DRM purposes?
  • What are the financial options to make the country’s SPL system ready for disasters?
  • What are the difference between DRM and climate change adaptation (CCA), and how do they relate to each other?
  • What DRM/DRF instruments are critical to SPL?
  • What kind of information needs to be shared between SPL and DRM? E.g. How to integrate poverty maps (SPL) and hazard maps (DRM)?
  • How can the most vulnerable people be identified to render most needed assistance to them?
  • When to use in-kind transfer (e.g. school feeding programs) vs. cash-based approaches for DRM?
  • How to best support specific groups of vulnerable populations, e.g. female-headed households, households with disabilities, and/or the elderly in preparation for disasters?
  • What institutional mechanism is required to assist displaced persons in preparation for disasters?
  • How should the division of labor and coordination mechanisms be organized between the SPL and DRM communities, and at what level (e.g. national, sub-national and local)?
  • How can civil society and the private sector be effectively engaged for integrating SRM with DRM?
  • What is the role that civil society and the private sector play in engaging in SRM and DRM activities?
  • What kind of institutions, legal instruments, and regulatory arrangements need to be built to ensure the integration of SRM with DRM?
  • Where does one find SPL and DRM experts who can offer advice?