Joining together for local level impact
The challenge of ensuring local level impact of disaster risk reduction (DRR) policies is clear.
Whilst international frameworks and government policies are needed, delivering change at the local level is still a major challenge and much faster progress is vital. Engaging, supporting and partnering with civil society organisations (CSOs) is critical to speed up impact at the local level. This document provides a reality checklist for delivering local-level impact, highlights the critical role of civil society in achieving this, and provides an activity plan for how civil society and governments can partner in the implementation of the Post-2015 DRR Framework.
In 2014, the Center for Disaster Preparedness (CDP) – a CSO based in the Philippines – partnered with others to deliver participatory local level risk assessments in 26 diverse Barangays (villages) of Mercedes Municipality. They brought local officials and small CSOs together and provided training through the DRR and Management Committees to build their capacity to conduct the participatory risk assessments and train others to do so, even in remote locations.
Based on the results of the participatory risk assessments, communities drafted their own DRR plans and multi-hazard contingency plans in conjunction with local governments. CDP will also be facilitating biannual reviews of the risk assessments so that plans can be updated in light of changing local contexts. CDP also brought different groups together to create community early warning systems and organised hazard simulation drills for disasters highlighted by the assessments to be of the highest priority to community members; including storm surges, typhoons, and landslides. Lessons from these practices and real experiences have resulted in local level action. For example, a direct lesson from the typhoon simulation drills is the development of livelihood protection plans, including the use of floating fish cages, a local practice to build the resilience of local fishing livelihoods.
Key factors enabling this increase in local level resilience include the ability of CDP to facilitate people to work together for the first time, identify shared objectives, establish joint accountability, and build trust. Strong relationships were forged and different perspectives recognised and understood.
The Municipal Government is now reviewing the current DRR, poverty reduction and climate change adaptation policies to ensure community resilience priorities are being taken into account, and developing a Municipal Code that will lead to permanent changes in the way that disaster risk is considered in the drafting of all sectoral policies.
These lessons from the Philippines, replicated in other communities around the world, highlight the tremendous potential for impact at the local level when people work together. CSOs can play a critical role in enabling this collaboration when supported by governments and other groups. Joining hands at the local level must be a focus when implementing the Post-2015 DRR Framework.