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Wdr2013 oct7 final light

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  • BIt is an honour to be here todayto present the 2013 World Disasters Report focused on technology in humanitarian action.For the format of my presentation this morning I’ll spend ten minutes going through the key points and messagesfrom the sevenchapters of the report. As some of you may know, the WDR has an impressive history, first being published in 1993 and every edition being independently written by leading academics across the world. The fact that it is independently written adds to the credibility and the value of the report, particularly on this year’s very important topic.This year’s report was developed and lead in partnership with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. If you are interested there are multiple launches taking place around the world today and you can follow these online through the hashtag and website you see here on the slide.  
  • To begin with the reportgives an overview of the the many types of humanitarian communication technologies. While its impossible to summarize all of these examples there are many that are familiar to us in this region including:The use of technology for early warning say from a tsunami or typhoon: The mapping of information or what’s known as crisis mapping, as we saw in the Philippines after Typhoon Bopha:And the use of social media to collect information and to talk to communities, whether that be through twitter, facebook or other platforms. BWe will also hear more detail from each of the panelist later on specific examples in different disasters that have happened in Asia Pacific and how technology has played a role in those responses.
  • Before going into more details about the report its important to reflect on the current context we find ourselves in.While there were fewer disasters in 2012 compared with previous years, millions continue to be affected by disasters – some of the statistics highlighted on this slide.
  • In addition you can see from the data on this slide take from the report access to mobile phones and mobile internet has increased.In only five years low to middle income countries have roughly doubled mobile subscriptions. This has made SMS one of the most widely used data application in the world.Additionally the potential contribution of technology to humanitarian action has also been largely unlocked by the integration of mobile technology hardware and applications into one place – our phones, tablets or laptops.We can now access most things from our phones – whether that be social media and email or banking.So one of the key messages from the report is that the future of humanitarian action largely depends on how humanitarians, government and private sector harness technologies in new and creative ways. While at the same time addressing the risks, opportunities and sometimes failures that emerge as a result of technological innovations. Thismay be the most important factor influencing humanitarian effectiveness over the next decade.
  • Based on this context and the many detailed examples of humanitarian technology projects in the report three major themes emerge:How technology can assist in building resilienceWho has access to technology and the digital divide that continues to exist in many communities How technology can be used while maintaining our ethics and humanitarian principles
  • To touch on the first theme of the report - technology and resilience.BTechnology is already making valuable contributions to humanitarian action, by facilitating citizen participation in humanitarian work and by also opening up clearer lines of communication between humanitarian agencies and affected communities. Its also empoweringfirst level responders to disasters – often communities are there first providing assistance - by increasing communitycapacity for connection, self-organization and mutual aid.All of this adds to and strengthens the resilence of communities to cope and bounce back after disasters.
  • Alongside these innovations and participation of communities using technology has also seen a corresponding gap in access to technology. Many of these ‘first responders’ have little or no access to life-saving information and technologies such as early warning systems and mobile phones.This lack of access has a major impact on people’s ability to prepare for, survive and recover from disasters. This lack of access is most pronounced in disaster-prone countries. People with the least access to technology are also the most vulnerable to disasters. You can see from the little red houses the AP region has some 31 % of households with access to a computer, compared with Europe with almost 80% saturation.  
  • Thereport also goes on to highlight a number of telling statistics related to the digital divide:While there are more mobile phone subscriptions than people in Europe, only 42 per cent of people are connected worldwide.Internet use in developing countries is 31 per cent compared to 77 per cent in developed countries.Computer ownership in Africa is just eight per cent, compared to 76 per cent in Europe.For this region the digital divide is particularly important associal media is gaining currency as a standard source of information and communication channel about communities’ needs. There are risks that relying on this source could exacerbate the digital divide by excluding those who are not connected.Many traditional forms of communication are still important and should continue to receive funding and support and not be neglected at the expense of new technologies. It is important to use a mix of communication channels appropriate to the context – one size does not fit all. This has been starkly obvious in many disasters but we will hear from Maya some examples from Japan.
  • The third theme of the report touches on unintended consequences, challenges and new actors in this field.All innovation is accompanied by risks, we need to be mindful of the challenges and vulnerabilities of new technologies and how to mitigate against these; such as technological failure or threats to personal security, particularly in contexts of conflict where sharing data may place lives at risk.Likewise Information is valuable only if humanitarians have the capacity and the will to act on it. With the rise of big crisis data, it can be difficult to decide what is relevant, missing or needed. After the Japan earthquake anyone could be overwhelmed as we looked at 2000 tweets per second – this challenge needs strong and forward thinking policy and solutions– some of which has started but we need more. Finally, digital volunteers are an important part of any disaster response today - they provide humanitarian organizations with the rapid surge capacity that is necessary - but often missing - immediately post-disaster. More training, codes of conduct and best practices are needed to ensure that they are not compromising humanitarian principles.
  • Because of these challenges, the adoption of technology in humanitarian action be cautious, based on rigorous evaluation and testing to ensure the best and most appropriate technology is adopted and can become a systematic part of programs. The WDR 2013 provides some discussion about how this can be done, moving beyond the established criteria for humanitarian effectiveness to include new dimensions to evaluate humanitarian technology itself. I think this is particularly important as technology should be one of the parts of the toolkit not the cure-all – it needs a strong connection to the face to face element of communication for example to embed this within programmes.
  • In light of these elements and the discussions of this report, there are four key areas for action that emerge that I want to touch on now before handing over to our panelist to illustrate some of their examples:The first is - increase community resilience and help people ‘bounce back better’ after disasters by strengthening local and national capacities and skills in technology. Local and national capacity building is critical – local communities and organizations understand their communities, the cultural nuances and the language. They should be on the front line.Improving communication in humanitarian action by implementing reliable feedback loops to inform decision-making; facilitate transparent and adjust humanitarian programming appropriately. One way communication or top down communication will not lead to improved humanitarian action – so often we are supportive of such approaches but real courage, resourcing and a belief that communities are sources of information to see this more systematically delivered in the humanitarian field. Set goals for equal access to technology to allow life-saving information, skills and tools for all populations and communities. Again a very important aspect,in terms of reaching all elements of community. So often then not, the impact of the absence of this is born out in the rates of death or injury after disasters impacting women and children without access to the skills or tools or technology.Finally, adopt policies that ensure that humanitarian assistance and the use of information remain ethical and in alignment with humanitarian principles through testing and researching new technology and innovative tools that are to be used for humanitarian programming. Again a particularly important point for contexts facing conflict – access to information in line with our humanitarian principles is a critical point
  • Thank you I will leave it to the panelists to illustrate further and look forward to your thoughts in discussions.
  • Transcript

    • 1. World Disasters Report 2013 Focus on technology and the future of humanitarian action #WDR2013 Report edited by Patrick Vinck Harvard Humanitarian Initiative www.ifrc.org Saving lives, changing minds.
    • 2. Humanitarian Technology World Disasters Report 2013 Focus on technology and the future of humanitarian action www.ifrc.org Saving lives, changing minds.
    • 3. Improving Humanitarian Effectiveness World Disasters Report 2013 Focus on technology and the future of humanitarian action Countries with the most disasteraffected people in 2012 (CRED, 2013) www.ifrc.org Saving lives, changing minds.
    • 4. Improving Humanitarian Effectiveness World Disasters Report 2013 Focus on technology and the future of humanitarian action www.ifrc.org Saving lives, changing minds.
    • 5. Key Themes • Technology and resilience • Access to technology and the digital divide • Technology, ethics and humanitarian principles www.ifrc.org Saving lives, changing minds. World Disasters Report 2013 Focus on technology and the future of humanitarian action
    • 6. Technology and resilience World Disasters Report 2013 Focus on technology and the future of humanitarian action www.ifrc.org Saving lives, changing minds.
    • 7. Access to technology and the digital divide World Disasters Report 2013 Focus on technology and the future of humanitarian action www.ifrc.org Saving lives, changing minds.
    • 8. Access to technology and the digital divide World Disasters Report 2013 Focus on technology and the future of humanitarian action www.ifrc.org Saving lives, changing minds.
    • 9. Technology, ethics and humanitarian principles • Unintended consequences • Unaddressed challenges (large amounts of data) • Digital volunteers/humanitarian roots → Protocols, standards and best practice guidelines www.ifrc.org Saving lives, changing minds. World Disasters Report 2013 Focus on technology and the future of humanitarian action
    • 10. Technology and resilience World Disasters Report 2013 Focus on technology and the future of humanitarian action www.ifrc.org Saving lives, changing minds.
    • 11. The future • • • • Local and national capacities and skills Communication in humanitarian action Equal access to technology Alignment with humanitarian principles www.ifrc.org Saving lives, changing minds. World Disasters Report 2013 Focus on technology and the future of humanitarian action
    • 12. More information • View the full report, summaries, case studies, photos, blogs and more at www.ifrc.org/wdr2013 • Engage in our online conversations – Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RedCrossRedCrescent – Twitter #WDR2013 and follow @Federation www.ifrc.org Saving lives, changing minds. World Disasters Report 2013 Focus on technology and the future of humanitarian action
    • 13. Thank you World Disasters Report 2013 Focus on technology and the future of humanitarian action www.ifrc.org Saving lives, changing minds.