A Holistic Approach to Disaster Risk Reduction - Problems and Opportunities
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A Holistic Approach to Disaster Risk Reduction - Problems and Opportunities






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A Holistic Approach to Disaster Risk Reduction - Problems and Opportunities Presentation Transcript

  • 1. David AlexanderUniversity College LondonA HolisticApproach toDisaster RiskReductionProblems andOpportunities
  • 2. Organisationalsystems:managementSocialsystems:behaviourNaturalsystems:functionTechnicalsystems:malfunctionVulnerabilityHazardResiliencePoliticalsystems:decisions
  • 3. Information andcommunicationstechnologyNews andinformationdisseminationPublicparticipationin disasterrisk reductionDisaster researchDisaster management
  • 4. • science must not be allowed to be thejustification for political malpractice• if you supply data, methods orresults you have some responsibilityfor how they are used• accept that the primary effect ofhazards is determined by vulnerability.Some precepts
  • 5. ResilienceResistanceRisk SusceptibilityPhysical(including natural,built, technological)Social(including cultural,political, economic)EnvironmentAttributesSource: McEntire 2001LiabilitiesCapabilitiesVULNERABILITY
  • 6. The great scientists werehighly sensitive to the socialimplications of their work.
  • 7. Professor Angela McLean,University of Oxford(co-author, UK Governments ForesightReport on Disaster Risk Reduction):"By 2040 it should be possible tohave a family of disaster risk modelsthat give decision makersthe information they need."
  • 8. • consolidate their power• confound their enemies• impose an ideology [by force]• expropriate public funds• ...or practise good public service.TO DO WHAT?
  • 9. "...the fiction of good intentions,diplomatic niceties and a commonvision of human progress."- Ben Wisner
  • 10. "Our research shows that the successof early warning is largely determinedby politics, not science."- Chatham House, London
  • 11. "If you are exposed to a5-metre tsunami there isa 30 per cent probabilitythat you will be killed."...butthat dependson who you are.
  • 12. • effect of heroin addiction onthe reconstruction of Bam, Iran• introduction of repressive Shiaand blasphemy laws in Aceh• colossal waste of public money ontransitional shelter in LAquila, Italy• government insensitivity to culturalheritage protection in Christchurch.Reality check:
  • 13. • widening wealth gap since 1970• failure to divert resources fromresponse to prevention and mitigation• half of world trade goesthrough 78 tax havens• one fifth of world trade is illicit(drugs, armaments, people, species)• relationship of proxy wars to aid.More reality check:
  • 14. Day 1: clusterbombsWhat falls outof the sky?Day 2:humanitarianrations
  • 15. • resources that debilitatelocal coping capacity• munitions, military hardware, soldiertraining and some humanitarian stuff• an instrument of political influence• a means of liningcertain peoples pockets.What is aid?
  • 16. • BIG concrete on poor peoples land• of direct benefit to the donor countries• aid is in DEEP CRISIS.What is aid?
  • 17. War andconflictPovertyNaturaldisastersInsecurityVulnerability andmarginalisationMilitaryHumanitarian assistanceassistanceThe "Military Cross"
  • 18. MilitaryassistanceHumanitarianassistanceCreationof poverty,marginalisation,precariousness"Capacitybuilding":creation ofresilienceGlobalexploitationInformal andblack economyScienceThe international community
  • 19. Women and girlsare the key todisaster risk reduction...but they are widelydiscriminated against.
  • 20. • violence (domestic, trafficking, other)• restriction of opportunities (e.g. purdah)• roles narrowly defined (by men)• women forced to do the labouring• abandoned or bereaved womenas heads of household.Discrimination against women in disasters
  • 21. • and governance(participatory democracy)• bring responsibility• are strongly correlated withdisaster risk reduction• are seriously under threat.Human rights
  • 22. • consolidate power structures• augment profits• introduce convenientlyrepressive measures• indulge in gratuitous social engineering.The economic and socialVALUE of disasters
  • 23. Treatment ofuncertainty
  • 24. • there are no "black swans"• there are large and increasing areas ofuncertainty caused by rising complexity• applied science must constantly adaptitself its focus and methods to changesin hazard and societal vulnerability• societys priorities and preoccupationschange constantly over time.Another reality check
  • 25. CascadingeffectsCollateralvulnerabilitySecondarydisastersInteractionbetween risksClimatechangeProbabilityIndeterminacy"Fat-tailed" (skewed)distributionsof impacts
  • 26. Are big disasters less important thanthe cumulative impact of small ones?
  • 27. DETERMINISMCause EffectPROBABILITY(constrained uncertainty)Cause Single, multipleor cascading effectsTHE KNOWNTHE UNKNOWNPURE UNCERTAINTYCausal relationshipunknownGreyarea
  • 30. Social factorsPlanMessageTechnology ResponsePerceptionCultureOptimisation
  • 31. Knowledge ofcommunityvulnerabilityKnowledgeof hazardsand theirimpactsKnowledgeof copingcapacity andresilienceDisasterRiskReductionDRR
  • 32. AttitudeTheingredientsof resilience
  • 33. Sustainability
  • 34. RISKSdaily: unemployment, poverty, disease, etc.major disaster: floods, storms, quakes, etc.emerging risks: pandemics, climate changeSUSTAINABILITYdisaster risk reductionresource consumptionstewardship of the environmenteconomic activitieslifestylesSUSTAINABILITY
  • 35. INSTRUMENTS OFDISSEMINATION• mass media• targeted campaign• social networks• internetAugmentationMASSEDUCATIONPROGRAMMESOCIALCAPITALHABITCULTUREThe creation of a culture of civil protection
  • 36. BENIGN (healthy)at the service of the peopleMALIGN (corrupt)at the service of vested interestsinterplay dialecticJustification Development[spiritual, cultural, political, economic]IDEOLOGY CULTURE
  • 37. Conclusions
  • 38. • academic territoriality and tribalism• failure to understand the role andmodus operandi of other disciplines• fear of the unknown; love of orthdoxy• 18th-century approach to knowledge(love of the Scottish Renaissance)• failure to see problems holistically.Why is interdisciplinary work so difficult?
  • 39. • corruption and the black economy• the arms trade, proxy warsand fomentation of conflict• denial and curtailment ofhuman and civil rights• manufactured consent andthe manipulation of politics• governance must beparticipatory democracy.Obstacles to progress in DRR:-
  • 40. • The opportunities for positive changehave never been greater.• Likewise, the tools and mechanisms.• The obstacles have neverbeen more formidable.• Likewise, the challenges.Disaster risk reduction: we areapproaching a turning point in history
  • 41. The "cradle"of resilience:Canonbury TowerLondon N1.Built in 1509to survivethe UniversalDeluge:Rented in 1625to Francis Bacon.Post-scriptum
  • 42. Resilience
  • 43. Francis BaconSylva Sylvarum, 1625
  • 44. www.natural-hazards-and-earth-system-sciences.net
  • 46. Thank you foryour attention!david.alexander@ucl.ac.ukthis presentation can bedownloaded to your phone from:m.slideshare.net/dealexander