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6th
International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2016
‘Integrative Risk Management – Towards Resilient Cities‘ • 28 Aug – 1 Sept 2016 • Davos • Switzerland
www.grforum.org
Increasing resilience to
earthquakes: the Earthquakes
without Frontiers experience
Susanne Sargeant, British Geological Survey, UK
Ajoy Datta, Overseas Development Institute, UK
John Holmes, Oxford University, UK
John Young, Overseas Development Institute, UK
6th
International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2016
‘Integrative Risk Management – Towards Resilient Cities‘ • 28 Aug – 1 Sept 2016 • Davos • Switzerland
www.grforum.org
Outline
• Introduction to the Earthquakes without Frontiers (EwF)
project
• Experiences of integrating science into resilience building
• Two personal reflections on EwF
• Conclusions and next steps
6th
International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2016
‘Integrative Risk Management – Towards Resilient Cities‘ • 28 Aug – 1 Sept 2016 • Davos • Switzerland
www.grforum.org
Earthquakes without Frontiers (EwF)
• Aims to increase resilience in
Kazakhstan, Nepal and Bihar
and NE China
• Secure these gains over the
long term by establishing a
transdisciplinary partnership
for increasing resilience to
earthquakes, working closely
with local scientists, policy
makers, and organisations
both governmental and non-
governmental
• Jointly funded by Natural
Environment Research Council
and Economic and Social
Research Council (UK)
6th
International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2016
‘Integrative Risk Management – Towards Resilient Cities‘ • 28 Aug – 1 Sept 2016 • Davos • Switzerland
www.grforum.org
The EwF team
Photo credit: NSET
6th
International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2016
‘Integrative Risk Management – Towards Resilient Cities‘ • 28 Aug – 1 Sept 2016 • Davos • Switzerland
www.grforum.org
Integrating science into resilience building:
overarching themes
• Promoting interdisciplinarity
• Engaging with stakeholders
• Communicating risk and uncertainty
• Undertaking research and
engagement with and for
stakeholders in developing countries
• Sharing learning across a large project
effectively
China
Nepal
6th
International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2016
‘Integrative Risk Management – Towards Resilient Cities‘ • 28 Aug – 1 Sept 2016 • Davos • Switzerland
www.grforum.org
Building a research partnership in Kazakhstan
• Seismology team had no prior experience of
working within Kazakhstan
• Initial context analysis and stakeholder
mapping as part of wider EwF effort (Jan
2013)
• Institute of Seismology identified as
important stakeholder
• Overlapping research interests
• Staff exchange visits to build relationships,
conduct joint research and develop joint
work plan (2013-2014)
• Jan 2015: Investigation of attenuation in the
Tien Shan region begins
• April 2016: Mw work begins
• Currently preparing joint paper on the results
• Each party brings different skills, experience
and expertise but share a goal
Institute of Seismology – Jan 2015
6th
International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2016
‘Integrative Risk Management – Towards Resilient Cities‘ • 28 Aug – 1 Sept 2016 • Davos • Switzerland
www.grforum.org
My reflections
• It takes time to build strong
relationships at both
organisational and personal
levels
• Importance of aligning
organisational and research
objectives, and having a joint
work plan
• Need to bridge different
organisational and seismological
‘cultures’
• Need to be realistic about what’s
achievable
• Resource-intensive but effective
Visit to BGS Edinburgh by N Silacheva (Kazakhstan
Institute of Seismology) – April 2014
6th
International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2016
‘Integrative Risk Management – Towards Resilient Cities‘ • 28 Aug – 1 Sept 2016 • Davos • Switzerland
www.grforum.org
Ajoy’s experience in Nepal
• EWF Nepal: extensive research agenda
• Engagement lead for the work in Nepal to get ‘research off
the shelf and into action’
• Lots of research had been done already
• Reflections from visit to Eastern Nepal to explore how
community and scientific knowledge could be integrated to
manage hazard risk
6th
International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2016
‘Integrative Risk Management – Towards Resilient Cities‘ • 28 Aug – 1 Sept 2016 • Davos • Switzerland
www.grforum.org
Personal reflections
• Assumptions underlying role of engagement ‘champion’ are
flawed
• My ‘effectiveness’ shaped by relationships with other
members of the group and our own personal history
• Limited time together meant little time to contest ideas and
approaches around improving engagement
6th
International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2016
‘Integrative Risk Management – Towards Resilient Cities‘ • 28 Aug – 1 Sept 2016 • Davos • Switzerland
www.grforum.org
Key lessons
• Scientists, practitioners and policy makers need to be able to
spend time together and deliberate
• Groups need to cohere, experiment, evolve and change within
a supportive environment
• Reflecting together on progress and people’s experiences can
be beneficial
• More to be gained perhaps from promoting followership than
providing leadership (imitating role models)
6th
International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2016
‘Integrative Risk Management – Towards Resilient Cities‘ • 28 Aug – 1 Sept 2016 • Davos • Switzerland
www.grforum.org
Next steps
• Journal and diary type material
• Conversational interviews and focus group discussions
• Action learning sets
• Communicate the findings more widely

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Increasing Resilience to Earthquakes the Earthquakes without Frontiers Experience, Susanne SARGEANT

  • 1. 6th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2016 ‘Integrative Risk Management – Towards Resilient Cities‘ • 28 Aug – 1 Sept 2016 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org Increasing resilience to earthquakes: the Earthquakes without Frontiers experience Susanne Sargeant, British Geological Survey, UK Ajoy Datta, Overseas Development Institute, UK John Holmes, Oxford University, UK John Young, Overseas Development Institute, UK
  • 2. 6th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2016 ‘Integrative Risk Management – Towards Resilient Cities‘ • 28 Aug – 1 Sept 2016 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org Outline • Introduction to the Earthquakes without Frontiers (EwF) project • Experiences of integrating science into resilience building • Two personal reflections on EwF • Conclusions and next steps
  • 3. 6th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2016 ‘Integrative Risk Management – Towards Resilient Cities‘ • 28 Aug – 1 Sept 2016 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org Earthquakes without Frontiers (EwF) • Aims to increase resilience in Kazakhstan, Nepal and Bihar and NE China • Secure these gains over the long term by establishing a transdisciplinary partnership for increasing resilience to earthquakes, working closely with local scientists, policy makers, and organisations both governmental and non- governmental • Jointly funded by Natural Environment Research Council and Economic and Social Research Council (UK)
  • 4. 6th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2016 ‘Integrative Risk Management – Towards Resilient Cities‘ • 28 Aug – 1 Sept 2016 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org The EwF team Photo credit: NSET
  • 5. 6th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2016 ‘Integrative Risk Management – Towards Resilient Cities‘ • 28 Aug – 1 Sept 2016 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org Integrating science into resilience building: overarching themes • Promoting interdisciplinarity • Engaging with stakeholders • Communicating risk and uncertainty • Undertaking research and engagement with and for stakeholders in developing countries • Sharing learning across a large project effectively China Nepal
  • 6. 6th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2016 ‘Integrative Risk Management – Towards Resilient Cities‘ • 28 Aug – 1 Sept 2016 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org Building a research partnership in Kazakhstan • Seismology team had no prior experience of working within Kazakhstan • Initial context analysis and stakeholder mapping as part of wider EwF effort (Jan 2013) • Institute of Seismology identified as important stakeholder • Overlapping research interests • Staff exchange visits to build relationships, conduct joint research and develop joint work plan (2013-2014) • Jan 2015: Investigation of attenuation in the Tien Shan region begins • April 2016: Mw work begins • Currently preparing joint paper on the results • Each party brings different skills, experience and expertise but share a goal Institute of Seismology – Jan 2015
  • 7. 6th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2016 ‘Integrative Risk Management – Towards Resilient Cities‘ • 28 Aug – 1 Sept 2016 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org My reflections • It takes time to build strong relationships at both organisational and personal levels • Importance of aligning organisational and research objectives, and having a joint work plan • Need to bridge different organisational and seismological ‘cultures’ • Need to be realistic about what’s achievable • Resource-intensive but effective Visit to BGS Edinburgh by N Silacheva (Kazakhstan Institute of Seismology) – April 2014
  • 8. 6th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2016 ‘Integrative Risk Management – Towards Resilient Cities‘ • 28 Aug – 1 Sept 2016 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org Ajoy’s experience in Nepal • EWF Nepal: extensive research agenda • Engagement lead for the work in Nepal to get ‘research off the shelf and into action’ • Lots of research had been done already • Reflections from visit to Eastern Nepal to explore how community and scientific knowledge could be integrated to manage hazard risk
  • 9. 6th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2016 ‘Integrative Risk Management – Towards Resilient Cities‘ • 28 Aug – 1 Sept 2016 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org Personal reflections • Assumptions underlying role of engagement ‘champion’ are flawed • My ‘effectiveness’ shaped by relationships with other members of the group and our own personal history • Limited time together meant little time to contest ideas and approaches around improving engagement
  • 10. 6th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2016 ‘Integrative Risk Management – Towards Resilient Cities‘ • 28 Aug – 1 Sept 2016 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org Key lessons • Scientists, practitioners and policy makers need to be able to spend time together and deliberate • Groups need to cohere, experiment, evolve and change within a supportive environment • Reflecting together on progress and people’s experiences can be beneficial • More to be gained perhaps from promoting followership than providing leadership (imitating role models)
  • 11. 6th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC 2016 ‘Integrative Risk Management – Towards Resilient Cities‘ • 28 Aug – 1 Sept 2016 • Davos • Switzerland www.grforum.org Next steps • Journal and diary type material • Conversational interviews and focus group discussions • Action learning sets • Communicate the findings more widely

Editor's Notes

  1. Good morning. Today, Ajoy and I are going to present some reflections and attempts to capture learning for a project called Earthquakes without Frontiers
  2. Rather than talk about the outcomes of the research, this presentation is about the research process itself, which we are documenting and reflecting on as the project progresses I’ll start by giving you an introduction to the project, etc.
  3. - Since 1900, between 2 and 2.5 million people have died in earthquakes. Approximately two thirds of those deaths occurred as a result of earthquakes in regions like the Alpine Himalayan Belt. Earthquakes without Frontiers (EwF) aims to increase resilience to earthquakes amongst communities in three places: Kazakhstan, Nepal, the Indian state of Bihar, and Northeast China. It is funded jointly by two research councils in the UK: the Natural Environment Research Council and Economic and Social Research Council. As a result, the EwF team comprises several disciplines including earth scientists, social scientists and science-policy practitioners. They are working in partnership with local scientists, practitioners (such as humanitarian and development NGOs) and decision makers in these countries to ensure that the research addresses real needs and is used to improve resilience. Need to say something on front about the need to capture the learning from this project. Say that the focus is on three areas – Nepal and Bihar, NE China and southern Kazakhstan Link to the theme of the conference. Main cities – Almaty, Xi’an and Kathmandu. All have experienced major earthquakes and heavy losses Say that EwF is built on the idea that multiple disciplines and sources of expertise and experience from a range of stakeholders are required to tackle a problem like increasing resilience and that no one discipline has the answer. Need to try to come to a joint understanding of the problem and come up with possible ways to tackle it together.
  4. Photo taken at the first planning meeting in Oct 2012, which brought together many of the researchers and partners in EwF. Point to people from the different disciplines/places Talk about how the team works - country teams, thematic areas, partnership meetings, fieldwork, etc. Opportunities to meet and discuss and reflect on the project are really important but given the breadth of the partnership can be logistically challenging. This photograph is from the 2015 partnership meeting held in Kathmandu just a few days before the Gorkha earthquake. It brought together researchers and stakeholders from the three case study regions to discuss progress, share learning and build relationships
  5. During these kinds of formal and informal discussions, a number of overarching themes have emerged, each bringing with them their own challenges. Promoting interdisciplinarity Complex issues such as increasing resilience to natural hazards do not lend themselves to study within individual research disciplines and so disciplinary divides must be managed and sometimes crossed. For some of us, it’s the first time we’ve worked in this way and it takes some getting used to. It relies on a willingness to work together. Strong, long-lasting relationships, and the time to develop them, are therefore crucial for this process to work. Engaging with stakeholders EwF has tried various approaches to engaging with stakeholders. In China, workshops and meetings with key stakeholders highlighted not only the wealth of existing knowledge and practical resilience-building experience at community level within this group but also how information held by one stakeholder might not be available to another (Young et al., 2015). This culminated in the writing of a book by all the stakeholders to try to address this problem (Young et al., 2015). Again, relationships between people are key to this, as is a supportive research environment that enables the demands the engagement process places on science and scientists to be managed. in Nepal, interviews and focus groups with local scientists, engineers, urban planners, and representatives from donor and DRR practitioner organisations have explored how science is used in DRR (Oven et al., 2016). This has led to specific recommendations to address some of the problems that stakeholders encounter such as the creation of a government-led science advisory group (Oven et al., 2016). This photo is a focus group with members of a rural community to explore what role scientific knowledge could play in helping communities manage hazard risk and improve their resilience. How was the engagement process managed? Communicating risk and uncertainty Managing the limitations of scientific knowledge and stakeholder expectations of scientific information is important. In the case of the occurrence of future earthquakes, decision makers often want to know when the next ‘big one’ will occur in their region. For example, in Nepal (before the April 2015 Gorkha earthquake) when another great earthquake would occur in the Kathmandu Valley was a matter of concern for decision makers. Some spoke (in 2014) of a ‘70-year rule’ which indicated that the region was ‘overdue’ for a large earthquake since the last major earthquake happened in 1934. The 1934 earthquake (8 Mw) caused widespread damage and heavy human losses in Bihar and Nepal and was at the forefront of people’s minds in the region in 2014. However, there was no scientific basis for this rule (Oven et al., 2016). Addressing these types of misunderstanding, explaining the limitations of scientific understanding of earthquake-generating processes, and managing the impact of this is another challenge that a researcher faces. Undertaking research and engagement with and for stakeholders in developing countries. Building local capacity (scientific or otherwise) is considered vital for effective DRR. Again, for this to be effective, strong relationships between the people involved are required to manage the meeting of different research cultures, and the expectations of the wider systems that govern them. I’m going to talk about this in more detail on the next slide. Sharing learning across a large project effectively There are about 20 people involved in the UK spread across 8 institutions (universities, think tank and national research institute) and from numerous disciplines. Beyond this, there a numerous people involved in each of the case study countries. Sharing learning across a project like EwF is a real challenge. Regular opportunities to meet and discuss progress and to reflect on the research process itself are therefore vital to the success of a project like this. Trying to capture the learning that is taking place in EwF is quite a challenge. We have project documentation, minutes from meetings and the outputs from facilitated discussions from which we have identified these themes. In the next part of the presentation, Ajoy and I are going to present our personal experiences and reflections from the parts of EwF that we have been involved with, which help to flesh out and illustrate some of the complexity that lies beneath these overarching themes.
  6. I’m a seismologist and I started my scientific career in seismic hazard assessment and related fields. Most of my activities with EwF have been in Kazakhstan and I hadn’t worked there before joining EwF.
  7. Building relationships – learning about each other both as scientists and as people. We have to conduct a lot of our relationship by email and it’s important to find as many chances to work together face-to-face as possible. Mention what we’re planning in the future
  8. The research agenda put together by the UK researchers included: perceptions of risk and responses to natural hazards amongst communities, civil society and government roles and responsibilities:, the link between economic development, livelihoods and resilience and integrating scientific and citizen knowledge to help communities prepare and respond to natural hazards – especially Earthquakes and landslides. My role was to work with the team to ensure the research produced was “useful, usable and used” By april 2015, the project had been going on for about three years - a lot of research had taken place. I’d had a peripheral role – partly because there wasn’t much resource allocated to me on this project. I was expected to use a 9th of my time on this project and there was budget for me to go out to Nepal once a year for about 2 weeks. In April 2015 the second consortium wide learning and sharing meeting took place in Nepal. Given I was there, I was asked by a colleague to join the research team immediately after the meeting on a field visit to a community in the east of Nepal – Chintang to explore how scientific evidence might play a role in helping communities prepare for earthquakes and landslides. The team was comprised mostly of UK people with a few Nepali counterparts. It was my first opportunity to engage with the team on a sustained basis as well as to help them reflect on how they were engaging with their stakeholders. Others took the lead on specific interviews and focus group discussions given they were responsible for writing things up. My role wasn’t defined before hand and it didn’t seem obvious what my role would be when I was there. So all I could do was to provide thoughts and comments on what others were doing. Towards the end, I was asked to undertake interviews jointly with the lead for governance. However, even then there seemed very little space for me to make any meaningful contribution.
  9. there was an expectation that as champions we would provide leadership, have the skills and knowhow, the commitment, flexibility and maturity to get people to engage and ultimately get their research off the shelf and into action. We were expected to be fully autonomous entities who could simply tell people what to do based on a sender-receiver model of imparting knowledge. In other words as champions we were expected to be superhuman. In hindsight expecting someone like me, who had a peripheral role in the project to influence more full time members of the team was unrealistic I was very much limited and enabled by the relationships I had with others in the team (and by relationships other group members had with each other). And those relationships were shaped by gender, race and age amongst other factors. And of course everyone’s own personal history influences their personalities, the way they interact with me and how they respond to me. And equally that influences how I behave too. Getting people to reflect on their actions, making suggestions and generally providing critique wasn’t easy. It provoked anxiety in me and amongst colleagues. In some cases, I was questioning people’s ethics, which is bound up with what they value and therefore arousing emotions of shame and guilt – which are difficult feelings. During the field work which lasted about 4 days, the team ate and drank together in the evenings and in the process discussed what had happened during the day, often deconstructing interactions, reactions and responses in great detail. I thought this was really fruitful. This was where we sat together and started to think collectively about how what we were doing could be useful for the communities we were working with.
  10. We conclude with a few lessons If groups of scientists, practitioners and policymakers come together from different countries to work collaboratively–it sounds obvious but they’ll need to spend time together and deliberate. Groups need to cohere, but they also need to experiment, evolve and change – this is only possible through exploration of differences between people  - which will mean conflict. Space needs to be made for political processes to unfold and for ideas and approaches to be contested and challenged and grievances brought to bear formally (rather than gossiping about it in the corridors) Reflecting together how the group is getting on together to get stuff done and paying attention to people’s experiences on a regular basis can help them get better at working together. These things don’t always come naturally and take practice. a final point - rather than getting an engagement specialist to promote engagement amongst researchers, I wonder if we might be better off getting a researcher who is supportive of stakeholder engagement to be a role model, whom people can copy and imitate. So rather than leadership, I’d like to introduce the idea of followership.
  11. In terms of the next steps for this work, over the next 12 months we will combine our own reflections (which we are compiling through journals and diary type material) with the reflections of others. We’ll do this through interviews and focus group discussions. During the interviews and FGDs we’ll avoid being extractive – taking a more conversational approach We’re also exploring using action learning sets. action learning is a structured method enabling small groups to address complicated issues by meeting regularly and working collectively. It a tool geared towards learning and personal and professional development Last point – Science and technology is expected to play an important role in disaster risk reduction (DRR) and this is set out in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. Discussions about the implementation of the scientific elements of the Sendai Framework like those at the UNISDR Science and Technology Conference in January 2016 have highlighted the importance of taking a ‘partnership approach’ in order to bring scientists from different disciplines together with decision makers so that science and scientists can support DRR effectively. Our plan is to communicate our experiences and reflections widely.