Expert of the Week   for  03 - 09 Nov 2014

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Md Zakir Hossain

Founder & Chief

Krisoker Sor (Farmers' Voice) Expertise:  Organic farming, Biodiversity and conservation, Ecosystem restoration, Child education, Holistic rural development , Local policy formulation and implementation, Integrating DRR issues in various sectors, Translating policies, conventions, rules and regulations into local dialects, Bridging the gaps among researchers, policymakers and local people.

Mr. Zakir has graduated in Organic Farming from Wageningen University, The Netherlands. Returned to the locality and established the tiny Farmers' Research Institute Krisoker Sor (Farmers’ Voice). He is working more than 15 years with local people’s support. The institution considers DRR issue as the prime concern for locality development. He is vocal to establish local people’s ownership over development policies and practices. Mr. Zakir has participated different international seminars, conferences including Strategic Dialogue with UNISDR and 6th AMCDRR where he introduced the new term "Pseudo Development" to DRR perspective. In the arena of “project culture”, the tiny institution is an exception.

Local people and global disaster risk reduction strategy

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QQuestion by Ms Shaila Shahid

What are the potential risks, hazards and threats to the survival of local people's live and livelihood? How do you see the role of local people to reduce risks of disaster and eventually build the linkage with the global disaster risk reduction strategy. How their voice can be heard in reality? Seeking your pragmatic solutions to create a meaningful platform of local people at global level.

Ms Shaila Shahid Senior Technical Advisor | German Development Cooperation (GIZ)

APosted on 09 Nov 2014

Uncertainity is the greatest risks to the locality. Local people do fabricate a synchronized systems of perception,  protection, survival, resilience and adaptation mechanism with predictable seasonal and everyday disaster without much policy support. However, world disaster practitioners are equipped with handsome tools to perceive natural and human induced disaster issue as a threat to  human civilization advancement and thus take precautionary measures and actions to save lives, livelihood and assets. But for doing that,local people’s experiential and experimental strategy is being largely ignored.
Thank you Ms. Shaila Shahid for your patience. From my answer of previous questions, you already have an idea of local people’s perspective to global disaster risk reduction strategy.
If we narrow down you question to  a local disaster practitioner, you will have to face multifaceted reality. If you are smart (& shameless) and courageous enough to straggle for 15 years silently with a non conventional way of working with locality development, keeping the initiatives out of “project culture” with the community support, convey the thoughts,result, inputs to the community and policy pipelines, if you have only uncertainty in each step ahead- you are the perfect one to be the bridge between local and global via national pathways. But then you will have to negotiate (if not compromise) to be transformed as per policy requirements. Working carefully at local level relentlessly, keep forwarding the voices through available channels is the only way. There must be strong wish that someday, someone will hear the voice. Watch our short speech- which we were nurturing since 9 years:
For your last question Shaila, each of the disaster practitioner in the world is a local people to the context of the person’s locality. May not be  in The WCDRR, but local people do have the wish to attend next GPDRR as “Local People's Major Group”.    

QQuestion by Mr Patrick Beautement

The Aftica Climare Change Resiliance Alliance looked at types of adaptation (reactive to anticpatory:
In your experience do you think enough attention is given to being forward looking and anticipatory? Your narrow brudge example is one where people weren't; do you have others?

Mr Patrick Beautement Research Director | The abaci Partnership LLP
United Kingdom

APosted on 09 Nov 2014

The Concepts needs to  include “Past Learning” as a vehicle for forward looking adaptation. I would love to discuss more with the issue- if you please allow me by sending a mail to:
Thank you Mr. Patric Beautement in advance.

QQuestion by Mr Syed Harir Shah

How the community and government system could be linked for comprehensive disaster risk management? without changed behaviors of bureaucracy and the community. The major challenge is changing the traditional concept of bureaucracy and politicians that citizen are equal partner in development and suffering. What is the entry point to bring both together.

Mr Syed Harir Shah President | JAD Foundation

APosted on 08 Nov 2014

Thank you Mr. Syed H. Shah for your self query.
In theory, community is to be considered as an integral part of the state governing system. But in reality, particularly in developing countries, both the components acts as competitor/ neglected to each other. In course of human civilization advancement, time has come for both the segment act as cooperative to each other for smoothly functioning the state system and thus carry forward the development pathways.
Trust to each other with clearer  perceptions, based on shared benefit, perceiving each others mind set, guided by social and legal bindings will be the key factor for bridging the existing gap between a bureaucrat and a community people. More interaction is to be the key entry point for resolving the gap.
“Disaster” sector is in a good position as it is the issue of life and death to the lives and livelihood at the locality. Here, transforming official “responsibilities” of a bureaucrat into “emotional liabilities” and transforming “emotional liabilities” of a  community people into partnership “responsibilities” is crucial for preparing and  implementing disaster policy, plan and actions. Please see my answer to Professor Tofazzal for details.

QQuestion by Mr Mohammad Tarikul Islam

Would you pls. give some easy solution for tackling salinity in agriculture for south-western belt farmers as an organic intellectual; I am not convinced the solution you have recommended to Mahbuba Madam as some of them is gross political issues with India what farmers can do in this regard?

Mr Mohammad Tarikul Islam Consultant Anthrpologist | Indepenedent Researcher

APosted on 08 Nov 2014

Thank you Mr. Tarikul.
Different crops suffer from soil Salinity at different stage of growth. What we do for short and easy solution- just add lots of ashes to the affected land. So the K+ makes a barrier around plant roots against Na+ invasion.
By the way, trans boundary water issue is not solely a political one; but more economical. Can you imagine the impact, if Hydro power, is considered out of project support under CDM?

QQuestion by Prof Tofazzal Islam

Engagement of local peoples in policy decision and implementation processes are thought to be important for the success in any human intervention against natural disaster/calamity. However, in the developing countries, this practice is largely absent. How could you ensure proper engagement of the local people in both local and international approaches for disaster management/reduction?

Prof Tofazzal Islam Teacher | BSMRAU

APosted on 06 Nov 2014

Thank you professor Tofazzal for your perceptions.
Contemporary development discourses doesn’t leave any room for development  practitioners to integrate local people as a partner in a development initiative. They are merely considered as beneficiaries only to development output.
Two folded reality arise there: a) Local people are reluctant (& become dependent in course of time) to be attached with locality development issues- those relates to the existence of their own lives, livelihood and love. Development practitioners miss the opportunity/ scope to explore and utilize local people’s emotional liabilities spirit pertinent to Global and local issues. b) If a development infinitive/ project fails, local people, in major, are to be blamed- as they have no voice in preparing and implementing policy, plan and actions.
In the arena of Disaster prevention, risk reduction, resilience building and advancement, the issue of integrating local people as a partner is crucial. This logical demand has been raised at the Strategic dialogue with UNISDR and regional conferences and is being requested to  include the notion into Post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction- which will be agreed on March 2015 in Sendai, Japan at the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. However, Countries will have to take action then to think about the legal modalities of local peoples’ unity/ initiative/organization. But please find our position to integrate local people as a partner in Disaster management issue under the link:

QQuestion by Mr Denis McClean

How do you think climate change will impact food production in Bangladesh? Will food production be able to keep up with population growth?

Mr Denis McClean head, communications | UNISDR

APosted on 06 Nov 2014

Thank you Mr. Denis for the question.
To the perspective of Geology, History, Climate, wisdom, Technological Advancement, Change in perceptions, Resource base- including genetic diversity, Bangladeshi agriculture practitioners, farmers major, are coping up with sufficient staple food needs for the growing population.
In future, if climate does not change drastically within a narrow time span, Bangladesh definitely will be able to keep up the momentum. But to achieve that, along with the ongoing responsible  cooperation from International community, Bangladesh will not avoid the following issues:
a)  People oriented production methodologies- not only company orients
b)  Innovation- based on local resources
c)  Reduce pressure of harmful chemicals in production system
d)  Maintaining crop diversity on and around fields
e)  Better availability and utilization of surface and rain water
f)  Maintain and improve soil health 

QQuestion by Ms Partha Hefaz Shaikh

Zakir bhai,
Greetings .. hope you are doing fine. I would like to know how you are promoting DRR (Disaster Risk Reduction) as sometimes making alternative arrangements can need a lot of financial investments. Also how are you planning for post disaster recovery? Is Linking Relief and Rehabilitation to Development (LRRD) part of your DRR strategy. If so how are you doing that.


Ms Partha Hefaz Shaikh Independent Cosultant | Self Emplyed

APosted on 06 Nov 2014

Thank you Partha for the questions. DRR is an indispensable entity to other concerned areas(SDGs, CC, Food Security etc.). When all the interventions will be functioning  together as mutually reinforced policy, plan and action, then not too much alternative management need to be needed. A handful quantity of development initiatives have been bounced back as not for short of investment, but just lack of perception. Also when the investment in DRR do  return with benefits- then the investment must be invested in any way- at least to uphold the humankind of Human civilization.
Post disaster recovery will start with perceiving the major causes and impact. If any  development activity has the role to increase the disaster risk, the issue  will be corrected first. It is something like transforming “Pseudo development” into sustainable one. Building back always will be to reduce any future risk. Institutionally, we will not recommend any housing facilities with corrugated tin sheet in a cyclone prone region. As the sheets act like shrapnel during  cyclone and a large number of lives are dead of injured by the sheets.
DRR strategy will be incomplete without LRRD.

QQuestion by Dr Mahbuba Nasreen

What would you suggest as best alternative agricultural practices for the farmers of the Southern salinity prone areas in Bangladesh?

Dr Mahbuba Nasreen Director and Professor | Institute of Disaster Management and Vulnerability

APosted on 04 Nov 2014

Thank  you Madam for your question.

Farmers there should have to have the following policy and research support first:
a) to be vocal for free water flow from upstream in the rivers. So that salt water intrusion will decrease;
b) to cultivate diverse crop. Some crops, like pulses can drastically reduce crop land salinity;
c) to maintain heterogeneous characteristics in land topography;
d) to develop and culture salt (and high tide) tolerance varieties based on the traditional varieties (e.g., Kalamik rice in Patuakhali district).

QQuestion by Mr Dave Paul Zervaas

Dear Zakir,
In your summary you talk about 'pseudo-development'. Can you explain a bit more with one or two examples what 'pseudo-development' looks like and how it can be addressed in DRR ?

Mr Dave Paul Zervaas Programme Officer | UNISDR

APosted on 04 Nov 2014

Thank you sir for the question.
When a development plan and actions of a sector imposes destructive impact and/ or increase risk to other sector (s) may be termed as pseudo development to the perspective of impacted sector(s).

Example: a) There is a need to build a bridge on a small river of 70 meter wide. But “road and  transport’ sector has the “development” plan (and budget as well) of constructing bridge on the river only up to 50 meter long. So how the situation was tackled? Simply, the river on construction point was squeezed to be fit with the proposed bridge length. During rainy season, both the river banks at upper stream of the bridge are over flowed and caused damage to  crops, ecosystem, livelihood and assets. During heavy flood, huge water rushed through the squeezed channel, and the bridge collapsed- resulted into increased  risk from flood hazard primarily. And eventually death of the river (at least downstream of the bridge location) is confirmed.
Here, the “development” of  “road and  transport” sector with 50 meter bridge on 70 meter wide river may be termed as “Pseudo development” to the perspective of several sectors, like disaster, water management, agriculture, ecology, poverty, livelihood and so on.

Example: b) Imagine a small homestead surrounded by dense local tree and plant species of different canopy size, shape and height with multipurpose use. The system protects the house and the inhabitants from cyclone, provide fruits, vegetables, fuel wood, timber, medicine, shelter and food for birds and even recreation to the children. But policy termed the trees as rubbish, because of slow growth. The owner has to be motivated as he obtained some saplings of quick growing exotic trees for free under “Tree plantation development program” and is promised to be included into “family nutrition from home gardening development project”. So all  the existing trees are eliminated from the homestead (mostly found the way to brick kiln oven). New saplings were planted with recommended design, gaps and inputs. The trees are incapable of -providing protection against strong wind, fruits, vegetables, fuel wood, medicine, shelter and food for birds and even recreation to the children. In ten years, the few trees grows well around  homestead. But during cyclone Sidr’  2007, most of them were brought down, as the tree species have simple and weak root system. More over, the prime root of the saplings were chopped down to increase the growth rate of overground portion (i.e., timber) and for reducing transport hassle and cost. Unfortunately, one was planted very close to the house. It fell just on the house crushing it completely. 

This Tree plantation (and nutrition) “Development program” can be termed as “Pseudo Development” to the perspective of  DRR, ecosystem, food security (and nutrition itself!) etc.

Sensitizing any sectoral development with DRR issue is to be the foundation of addressing “pseudo development” in DRR.