Expert of the Week   for  08 - 14 Jun 2015

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Marcus Oxley

Executive Director

Global Network of Civil Society Organisations for Disaster Reduction (GNDR) Expertise:  Disaster risk communication, including risk perception, community mobilization and the role of media and press to make of risk communication an important tool to build more resilient societies.

Marcus has twenty five years international disaster risk management experience gained within the civil society sector where he has held responsibilities for supporting, facilitating and implementing a range of disaster risk management activities across Africa, Asia and Europe. In September 2007 Marcus was appointed as the founding Director of the Global Network of Civil Society Organisations for Disaster Reduction – a major international alliance of large and small civil society organisations committed to working together to put the voices and concerns of vulnerable people at the heart of global disaster risk reduction policy and practice. Marcus is a Civil Engineer by training and has a Master’s degree in Project Management.

Preventing the creation of new disaster risks

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QQuestion by Mr Akhteruzzaman Sano

The general practices are, when the project ends, then every thing is closed. i mean, no resources remain, no manpower or facility remain to verify and validate to claim that "that particular project is a resilient project". On the other, resilience can be seen after the project life.
My question is, 'how do those projects claim that xx is a resilient project?'

Mr Akhteruzzaman Sano Technical Advisor | Save the Earth Cambodia

APosted on 12 Jun 2015

Another good question Sano

I would say resilience is related to sustainability. And sustainability requires the changes have to be owned and embedded within the culture of the host community. So resilience strengthening involves bring people into the process, support inclusion and participation, build on local knowledge, needs and priorities, take into account culture norms, values and practices, understand peoples perceptions of acceptable levels of risk and safety.

Ultimately its about changes in peoples behavior, its takes time, its about policies and legislation but also about culture, norms and values. Is the project designed to do these things? is it people-centred ? 


QQuestion by Mr Mohamed Sheikh

How do we prevent the new emerging disaster risks like terrorism which is currently a global disaster across Africa mostly? Where my country affected most. Is there a way of reducing risks building resilience of the community?


Mr Mohamed Sheikh Executive Director | AFOSC-KENYA (GNDR member)

APosted on 11 Jun 2015

Hi Mohamed 

I think for policy to be effective its has to reflect local realities. In this respect the Sendai framework is weak on context as it fails to address DRM in areas of fragility, insecurity, conflict - often the very places where vulnerability to disasters triggered by natural or man-made events is greatest. 

So yes we need to understand what strengthening resilience means in these realities, and indeed many organisations are now working to try to understand how to do this including in the Horn of Africa - Sudan, Somalia, Kenya.  In these regions actions to rebuild social capital and trust; conflict resolution and peace building initiatives; building on local sources of resilience outside of the state; promoting equity and justice; transparency and accountability are all important. It requires a long term inter-generational approach, its about protecting and enhancing lives, livelihoods and assets. It can't be addressed in isolation of development deficiencies and its requires approaches that build coherence, complementary and mutuality across different sectors, thematic s and institutions. Share holistic approaches , systems-wide perspective, visionary leadership 

Easier said than done , but a great question


QQuestion by Mr Zakir Md. Hossain

5. It is beyond question that the dimensions, frequency, uncertainty, intensity of global disaster events will likely be in increasing trend. Next UNSG identification is in progress. Global disaster practitioners have a potential candidate to put forward. Are you concerned about that?
Thank you Dear Marcus.

Mr Zakir Md. Hossain Founder & The Chief | Krisoker Sor (Farmers' Voice)

APosted on 11 Jun 2015

Q5.  Don't know anything about the next UNSG identification Zakir so can't really answer this one.

As I said earlier  - development is not sustainable unless its resilient.  So I'd look for someone who understood the strategic relationship between disaster and development, resilience and sustainability. And understand what the added value of disasters are in terms of understanding what makes our development pathways fragile or resilient.


QQuestion by Mr Zakir Md. Hossain

2. How is the possibility that the sendai framework will be upgraded as a legally binding instruments for the parties?
3. Is the any possibility that GNDR will work with the methodologies related to "all-of-society" notion?
4. Development project planning and activities seriously need Disaster Risk Impact Assessment (DRIA). Please comment.

Mr Zakir Md. Hossain Founder & The Chief | Krisoker Sor (Farmers' Voice)

APosted on 11 Jun 2015

Q2  I don't think its a question of upgrading the Sendai framework, I think its more about how to make the roles and responsibilities of the different stakeholders (particularly national government's) legally binding at the national level.  Within the priority areas the Sendai framework does highlight the need for developing national and local frameworks of law, regulations that define roles and responsibilities, guide the public and private sectors to address disaster risks. It also talks about the need to enhance transparency (which precedes accountability) and encourages the establishment of mechanisms and incentives to ensure high levels of compliance. 

Of course as in question 1 this all requires objective monitoring and reporting processes, involving an active civil society and public scrutiny from informed populations.  

It also poses the question - what's the role of international organisations, notably the UNISDR who are mandated to support, follow up and review the framework,  when we see no or very limited progress being made on these matters. I think if we serious in turning the Sendai framework into an action-orientated framework we need to think through what actions we can take when no progress is being made.


Q3 Methodologies related to an "all of society" notion.

GNDR supports this notion and believes good governance is a critical issue here, particularly in terms of transparency, accountability, inclusion and participation. Again, the Sendai framework appears to support this approach and GNDR along with other stakeholders need to develop partnerships, strategic alliances, develop collaborative capacities, build trust, mutuality, complementary with other actors, working across boundaries, disciplines and sectors


Q4 Development project need to be risk sensitive.  

I think all private and public investments should have a "resilience marker" within the formal appraisal processes. Failure to include resilience and risk reduction consideration within project design and planning should mean the project is not approved by government officials.

In disasters-prone regions development is not sustainable if it is not resilience to extreme hazards, shocks and disturbances. At best can represents a poor return on scarce resources, at worst its paves the way for a development deathtrap. Preventing disasters starts with understanding the risk - risk assessments are a fundamental part of the process.


QQuestion by Mr Zakir Md. Hossain

Hi Marcus,
Nice to see your smile here. We have five questions please.

1. As a local warrior, you have achieved the respect in sendai framework to focus disaster risk management policy, plan and actions down to the local level. Do you have a concrete plan of working with the issue: integrating local people as a stakeholder in disaster risk management policy, plan and actions?

Mr Zakir Md. Hossain Founder & The Chief | Krisoker Sor (Farmers' Voice)

APosted on 11 Jun 2015

Dear Zakir

Good to hear from you. Here some answers to Q 1

Throughout the Sendai framework there is quite a lot of referencing to the inclusion of local stakeholders (including local people) into decision-making and planning process related to the formulation and implementation of DRR frameworks, policies, plans, standards and actions. This includes relevant words in the preamble, the guiding principles, priority areas and the section  on the role of stakeholders, 

So the challenge for myself as a member of a civil society network lies in understanding how civil society can work collaboratively to turn the rhetoric of the Sendai Framework into local reality. This was one of the main reasons why we produced the ""Reality Check  - Impact at the Frontline"  initiative which provides a ten point check list to ensure the Sendai framework has impact at the local level, including outlining some key roles civil society organisations such as Krisoker Sor can play in integrating local people into DRR policies and plans.  You can download the Reality Check plan of action from the GNDR website so I won't repeat all the points here, but I'll just highlight a few important points

Transparency and Accountability: I think its important having spent so much time, energy and money in negotiating the Sendai framework that state and non-state stakeholders now hold governments to account for delivering on the key elements incorporated in the adopted framework. This includes monitoring to see how government policies, strategies and plans support the full and meaningful participation of relevant stakeholders.  It also means understanding how national governments (supported by international cooperation) provide the means of implementation (resources, capacity building, technical assistance, political will) to implement a more "people-centered" approach. 

Collaboration:  I strongly believe civil society can increase its effectiveness in increasing the representation of local people within DRM policies and actions if it strengthens its ability to work collaboratively with other civil society actors and other stakeholders. Its means Krisoker Sor needs to work with other civil society organisations to build broad-based constituencies for joint actions; improve collaboration and coordination mechanisms; develop strategic partnerships and coalitions; enhance the exchange of knowledge and learning; strengthen capacities to advocate and campaign at all levels.

Let me stop here and go to the next question


QQuestion by Mr Dusan ZUPKA

Hello Marcus,

I understand that your expertise includes communication and information management of disaster risks. Could you please share your view on how you see the role of interoperability approach in this area?

Many thanks and best regards,

Coordinator Disaster Risk Management
University Geneva/International Graduate Institute

Mr Dusan ZUPKA Coordinator Disaster Risk Management | University Geneva/International Graduate Institute

APosted on 10 Jun 2015

Dear Dusan,

My apologies but I'm afraid I don't really understand your question - please can you explain. 

The central issue I was raising was that to bring about the a substantial reduction in disaster losses requires a strong focus on addressing the drivers of hazards, vulnerability and exposure  - what under the HFA was Priority For Action 4  - where least progress was made. 

So I was asking what will the Sendai framework do differently in view of the lessons learnt from the HFA  - other than emphasizing the importance of addressing risk creation in the narrative

Best regards