How are groups with special needs best recognized and their knowledge harnessed for their participation in the different priority area for resilience?
  • Thanks to all for your excellent contributions on making women and girls a visible force for resilience. I will summarize by the end of the week, and in the meantime point you to two valuable documents when it comes to “engender” the Hyogo Framework for Action, and what comes next:

    One is a Policy and Practical Guidelines on Making Disaster Risk Reduction Gender-Sensitive, published in 2009 by UNISDR. IUCN and UNDP. It builds on a UNISDR-led a working group and wide consultation with experts and gender networks. It provides the rationale, policy foundations and concrete guidance on gender sensitive risk assessments, early warning systems. It is linked to the Hyogo Framework priorities and propose examples of additional genders sensitive outcomes and indicators for mainstreaming gender concerns in disaster risk reduction. See more:

    Another is a paper presented by the Gender and Disaster Network at the 2009 Global Platform, also drawing from the same expert working group and research by members of the network. It provides concrete actions under all five priorities of the Hyogo framework on how to mainstream the gender concerns “Gender is a cross-cutting concern requiring attention throughout the planning, implementation and evaluation phases of the activities adopted to implement the Hyogo Framework for Action. As gender is a central organising principle in all societies, the daily routines of women and men across and within societies put women and men, girls and boys, differently at risk. …. It must be recognised, too, that gender also shapes the capacities and resources of women and men to minimise harm, adapt to hazards and respond to disasters when they must.” See more:

    Now to our next topic:

    The Hyogo Framework stipulates, as part of the General Considerations introducing the Priorities of Actions:
    “(d) A gender perspective should be integrated into all disaster risk management policies, plans and decision-making processes, including those related to risk assessment, early warning, information management, and education and training;
    (e) Cultural diversity, age, and vulnerable groups should be taken into account when planning for disaster risk reduction, as appropriate;…”

    “Vulnerable groups” appear in a few priority areas, on training, awareness, safety nets....

    As indicted in my opening remarks, next topic is on what I prefer to call “groups with special needs”. From HFA progress reports and many fora we know that there is still a lot to do to not only address the needs of vulnerable groups, but more so to involve these groups fully, learn from them, empower them to participate actively in the different stages of resilience building and other development activities.

    The overall question is: “How are groups with special needs best recognized - and their special knowledge harnessed for their participation in the different priority area for resilience building?”

    This is what I would like you to focus your interventions on:

    • Who do you consider “groups with special needs”, in addition to the elderly, people with disabilities, marginalized groups due to poverty, race, caste….? (I know, we have spoken about women and girls- as a force for resilience. What about women, men, boys and girs with special needs?)

    • How to harness their capacities, knowledge, and special skills to become active- while recognizing their needs.

    • What are the top three issues that should be addressed in the post-2015 Framework for DRR?

    • What actions or modalities can support their empowerment and participation in awareness raising, risk assessment, decision making (examples welcome)

    • Who is responsible to make this happen?

    I look forward to your insights, examples and recommendations for the future

  • In addition, please focus on what you recommend as top three issues that should be addressed in the post-2015 Framework for DRR to address groups with special needs.
  • Dear Helena Molin Valdes,
    I think, we need to understand why the people are vulnerable. what makes them vulnerable? who are the vulnerable? All the answers of the questions are linked to "the poor".
    So when, there is no way of earning i.e. limited capacity; when there is limited capacity, then it results with "no money" for survival i.e. "vulnerability".

    So, if we analyze the situations for top three recommendations, the top three recommendations are:
    1. building climate-responsive livelihood centered capacity (vocational training, DRR/CCA training etc.)
    2. providing a regular source of income so that the they have their own ways to work and earn for survival (a case of micro insurance from Save the Earth Cambodia shared you, something like that)
    3. building social coherence that can contribute to building resilience

    There is a very successful case and i have shared you (sometime a month before, you also commented to send for your newsletter)
    I think, the post 2015 framework shall have to be vigorous and realistic.

    Please note that it MUST be a framework produced from isolated platforms, and advise to integrate later. As for example: now the 5th AMCDRR is going. CSO, Gender, children all the pre-conference sessions were held separately . CSOs could not see gender issues, gender could not see children issues.... i.e. all the fragmented outputs have been coming up. Later on, again, we will be working to integrate. Now, to me, it is difficult to imagine; all the national, regional, international particularly UN experts prepared fragmented plan and putting the slogan "strengthening local capacity for disaster risk reduction" [ local empowerment.......... the local people do not have education, technical skills, knowledge like the experts to align those from all fragmented platforms to an integrated format.

    When the disaster comes, it does not affect only children or elderly people, or women or CSOs, or parliamentarian, or private sector or any individual sect/group!

    So, i trust, post 2015 framework should be something technical people plan with all stakeholders that local communities carry out. Then there will be sustainable development, visible contributions.

    Many thanks
    Akhteruzzaman Sano
    from Yogjakarta 5th AMCDRR
    Save the Earth Cambodia

  • I think we should begin by addressing the needs of those who have been most marginalised so far. Disabled people are almost completely ignored in disaster preparedness, response and recovery. We assume that VCA and similar tools will identify disability but the reality - as I have found from my own research - is that disabled people remain invisible.
  • Dear Helena and all,

    The special needs people are group of the society. This fact they are in need for additional helps to take care about them. Taking in consideration there cases. In addition to that among those people there is good and special people that can work and provide help with professional way. The only problem is that, generally we look for those people as vulnerable group, and we forget their capacity and ability to be productive. In our ignores, we kill the creativity and motivation. If we look for the special needs NGOs, unions we can find what power they have and if we spoke with them we can drag out their skills.
    We just need to sit with those people, explore their skills and motivation, and work to improve that. The most important thing is to work with the people not for them, to improve their skills and capacity not to deliver some thing maybe they will not used.

    In the sequence of the work and the collaboration between the parties a lot of office work can be done threw those whom can accomplish the work in a proper way.

    It is important to identify our need and to distribute our capacity according to that and a work for everybody will exist.

    Wish you a nice week.


    Abed Al Badeaa Al Dada
  • Dear Helena et al,
    The participation of marginalised in DRM is crucial. And I believe we should start with the issue of general accessibility, which should be part of national laws, and disaster laws (if they exist). The principle of human equality constitutes a basis for human rights. This principle is the source of rules concerning the right to equal treatment and prohibition against discrimination. Such rules are rooted in a number of binding human rights conventions. National acts relating to prohibition against discrimination should be a given. Some countries also have an Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud - this ombud could act as an "watch-dog" in this issue.

    Universal design is another measure. Universal design is “design or accommodation of the main solution as regards the physical conditions so that the normal function of the undertaking can be used by as many people as possible”. Public undertakings and private undertakings that offer goods and services to the general public should be obliged to ensure that universal design is applied to the normal functions of the undertaking.


    Erling Kvernevik
  • Dear on line colleagues,

    Helena's question is important and relevant and in search of anwers I reached out to resources available in Vientiane, and was happy to discover one of four Lao language training manuals produced by the Lao PDR NDMO and the Lao National Mekong Committee (LNMC) with support from the Mekong River Commission(MRC), ADPC, and GIZ in 2011, and used in training provincial, district and commune officials.

    One of the manuals is an adapted version of the 2007 MRC/ADPC/GIZ Manual on Flood Preparedness Program for Provincial and District Level Authorities in the Lower Mekong Basin Countries, which has a special chapter on " Mainstreaming Special Needs of Vulnerable groups into preparedness planning" and development programming.
    This chapter draws our attention to consider the special needs of the "most vulnerable groups in a community - women, children, elderly, disabled, ethnic minorities and the poor. These are the members of the community who are generally likely to be the worst-hit in case of disasters because of their deprived access to resources such as social networks, influence, transportation, information, skills (including literacy) and employment, personal mobility, secure housing, control over decision-making, control over land and other economic resources and dependence upon others. The proponents of social inclusion would maintain that preparedness planning can provide considerable leverage in not only responding to flood situations, but may also uplift the status of these vulnerable groups." The manual provides practical guidance on how to identiy needs of these groups, what preparedness measures are needed, and ways in which they can or have ben addressed. These guidelines can be down loaded at

    These guidelines were used in the district and commune level planning of 5 districts in 3 provinces of Lao, and at least two of the district plans prepared had interesting actions included in their plans.

    Specific actions were also taken under the same program in Vietnam to focus on schools and school going children reported nicely in the Safer Communities series booklet number 3 "Creating a Safer Tomorrow for the Future Generations: A Comprehensive Approach to Ensure the Safety of Children in Vietnam" which can acessed from the web address : study 7.pdf

    Happy reading. I think these experiences provide us some useful starting points in our search for answers.


  • 24 Oct- Today is the UN Day and of the World Development Information Day

    Thanks for the comments posted so far.

    One critical point you raised is the need to integrate the organization of resilience and disaster risk reduction within and among all groups- and make sure the work is addressing underlying development work.

    John Twigg points out the elderly as one neglected target group in many communities- this need special attention and focus for the future. What about other groups with special needs?
    - The estimated 650 million people in the world who are living with disabilities – about 10 per cent of the world’s population. They have impairments such as blindness, deafness or impaired mobility. How can these groups be best integrated into decision making and proactive resilience building?

    Children and youth:
    Today at the second day of the 4th Asia Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. Margareta Wahlstrom met wit a group of children there today from four of the world’s most disaster-prone countries Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines, who shared with her their views on the implementation of the five-point Children’s Charter for Disaster Risk Reduction. “The important message I am hearing from you today is that you are ready to participate not just in planning disaster risk reduction activity but also in implementation and you have many concrete ideas,” she said.

    Points that came up were the children’s concern about the right to participate in disaster risk reduction activity and access to information. “We have regular earthquake simulation exercises at our High School which is good,” said Vita from Indonesia. “For us the most important thing is access to school and being able to express our aspirations. We want to be heard and involved in doing disaster risk reduction with adults.” Others spoke about the principle that schools must be safe and education must not be interrupted as a result of disasters. Disasters often disrupt children’s schooling in the absence of building codes or suitable alternative arrangements.
    (see more:

    The example above is an excellent illustration of capacity to articulate needs and solutions, if people from different groups are provided space and opportunities to actively partipate- the marginalized, vulnerable or with other special needs.

    What are the main opportunities - and also barriers - for these groups to be better targeted by decision makers, and included in the process. Who is responsible? What can be used as accountability? Both formal and informal governance structure could be of importance here, and especially at local government level, where the interventions are most direct.

    I look forward to more examples and suggestions: what are the priorities?
  • Elderly people are particularly, and also disabled people are vulnerable to natural disasters and projected climate change impacts in developing countries. Emergency care is substantially reduced for pregnant women who may suffer from life-threatening conditions. Distribution of health commodities and medication will be at risk temporarily and accessibility to water and food will drop. Gender-based inequalities are often enhanced during a disaster crisis. Socio-economic factors indicate that women often take longer than men to recover. Recommended steps from HFA is to, ‘work with community leaders, women’s groups and workers in undertaking participatory risk assessment and reduction actions’. Should this be applied for groups with special needs (disabilities, social disparities and gender) the priority could also equate to allocating appropriate resources. Subsequently, budget for vulnerable groups could take priority, especially for special needs during initial emergency response and investment towards developing disaster risk reduction initiatives. Low-income residents noted under social disparities need long-term solutions in developing countries, prone to floods. New technologies can be developed for high risk zones, such as Mekong River to introduce flood-resistant floating houses in rivers to resist ongoing natural hazards.
  • How are groups with special needs best recognized and their special knowledge harnessed for their participation in the different priority area for resilience building?”
    These are following groups with special needs best recognized;
    -Old people
    -Elders and children with disabilities
    The question, their special knowledge harnessed for their participation in the different priority area for resilience building? is quite difficult to explain with measurable indicators. Though different states of the world have passed legislations for vulnerable but still their implementation is less visible. Awareness and training are in some extend have made it easy child and woman access to information but elders and disables are neglected one in the third world countries. Schools and higher education institutions have still very few attention of DRR inclusion into curriculum. Gender based DRR strategies are still desirable. Knowledge of Early warning is non visible to the disable and elders people. Risk insurance policies have also do not regard to the vulnerable one.

    In order to harnessing their capacities, knowledge and special skills keeping in view their needs, measures are necessary;

    -State level DRR systems, approaches, and clear gender equity policy to ensure that the National Platform is explicitly sensitive to gender
    -Country law must protect the vulnerable one at the time of disaster.
    -Create livelihood sources for the vulnerable one.
    -All the mitigation measures which are structural and non structural must address gender sensitivity.
    -Governments, NGOs and CBOs make sure gender based approach all of the preparedness activities.
    -All the DRM Plans,Contingency Plans, Response Plan must focus gender.
    -The Recovery Plan and initiatives must be gender oriented.
    -Media play its due for disseminating informations and facts focusing gender.
    _Monetary institutions focus their policies on gender aspect.
    - Curriculum and educational research on DRR give due importance to gender issues.
    - Poverty and rapid urbanization should be addressed as they have effects on gender.
    -All the laws, departmental projects and planning consider gender importance.

    In my opinion the three top issues that should be addressed in 2015 post DRR framework are these;
    1. Poverty (rural population specially)
    2. Lack of Laws and accountability at state level
    3.Poor governance/Violation of basic human rights.

    For enhancing the role of these groups,participatory method, bottom up approach, role of religious institutions,role of educational institutions , strong applicable laws and accountability can support their empowerment and participation in awareness raising, risk assessment, decision making. Social and cultural values have great role in this regard.

    It is the responsibility all the segments of the society for attaining the desirable results. But the main responsible stakeholders are governments, NGOs, INGOs, CBOs, religious institutions,media and different legal/social forums.
  • In the case of disability, it is essential to get disaster planners and managers talking with disabled people's organisations. The operational details or practicalities follow from that. Research suggests that where disaster professionals adopt an inclusive attitude towards people with disabilities, positive changes can be made.
  • Indeed the vulnerable groups are exist in each segments of society and they are more or less negligible int the normal life. in case of emergency the vulnerable groups are at high risk and the situation become worst. infect the vulnerability and capacity is direct proportionate to each other,The DRR is also focus to divert the vulnerability into capacity and this can be possible when the Disaster Risk Reduction can be success full in resilient of the community. it seem difficult in the most of the developing countries where the DRR is consider a secondary approach and not given much attention.

    The DRR is a cross cutting them and therefore the community resilience is integrated in each sector of economy. when the culture of DRR is introduced and implement in subject matter it would become the culture of resilient society. when we will successful in implementation of program then it will easy to reflect in society. The vulnerable groups, gander,older peoples, persons with disability and children will be reflected at each component. The project of livelihood,education,health,water and sanitation or any developmental program can harness the DRR integrated approach.

    The development discourse and integration can alleviate the suffering of vulnerable groups of peoples through designing the program in which all groups of peoples can included. Thus the DRR is essential in each multipurpose developmental project.

  • Thank you
    I am now going to a funeral for one of my best friends, also from the disaster reduction community. She fought a cancer and in the end fell offer for other organs failure sue to treatment.
    This is what happens in society as well: we treat one problem, one risk, and can by this create new risks- this is the basis for proper and inlcusing risk an capacity assessemtns- looking into future and analyse the consequenses.

    The Asian Ministerial Conference closed (see more A unique feature of the conference was the number of different stakeholders contributing to the discussions of the future disaster risk reduction framework. Ten annexes to the Declaration were adopted from groups representing Child-Centred Organizations, Civil Society Organizations, Individuals and Organizations Concerned with Disability, Individuals and Organizations Concerned with Gender Issues, Mayors and Local Government Authorities, Media, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Parliamentarians, the Private Sector and Scientific, Academic and Research Stakeholders.

    Inclusion starts with the design- and needs to be consistent.

    I welcome your examples.

  • Dear on line colleagues,

    The principle of human equality constitutes a basis for human rights. The knowledge of of the principles goes a long way.. knowing that this principle is the source of rules concerning equal rights, treatment and prohibition against discrimination. Such rules i believe are binding the human right. International and nation laws should be set in pace to given and guide the vulnerable against discrimination.

    Interaction between those with special needs will pioneer the path to discovering and harnessing the potential in them. Also, in the process, the pre-disaster knowledge could also be imputed in them this then will reduce to preventing the impact on the natural disaster. From tender age in the aspect of the the children which i include among those with special needs, basic knowledge on disaster should be imbibed in them. by so doing, their knowledge can be harnessed in utilized for their betterment and for the world at large. My point is, or my suggestion is disaster professionals should adopt consistent inclusive attitude towards people with disabilities . then i can say positive attitude(safety actions) towards natural disaster can stay.

    All the best
  • Thank you for your contributions:

    Jalilur touching on the difficulty of defining indicators to measure the knowledge of disadvantaged groups inclusivements- and how even exsiting legislation is acted upon, or not.
    John and Ansel calling on 'disaster professionals' and planners, to a have 'consistent inclusive attitude towards people with disabilities', to talk to each other, as a precondition of undestanding
    Tomoku focusing on the elderly- and the necessity to allocate budgets to address the needs and participation of disadvantaged groups.

    I encourage you to read the statement by individuals and organizations dealing with disability adopted today at the 5th Asian Ministerial Conference in Yogyakarta at

    The Statement notes that the target population for inclusive disaster risk reduction includes the families and caregivers, not only the people with disabilities. WHO (2010) estimated that 15% of the world’s population are persons with some kind of disabilities- add to these their families and caregivers. Disability is a condition, which adds to other vulnerabilities creating multiple-layers of possible discrimination and exclusion.
    It is therefore important to work inclusively, across communities, as many of you have already pointed out.

    I seek examples of good practice where persons with disabilities and/or their organizations effectively contribute to community-based DRR initiatives.

    How can we make this common practice and establish the guidance through the new framework?

  • I think we should include among the groups with special needs those people heavily affected by violence or seriously deprived of their rights because of state fragility or corruption. These people, regardless their capabilities, cannot actually apply them due to the deterrent force of gangs and other sources of violence, increasingly driven by non-state actors. That multiplies the impact of extreme physical events –think Port au Prince; think Darfur- to such an extent that it amounts to extreme vulnerability akin to those arising from ailments or physical disabilities.

    These populations does not lack skills and capabilities to protect themselves from natural disasters (there are may cases in peer-reviewed and NGO literature giving evidence of the contrary) but the prevalence of violent gangs, predatory bussiness models and lack of essential services such as emergency response or police renders them incapable to use them. They clearly have especial needs, even if they are of social rather than physical origin.

    I have primarily in mind the plight of slum dwellers in areas such as San Pedro Sula in Honduras -80 murders per 100,000 inhabitants in the middle of the Hurricane Coast- but this argument is also perfectly applicable to rural settlements heavily affected by violence as, for instance, the mineral-rich landscape of Eastern Congo or the hotly disputed lands in the Amazonian agricultural frontier. It may also be expanded to people deprived or their full citizenship rights for various reasons such as, for instance, illegal migrants, untenured settlers, stateless persons or un-recognised refugees and IDPs.

    Jose Luis
  • Thank you, Jose Luis

    Doy la bienvenida también a aquellos que quisieran hacer comentarios en español, o francés
  • Dear on line colleagues,

    Just read the statement at the 5th Asian Ministerial Conference in Yogyakarta. Well spelt out. its not just about those with disabilities but their families included. Well i do believe going through with the deliberate excesis of interacting with them will surely include their family along the line.

    Well i must say it more complicated than its been said. for instance, the recent flood in my country, Nigeria precisely, a particular village in Bayelsa State. An aged woman refused to leave her flooded home course she believed its evil or against the tradition to leave. She was later forced to leave the place before she could be submerged.
    Now in a case like that, how can one convince other disabled who are so attached to their home to leave? Well, i believe the best way is to enlighten them in a case of such disaster.
    I suggest that a round and a international studies including personal interaction with the vulnerable ones to such disaster be carried thereby their knowledge on disaster could be harnessed.

    All the best
  • Hello all
    Just returning to this dialogue, and I'm again impressed by the wisdom that is being shared. Also want to say thanks to Loy for an off-line conversation we had last week about issues of vulnerability, capacity and the need for including aging as a factor in the discussion about vulnerabilities. Age cuts across a lot of the issues being discussed - more older adults live in poverty, the older the age group the larger the proportion of women is likely to be, a lot of disabilities and chronic illness are age-related, and so on. It's important that we recognize the interconnectedness between demographic and social factors to avoid the error of trying to fit a person into one or the other vulnerable group (eg, elderly, female, poor, disabled) when the individual may be dealing with challenges that reflect their simulateous membership in all the groups at once. I liked Loy's idea of mini-dialogues designed to really focus attention on some of these complex issues that need further exploration.
    Maggie Gibson
  • The vulnerability of different groups varies spatially and temporally.Like there are some special groups.As rightly instantiated by Jose Luis.
    To assess quantitatively ,the risk should be parameterised .Well,deterministic evaluation of such risks may render the exercise superfluous ,if we cannot understand the results churned out.
    So in my view:-
    1.Stakeholder feedback channels should be streamlined .
    2.The feedbacks should be inquired into extensively.
    3.The feedbacks should be fed into parameters which are designed situationally.Like the parameters will certainly differ if considered from aspect of differing risk causes.
    4.The results should be carefully interpreted and comparisons based on result are ecologically sensitive and not to be applied universally.
  • Dear Helena and colleagues,
    It strikes me that we should include those most vulnerable whose capacities we're discussing in this discussion. UN Enable has a list online ( of civil society organizations across the world focusing on the human rights of people with disabilities. I imagine these organizations must be linked through a virtual network where UNISDR could post an invitation to join this discussion. Similarly, perhaps a special invitation could be made to DRR gender networks to join the debate on this issue particularly.
    Silvi Llosa
  • All good points.

    For the differentiated quantative risk assessment methodology that Tomojeet mentions: does any of you have an example where this is applied, and in that case, can you share with us?

  • Dear All,
    From the discussions above, I am enriched. Different processes are discussed. I can understand VCA and its utility in identifying ‘Groups of Special Needs’. It is possible to collect disaggregated data regarding these groups. But the question is how we can address their needs at time of disasters. How the benefits chalked out are delivered? No doubt NGOs/ CBOs do extensive works for their benefits, but their capacity is limited. Only Governments have the capacity to cover extensively, if political will permits. But governments use top down and command and control approach to reach the needy people. So, the development is aggregated. And special needs are not addressed. So, what is the way out?
    I would suggest semi-government elected local bodies (Panchayati Raj Institute in India) act as ‘social capital’. At village level elected members have the thorough knowledge of special needs of each and every villager. If they are not otherwise motivated, they can deliver the fruits of development to the vulnerable groups. But the government planning should have the bottom up approach, using PRA methods and having the participation of the local elected member. ‘Ombuds’ as ‘watch dog’ is mentioned and I agree with Mr. Tomojeet’s views. The PRI members are insiders while NGOs/CBOs are outsiders or selected and have less accountability/ownership.
    Only it should be seen that the local body have the capacity to handle the problem and they have the resources. The Government machinery has a key role to play here. The lowest level of government and local elected body (like PRI) have to act together(along with NGOs and other stakeholders) to integrate the whole thing. Regular knowledge sharing with policy makers and different resource groups is essential and proper mechanism is to be evolved. The mechanism should take care that the ‘groups with special needs’ are not submerged under the visibility of ‘crowds with uncountable vulnerabilities’.
    Thank you,

  • Dear Himadri, Maggie, Tomojeet, Helena, Silvia, Jose Luis,

    Greetings and warm appreciation of the multitude and wealth of insights on multiple causes of and kinds of “vulnerability" and the double and triple burden they imply. Jose Luis your insight into the threats of corruption and state fragility as a trigger for active disempowerment by economically or politically powerful forces, is an important one for those of us in DRR who are not very effective in dealing with or planning for these types of complex social dynamics. Well organized associations of socially vulnerable people will have to be thought through in the context of more active social movements of the disenfranchised, and of such groups to have a role in disaster preparedness planning and mitigation, especially in areas there is endemic civil conflict. The landmark UNDP BCPR conflict disaster interface study, and its recommendations, has several practical examples of this insight. The live lessons of practice of disaster preparedness, response and recovery in the Delta in Burma, Mindanao, Kashmir, Jaffna and Aceh from the signature catastrophes there since 2004 are remembered realities for many in these countries.

    In large urban slums, there are social movements that have taken the lead in protecting fragile construction from being burnt down in the next fire, or washed away in the next flood. Slum dwellers organizations need to be an anchor in urban disaster preparedness.

    Thank you Maggie for reiterating the need for a mini dialogue on ageing. In your new position, you are well placed to lead the group of elderly adults and professional gerontologists to join with global leaders like Helpage to advance this discussion, and turn it into a strong coalition of advocates for the capacities and experience of those who have lived longer, and the special social roles in community organizing that the "retired " can and are playing in community mobilization in villages in rural and urban areas. I plan to relay message to Helpage regional office in Chiang mail Thailand being impressed by how their membership in the APG has led to good advocacy and practical partnership in the ASEAN region, and practical activities in the ground in several Asian countries.

    As Helena has relayed, the 5th AMC DRR has made breakthrough progress in putting the role of various special needs, special interest, “vulnerable " groups onto the agenda and outcome of a major regional DRR conference. Congratulations to Pak Syamsul and Pak Sugeng of Government of Indonesia ( BNPB), and Jerry and team in UNISDR and the partner support agencies for providing a new blueprint for the way ahead.


  • Friends, The OASIS Transformational Government Framework (TGF) has indicated the need for a framwork for the collection of best practices in public warning. It also explains that a model needs to exist for making sure that 'stakeholders', (such as special needs groups) are included. I am working with interested member states on the creation of a document which will state for the record, the 'best practices'. I propose to use the UNISDR as a platform for the collection of best practices in this area, with special attention to the prolicy products which arise as a relult of TGF, and the technology which has been build to enforce these policy products. I feel that by means of trial and error we will lern, but we will learn faster if we share experiences, both good and bad. I hope to present this idea at the confrence in 2013. - Mark Wood.
  • Dear Colleagues

    I was one of the participants at the 5th AMCDRR. During the technical session 3 focusing on local level risk governance the focus was on identifying the most vulnerable and the marginalized community. As we moved gradually during the discussion, a whole set of communities were identified as community with special needs. Right from Persons with disabilities to women to children and so forth. The problem was that where to focus and where not to focus. The findings of the different technical sessions were to be presented to the plenary for its approval and the problem was how to keep it short and to the point.

    I think the group with special needs varies based on the socio-cultural context. For example the degree of vulnerability of women might vary as one moves through the continuum from a patriarchal to a matriarchal society and same is the case with other vulnerable group. What I think is needed is thorough mapping of the community to come out with the group with special needs. We need to focus on bringing the invisible force of resilience to the forefront.

    To answer to some of the queries raised by Helena

    1. How to harness their capacities, knowledge, and special skills to become active- while recognizing their needs: First and foremost we have to recognize, accept and internalize the fact that different group of people have different abilities and the issue us recognizing it and harnessing it properly. This needs to start by keeping them at the center to different interventions. The self confidence of the group has to be enhanced and an atmosphere created so that they feel comfortable and safe coming to the fore front.

    2. What are the top three issues that should be addressed in the post-2015 Framework for DRR? The top three issues should be the inclusion of the most vulnerable and marginalized community from rhetoric to one of the non-negotiables. There should be very well defined indicatiors in the HFA itself which measures the inclusion of the marginalized community.

    What actions or modalities can support their empowerment and participation in awareness raising, risk assessment, decision making (examples welcome): First and foremost we have to make the invisible population visible by doing proper mapping exercise in the field. We also have to understand that there is huge diversity among this community also. Proper steps should be taken to come out with diversity sensitive planning.

    Who is responsible to make this happen? The primary responsibility lies with the Government. There are various instances where in the capacity and the resources available with the Government is overwhelmed by the magnitude of the issue. It is the responsibility of the international community to help the state build a culture of resilience. I am proposing a unified framework for action at various levels and different agencies contributing to the same with the concurrence of the Government.

    Warm wishes
  • With respect to the specific issue of "reaching out to a wider audience", I suggested that due attention be given in the "Post-2015 Framework" to the involvement of Indigenous communities in DRR and to the broader idea of ensuring that DRR best practices and promotional campaigns are inclusive of Indigenous experience and that they are made culturally and linguistically accessible to the many communities and individuals who have heretofore not been part of the DRR "process".

    As we know, DRR involves the process of Identifying, assessing and reducing the risks of disaster. It is most often the case that information (broadly defined) and other tools for DRR such as plans, vulnerability maps, and even legislation and law are typically prepared by organizational structures in the countries. Indigenous peoples often do not participate in their design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

    Disasters affect populations and ecosystems differently, depending on many factors such as unsustainable development practices, ecosystem degradation, poverty as well as climate variability and extremes that have led to an increase in both natural and man-made disaster risk at a rate that poses a threat to lives and development efforts.

    Indigenous peoples around the world are using their traditional knowledge to cope with and survive disasters. This knowledge is collectively owned, disseminated by non-formal means and become imbedded in a community’s way of life as a means of survival. Their methods and practices originate within the community and have been developed and adapted over several generations; informed by traditional knowledge and empirical evidence.

    An ISDR initiative, as part of the Post-2015 Framework, would provide an opportunity to share experiences and strategies of various indigenous peoples’ communities throughout the world using their traditional knowledge for disaster risk reduction. In addition, it would also focus on the impacts of disasters on indigenous peoples’ communities and attempt to learn what measures are being taken to reduce risk and plan response strategies.

    Though I did not grow up culturally Indian, I am an enrolled member of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (my family is Tlingit), I work regularly with Alaska Native, Native American and Native Hawaiian communities, with a primary focus on improving access to health information and reducing vulnerability to disasters. I am currently working with the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and the Pan American Health Organization to increase the focus on risk reduction in indigenous communities. I encourage you to work with these groups and with ISDR and others to bring the voice of Indigenous communities to our discussion so that all can learn from their experience and knowledge and so that they can benefit from the insights that have been made possible through the efforts of ISDR.
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