OPM research features in 2015 World Disasters Report
22nd edition of the influential report includes chapter based on pioneering research by OPM team.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) annual report on disaster response and preparedness is released today. The high profile report this year focuses on action at a local level. Overwhelmingly, the report shows that local action is more effective than top-down and imported approaches to development.
Disaster risk management in focus
In the second chapter of this year’s report, OPM Senior Consultants Zoe Scott and Marcela Tarazona explore the factors that determine whether disaster risk management (DRM) capacity building programmes succeed or fail. Governments and donors both invest considerable sums in projects designed to build local and national capacity in DRM each year for two reasons. First, overall need is growing as more disasters happen and their severity increases. Second, DRM programmes can only be sustainable if those who would be, or are, affected by disasters are a part of the projects themselves.
How to actually go about building this capacity is not well documented, however, so IFRC conceived and launched a project to fill this evidence gap.
Their three-stage research process started with a global literature review, looking at all that was already known about DRM capacity building, and was followed by six case studies from countries that varied geographically, politically and economically, and a global survey. The case studies focused on active or recently completed DRM capacity building projects in Ethiopia, the Philippines, Haiti, Myanmar, Pakistan and Mozambique, and involved interviews, workshops and focus groups with a variety of stakeholders in each project. This in-depth approach allowed the team to draw out common themes from otherwise disparate projects.
The final data and analysis will be published in a report launch in Geneva on the 12th November, but the World Disasters Report chapter presents preliminary findings, including that flexibility, ownership of programmes, creating an enabling environment, improving the impact of training, and supporting the mainstreaming of DRM into normal governmental processes have been identified as key success factors.
Co-author Zoe Scott said: ‘Developing DRM capacity is so important for poor communities that are faced with ever-greater numbers of disasters. There are lots of programmes out there trying to build capacity both nationally and locally, but their efficacy is hugely varied. We’re therefore aiming to pinpoint a number of factors that will help ensure success for future projects’.
The full research findings will be available from October, and will form a vital blueprint for development practitioners to build into their DRM programmes. If the policy and programme recommendations are taken on board, projects should be more effective and communities significantly less susceptible to disasters.