The solution lies in understanding community resilience and building in a culture that drives DRR strategies within relief and recovery programming.Allowing programmes to become more contextually specific, with the flexibility to meet the real needs at the critical times within a post-disaster environment.
Post-disaster, recovery, emergency, programmes, resilience, DRR, assessments, exit strategies, Haiti, WATSAN, humanitarian legacy
Can a humanitarian legacy be developed that leaves behind a wake of sustainable solutions rather than chaos? Being aware and taking responsibility for the longer-term impacts of relief operations on recovery is essential.
Ensuring a rapid and comprehensive recovery in a post-disaster environment requires the integration of recovery strategy within the early stages of relief planning. Understanding community resilience, coping strategies and recovery initiatives in a post-disaster environment will inform strategic planning to enable programmes to support recovery and not hinder it through the creation of dependency and the destruction of social networks and livelihoods. There is the capacity to lay the foundations of recovery in emergency response programming that will facilitate the potential for rapid recovery, moving away from the frequently recurring protracted reliefs and allow for the development of effective exit strategies. As a consequence early recovery strategies will proactively install mechanisms that ensure the sustainable transfers of programme activity to in-country actors, leaving a legacy of sustainable solutions and not one of chaos.
The solution lies in understanding community resilience and building in a culture that drives DRR strategies within relief and recovery programming. Allowing programmes to become more contextually specific, with the flexibility to meet the real needs at the critical times within a post-disaster environment.
The research will develop a critical assessment of the response in Haiti and its current transition to a state of recovery, highlighting where the key areas are for the implementation of early recovery strategies in the WASH, Shelter and livelihoods sectors for future strategic operations. The assessment will aim to understand the operational dynamics in the relief phase, coping strategies within the population and how their recovery was supported. Uncovering the complexities and realities within this post-disaster environment. This assessment will highlight critical operational areas within disaster response that have the potential to provide greater support in building community resilience early, laying the foundations of recovery.
A strategic change is needed to develop a more effective humanitarian industry and this research aims to understand and actively deliver practical mechanisms, policies and tools to be utilized by humanitarian response actors.
This solution has a worldwide application, with a capacity to apply to urban and rural environments to build resilience to natural disasters, i.e. earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, in low-income community.
Who is currently developing this solution?
Loughborough University’s Water Engineering and Development Center. Through University funded doctoral research.
Who should initiate the project? Which actors will be strategic in the implementation?
International institutions like the UNs coordination agency OCHA, Donor institutions and International relief agencies will be key actors in the initiation of such transitional strategic approaches within the sector. Dedicating time to build capacity and equip government to undertake parallel approaches. The inclusion and cooperation of local NGOs civil society groups and local administrative bodies will be key for successful implementation.
Who should ensure follow-up of the solution at the local level?
The implementers of early recovery strategies on the ground such as, International relief agencies and government bodies dedicated to emergencies and recovery will monitor and evaluate the implementation and performance of their early recovery initiatives. Any activities that need to be transferred for long-term operation will be handled by appropriate in-country actors who have been fully trained and equipped to do so.
Research is currently being carried out, using post-disaster Haiti as a comprehensive case study. This case study will enable the assessment of relief operations in a complex environment to identify how current response programming supports or hinders the dynamics of community recovery and whether there is the capacity within relief operations to lay the foundations of recovery, building resilience and proactively supporting an effective and sustainable transition.
This research will assess several components (stated below) with the aim to fully understand and develop effective new strategies and mechanisms in the form of operational policy and programming tools.
Research components :
·Humanitarian sector operational dynamics: Donors, accountability and regulatory frameworks, coordination and evaluation.
·Agency operational frameworks: Looking at needs, risk and performance assessments, context-analysis, targeting, programme planning, feed-back systems and exit strategies. With the aim of highlighting key areas for mainstreaming disaster risk reduction strategies, particularly building-in community resilience.
·The concept of ‘Disaster Resilience’ will be investigated highlighting fundamental aspects of household and community resilience and how specifically in Haiti was community resilience supported or hindered. This new knowledge will generate realistic and practical measures that can be fed into emergency programming for the future.
·With a focus on the WASH sector, an analysis of the importance of WATSAN provision for building resilience and sustainable recovery will be quantified. Developing a proactive recovery approach in the WASH sector could be used as a benchmark to increase resilience in the post-disaster environment.
·How to ensure effective transition from relief to recovery, closing the much seen ‘operational gap’?
·Understand and define what attributes disaster resilience and comprehend the value of WATSAN provision in this dynamic.
·Examine the opportunities, mechanisms and potential barriers that exist in the mainstreaming of resilience measures into emergency response and recovery programming.
How does the solution contribute to the target’s effective implementation and attainment?
The strategies and mechanisms developed through this research aims to highlight the connection and discover how to operationally link relief, recovery and development. Allowing the massive resources gathered in humanitarian responses to be utilized in a way that can lay the foundations of recovery, ensuring relief operations leave sustainable transfer mechanisms that will stimulate a better operating environment for recovery to take place, building disaster resilience, which in turn will ensure development is not hindered in the long-term.
The solution proactively takes the idea of initiating DRR and particularly resilience measures in the rehabilitation and preparedness phases of the disaster cycle and introduces within the relief and early recovery phase of a response. An innovation that aims to provide the missing link between relief, recovery and development, a link that will stimulate a sustainable transition to recovery, reducing the potential for protracted relief situation and dependency. Allowing resources to be provisioned more cost effectively and ensure the humanitarian industry to leave a legacy of sustainable solutions, rather than chaos.
This process of research and development will offer outputs in the form of new, strategic operational policy, assessment and programme planning tools.
The proactive implementation of strategic recovery mechanisms from the start should enable relief programmes to smoothly transition to recovery programmes and provide an operational framework for effective transfer of activities to appropriate partners. If sustainable transfer mechanisms are in place to allow for the introduction of timely recovery that suits the context, this will deem the successful implementation of operational policy.
The solutions produced from this approach aim to build resilience early, thus indicators of progress will include the stabilization and/or increase of individual and community access to assets, work, public services, legal and financial services, and social and political networks. Standards should be set for adequate and timely progress to be made and a baseline of resilience determined for performance analysis.
Given your experience, who would / should be most interested in this Solution and why? How will it help them?*
International relief and recovery agencies- Introducing new more strategic operational policies will:
· Increase the cost-effectiveness of relief programmes by reducing the potential for protracted relief situations, reducing dependency on high cost materials and management strategies, with programmes producing higher impact, longer lasting initiatives.
· Allow agencies to better support beneficiaries, gaining the flexibility to meet the real needs, building better relations.
· Develop a better operating environment that will increase communication and cooperation between agencies, local and national partners, private sector, which will enable a more conducive environment for effective transfer mechanisms and exit strategies.
· Ultimately leaving a legacy of sustainable solutions that will contribute to overall disaster risk reduction within disaster-prone countries and build-in long-term resilience against the devastating effects of continuous disaster.
UN agencies – Introducing these operational policies will contribute to meeting the mandates of several UN agencies:
· UN-OCHAs role in transition:
o To encourage strategic and operational coherence between humanitarian, recovery, reconstruction and development assistance.
o Decrease remaining acute vulnerability through well-coordinated assistance efforts.
o Assist the launch and scale up of recovery assistance.
o Mandate to carry out the implementation of The “Hyogo Declaration” and the “Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters”
o Need to understand the cost- effectiveness of this change to operational strategy, which in turn will guide a change in pre-requisites, allowing more effective time frames and flexibility of financial resources.
In what context do you think this solution could / would work best and why?*
Emergency response programming in the context of natural disasters. Offering operational strategies that will improve the transition to recovery and longer-term disaster risk reduction.
What is the minimum investment necessary (in terms of human resources, time,energy, infrastructure, financial resources, political will, etc.) in order to effectively implement this solution?*
To be determined on completion of research findings
What projects/programmes inspired this solution?
The increase in experience of protracted reliefs and the ever existing operational ‘gap’ between relief and recovery, i.e. Haiti earthquake.
Priority 4(h) of the Hyogo Framework for action: Incorporate disaster risk reduction measures into post-disaster recovery and rehabilitation processes and use opportunities during the recovery phase to develop capacities that reduce disaster risk in the long term, including through the sharing of expertise, knowledge and lessons learned.
What organisations / institutions/committees do you think should commit to this solution in priority?*
UN OCHA/UN ISDR
Global Clusters Networks
Water Engineering and Development Center (WEDC)