Local and Regional Governments at the Forefront of Disaster Management

The Asia and Pacific Region, in particular, is highly prone to disaster risks. At the same time, the region is home to around 60% of the world population. In this context, disaster risk reduction is of especial importance in order to protect citizens and to reduce their vulnerability. This challenge has been directly taken up by municipalities, as the closest government level to the people. For the localisation of global agendas, it is critical to achieve resilience at local level and, thus, local actors must commit to the shared responsibilities and to strengthen capacities to increase disaster resilience and achieve the targets of Sendai Framework.

UCLG ASPAC is a network hub for learning and best practice knowledge center that encourages cities in the region to reinforce their efforts on the localisation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and to create more resilient cities and a safer future for people. DRR has become priority in our works. We conducted trainings, peer learning activities, workshop on disaster resilient measurement tools, and took lead in the Stakeholder Consultation for Local Authorities in Asian Ministerial Conference on DRR (2018 in Mongolia). See these inspiring best practices of cities in mitigating disaster risks.


Building Community’s Leadership Capacity for Disaster Risk Reduction
Christchurch (New Zealand)

The city puts community facility networks, community boards and community governance teams at the center of new disaster management development plan, considering these actors know best the neighborhoods and its residents.

The City Council provides finance, materials, and human resources. Moreover, community governance teams, in co-operation with national agency of civil defense, organised and moderated participatory events to support different community groups.

The participatory approach “Leaders in Communities – Programme” was established in 2014. A multi-stakeholder governance group that designs, finances, resources, delivers and evaluates projects supervised this ongoing programme.

The inclusive approach has also allowed to better reflect issues, concerns or compelling needs of residents in emergency situations. It functions as a catalyst for different stakeholders to come together and discuss their needs, expectations, and actions. Motivated by a shared purpose, the stakeholders negotiate and put aside individual interests, allowing the development of community-based resilience plans with higher level of ownership and commitment from community members.

Low level of reflection on community needs and expectations in disaster risk management and strategies.

Bottom-up approach to foster the participation of members of local communities in the creation of disaster management strategies.

The participation of the community members in the formulation of the plans leads to higher levels of ownership and commitment by the community.

Collaborative approaches that include the local community in the creation of disaster risk management strategies and plans could be integrated in existing practices.


Faridpur Municipality and Disaster Risks
Faridpur (Bangladesh)

Located at the centre of Bangladesh with an estimated population of more than 400,000 inhabitants and rapid urban growth, the city faces challenges such as poor livelihoods and living environments, lack of participatory planning, lack of awareness for development challenges (particularly disaster risks), high rates of unemployment, lack of institutional coordination and low community representation in decision making processes.

Faridpur is also vulnerable to floods, storms, and other hazards. Tackling these issues, the municipality of Faridpur established legal acts and used an integrative approach involving municipal authorities, government agencies, NGOs, and other relevant stakeholders to foster inclusive urban development which identifies and addresses vulnerable groups and integrates all citizens into planning and decision-making processes.

It provides an institutional setting that integrates the stake of all interest groups into day-to-day decision-making inclusive and resilient urban development take place. It allows development of climate resilient infrastructure (roads, trains), provision of facilities (urban greenery, safe water, sanitation). It also leads to institutional decentralisation and creation of awareness within local community for resilience and disaster risk management.

Rapid urbanisation with all its negative consequences and lack of participatory disaster risk planning leads to a very high vulnerability towards natural hazards.

The city established a legal act that guarantees the integration of disaster risk strategies in urban planning and aims for a stronger collaborative approach.

Legal act that requires integration of disaster risk strategies in urban planning together with enforced citizen participation has led to a significant decrease of the city’s vulnerability towards natural hazards.

The integration of disaster risk strategies in the legal framework of urban planning and the enforcement of citizen participation can be adopted by other cities.


Empowering People in Disaster Risk Reduction
Semarang (Indonesia)

The city of Semarang, located at the Northern coast of Java, is particularly vulnerable to floods, due the steep flow of river and insufficient dyke constructions. It causes damage of private. Additionally, coastal relief is partially lower than the sea water, causing floods on daily basis. Residents living in this area are at high risk.

To improve preparedness and enhance emergency management during disaster occurrence, an information center was established. to complete disaster warnings with concrete data on affected areas and impact level to government and public in advance using meteorological and real-time data on rivers’ water level. The emergency is, then, categorised based on intensity levels according to adequate measures used by local governments and other institutions. In addition, the Resilient Village Policy was implemented and included participatory activities (events, trainings, disaster risk mapping) to enhance the preparedness of affected settlement areas.

High risk of floods for the low lands close to the sea areas and especially during the annual rainy season.

Establishment of a disaster risk information center that raises awareness to monitor river and to issue warnings in case of an anticipated flooding.

Due to the forecast and early warning mechanisms, the local governments and the citizens can take adequate measurement for better preparation from floodings.

The establishment of a local center for information and early warning on river floodings can improve preparedness and reaction in case of an event.

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