Theme 2: Local Wisdom, Risk Resilience and Adaptation

Theme 2: Local Wisdom, Risk Resilience and Adaptation

More than 1.6 billion people have been affected by disasters in East Asia and Pacific since 2000 (EM-DAT 2012). In 2011, disaster losses amounted to $380 billion. East Asia sustained 80% of these losses in the first nine months. Disasters can push affected households further into debt, with the poor carrying the greatest debt burden.

A science that responds to need and sustainability is required to reduce disaster risks. As 75% of vulnerable populations in coastal zones come from Asia, disaster risk reduction initiatives tend to be focused usually on urban non-dispersed populations along flood ways. Little is known about how climatic meteorological events are affecting the rural context. Small-scale landslides in rural areas are becoming commonplace along the path of meteorological events. This concern warrants urgent especially since it raises questions of food security, especially given existing land use patterns and agricultural practices on the ground.

A study found that every $1 spent on mitigation saved countries $3 – $4.1 (WB, 2013). Hazard mitigation is most effective when based on inclusive, long-term planning developed before a disaster strikes. Restoring natural ecosystems can be more cost-effective than engineered solutions.

Guide Questions

  • What research questions are the academic and research community formulating to improve our critical understanding of disaster risk reduction?
  • What knowledge, capacities, values and experiences are needed by populations exposed to hazards to reduce their vulnerability and build their risk resilience?
  • How can we mainstream the concepts, tools and analytical methods for disaster risk reduction in local governance?
  • How can land and water governance be improved to respond to disaster risks?
  • How can civil society help line agencies and local governments improve coordination for disaster risk reduction?
  • Where are cases that: (i) feature downscaled methods for identifying hazards, exposure, vulnerability and risks; (ii) invest in emergency preparedness (e.g. weather, climate, hydromet services) and other risk reduction measures (e.g. green and grey infrastructure)?

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