[NEWS DIGEST] Building disaster resilience with vulnerable groups

[NEWS DIGEST] Building disaster resilience with vulnerable groups

CORE works on Resilience in the society ; a society as a whole, where nobody should be left behind when a disaster occurs, either it is for prevention, preparedness, response or recovering phase.
Without regard here for the underlying cause of the vulnerability, the thing is some groups are more vulnerable than others.
Disaster resilience builders must work on the inclusion of those vulnerable groups - not only for them, but with them.

For this week, we propose you five items about vulnerability in disaster resilience perspective, seen in Prevention Web Newsletters; each one includes plenty of useful links!  Two days after the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, who are in a certain context also vulnerable groups.

[Spoiler] Our next webinar will be on the inclusion of vulnerable groups in disaster resilience.

  1. Better emergency preparedness can protect older adults from climate change, by The Conversation Media Group.
  2. The future of disaster resiliency and the need for a global vulnerability index, by The International Science Council.
  3. Funding for resilience: five key objectives to protect vulnerable groups through environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing, by The International Science Council.
  4. Heatwaves and vulnerable populations: mapping their needs in the Hague, by The Hague University of Applied Sciences.
  5. Disaster risk reduction policy and practice for the hyper-marginalised, by DRR Dynamics Ltd.

I] Better emergency preparedness can protect older adults from climate change

Last Summer, British Columbia (Canada) suffered from heatwaves and other extreme weather events, including strong rainfall and flooding. The Conversation journal tells us that the most impacted people were the older adults experiencing homelessness and housing insecurities.

In July 2021, more than 700 deaths had been counted, mostly older people living alone with no good housing conditions, ventilation or protection: “there was a lack of consideration for senior-specific accessible supports that accommodated those with assistive devices or mobility aids”.

“Solutions need to account for everyone and establish ways to reduce mobility, language and technological barriers. Increased relevant outreach and transportation to nearby cooling centres could be one way municipalities address these barriers and increase accessibility to necessary resources during a heat wave, […] bolstering emergency services [and] healthcare professionals during these times, […] providing trauma informed resources, […] increasing tree canopy and shade opportunities in the long-term city planning” are good solutions for emergency preparedness.

“Understanding the lived experiences of those impacted is necessary for identifying barriers and implementing appropriate solutions […] By connecting and amplifying their voices, we can inform research and policy innovation that focuses on accessible emergency preparedness and safety measures.”.



II] The future of disaster resiliency and the need for a global vulnerability index

Last August 2, the International Science Council (ISC) published an article on the “current policies in place, with recommendations for improvement in order to identify the most vulnerable groups on a global and regional level, which could then inform the local level”.
It says that despite the current vulnerability indices that cover several aspects, there is a need of a more comprehensive one to focus better on developing nations and other necessary groups: “the United Nations currently does not have a global vulnerability index. Even though vulnerability is being discussed in different UN fora, there is concern that if the UN does not make efforts to unify and coordinate these discussions, it may create confusion that will not adequately address the needs of the most vulnerable populations”.

“Originally decided in 2000 and subsequently revised in 2005, the Economic and Environmental Vulnerability Index (EVI) is one of the earliest vulnerability indices used at the regional and global level. […] It currently consists of two dimensions of vulnerability 5economic and environmental). […] While an economic model to address vulnerability is important, it does not fully capture the scope of vulnerability with deliberation of geography, finances or environmental conditions. […]”.

In February 2021, Jacob Assa and Riad Meddeb from the UNDP developed a “multi-dimensional vulnerability index (MVI)“ that builds upon the EVI, integrating more economic indicators and adding three financial and geographic ones.
UNICEF also developed its own index in 2021, focusing on the vulnerability of children: the Children’s Climate Risk Index (CCRI) with two pillars (exposure and vulnerability).
“In general, indicators need to be customized for different regions to capture local dimensions and reflect the needs of local vulnerable populations”.

The Re-Energize DR3 project funded by Belmont Forum focuses its research on the governance of disaster risk reduction and resilience with an emphasis on floods, droughts and heat waves in coastal cities and islands.
“There’s been some interesting work on the MVI from the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS). Their 2021 report includes an expanded review of existing MVI and recommendations for criteria on the development of an MVI. It also links vulnerability and resilience together using dimensions of structural vulnerability, and structural and policy resilience, which are particularly promising”.

“It is hoped that the regional vulnerability indices will be completed in time for the 2027 review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes the Sustainable Development Goals, and the review of the Sustainable Development Indicators in 2028, which will be agreed upon by the UN Statistical Commission”.



III] Funding for resilience: five key objectives to protect vulnerable groups through environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing

Last August 4, the International Science Council (ISC) published an article that underlines five key objectives to environmental, social and governmental (ESG) investing, from a simple analysis: “It is estimated that a €1.6 trillion global investment in resiliency could mitigate losses of €6.4 trillion (four times the original cost). Through ESG criteria, contributions to resiliency can alleviate some of the culminated burden of post-disaster financial loss”.

Here below are those key objectives:

  • ESG investing helps shift the mindset from a short-term perspective on disaster impact and helps prioritize a “Think Resilience” approach for all investments.
  • Consistent funding in all communities at all income-levels will have a significant impact on vulnerable populations.
  • Using the current technologies would be an asset to best support resilient systems.
  • Building relationships between private and public sectors would be a reliable source of investment in resilience.
  • Identifying and implementing solutions around the gaps, barriers, opportunities and enabling factors would facilitate and scale-up investments in resilience.

“ESG investing will be crucial in the future as resiliency planning is built into the budget of governmental, public and private spending. The collaboration of public, private and governmental contributions at the forefront of disaster impact will have significant benefits that will help generate active, more accessible funding for vulnerable groups. This is increasingly important as leaders around the world are seeing the impacts that climate-related disasters have on their communities”.



IV] Heatwaves and vulnerable populations: mapping their needs in the Hague

Last February 2022, Silvia I. Bergh, Ashley Richard Longman and Erwin van Tuijl from the Centre of Expertise on Global Governance of The Hague University of Applied Sciences, published a report on “Heatwaves and vulnerable populations: Mapping their needs in the Hague”, in collaboration with the International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam and the International Centre for Frugal Innovation.

“This applied research project aimed to generate a better understanding of the effects of heatwaves on vulnerable population groups in the municipality of The Hague and suggests ways in which the municipality can help such groups to cope with these heatwaves. […]

The report includes ten main recommendations for the municipality of The Hague, grouped under the headings of the four main phases in the local Heat Plan: preparation phase (autumn/winter), pre-warning phase (spring), warning phase (summer) and evaluation phase (autumn/winter). […]

The four research questions asked about (a) the socio-economic, age, gender, health and other relevant characteristics of the vulnerable populations, (b) their needs in order to adapt to heatwaves, (c) the sustainable (frugal) solutions that exist to better meet vulnerable populations' needs during periods of extreme heat, and the extent to which these can be institutionalised, and (d) the actions that the municipality of The Hague could undertake to address these needs and thereby contribute to urban resilience”.



V] Disaster risk reduction policy and practice for the hyper-marginalised

Next Monday 15 of August, DRR Dynamics Ltd will organise an informal discussion on LinkedIn live to “explore the role of hyper-marginalised people within disaster risk reduction policy, focusing specifically on how policy makers and practitioners can better understanding and consider the needs, capacities and experience of hyper-marginalised people”.

The discussion will build on the findings from the three reports launched by DRR Dynamics over the past 12 months and explore issues linked to:

  • LGBTQIA+ inclusion
  • The role of animals in assisting marginalised groups to recover from disasters and;
  • Hyper-marginalised groups and disaster data



[Spoiler 2] Stay tuned, our next webinar to be held on early October will be on the inclusion of vulnerable groups in disaster resilience.