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How to better protect the poor in hazard prone areas: implications of climate change resilience for poverty reduction and environmental policy
Mark Pelling and Daanish Mustafa1 Background Paper for Conference on the " The Environments of the Poor”, 24-26 Nov 2010, New Delhi2 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Framing development with climate change resilience places renewed emphasis on many aspects of pro-poor disaster risk reduction that are already applied. Resilience argues for risk reduction that aims to protect the vulnerable (or support the vulnerable in protecting themselves) from foreseeable risk. But importantly, beyond this resilience calls for investment into generic capacities and support for experimentation and diversity that can be a resource when the unexpected and unplanned for happens. It is also an agenda that accepts there is no final state of ‘improved development’. Rather, that uncertainty from climate change as it interacts with socio-economic, demographic and local environmental systems requires support for institutions to foster constant innovation, experiment and flexibility to hedge against an increased range of risk as well as capitalize on opportunity. Recent work on resilience has begun to tease out specific components. Here we identify ten which are used to examine the different empirical cases explored: diversity, joined-up governance, flexibility, localism, preparedness, equity, social capital, non-linearity, process learning and co-responsibility. Applying these components, the paper has used a resilience lens to explore the relationships between existing development governance, coping and adaptive capacities and climate change mitigation. It finds that in many cases resilience is being constrained by dominant development pathways, but elsewhere that adaptation and mitigation provide easy opportunities for building resilience. The focus is on those in poverty and supporting institutions and organizations. Four environmental contexts are used to explore resilience: drylands, mountains, coasts and cities. Drylands are home to around 42% of the population of Asia, with 800 million living in arid and semi-arid regions. Water management regimes induce risk and undermine resilience: Where water is scare lowincome framers often have little control over local water management. Resilience is enhanced by management systems that are inclusive and flexible. Over-engineered water management infrastructure can generate risk and loss as in the Pakistan floods of 2010. Karez systems: learning from the past to secure the future: The longevity of these systems in part is explained by their many attributes of resilience (diversity, localism, equity, flexibility and social capital). These systems are being undermined by individualization, new technology and
Both King’s College London For more information, see the conference website: http://www.adb.org/Documents/Events/2010/Environments-Poor/default.asp
competition and replaced by tubewell water extraction that offers higher immediate returns but undermines long-term resilience and sustainability. Are alternative forms of local water management possible based on hybrids that acknowledge the influence of modernity but try to preserve also the resilience components of traditional water management? Mountains in Asia are home to amongst the poorest and most innovative in South, Western and Central Asia. But contemporary development can threaten rather than harness these attributes with mountain communities becoming increasingly vulnerable to natural hazards. Mountain water resources and risk management emphasize tensions between local and distant priorities for resilience: Increasing demand for water from low-land agriculture and urban centers from surrounding countries places pressure on mountain water resources with new large dam projects being considered despite their proven high social and ecological costs. Resilience principles argue for small, local scale projects that serve local needs for water and energy. Can a more balanced approach reduce local risk and meet some of the needs of distant populations? Himalayan Environmental Degradation: science and policy paradigms constrain resilience: For two decades land degradation in the Himalaya and associated flooding was explained by a linear relationship between population growth, land poverty, increasing demand on wood and deforestation. Contemporary recognition that the poor are not the main drivers of deforestation has changed the way poverty-environment relations are considered and acted upon. The poor, especially women, are still affected by forest resources, but other options – especially seasonal male economic migration – are important in sustaining household economies and proving a capacity for resilience shown through diversity, preparedness and non-linearity. Coasts in Asia include some of the most densely populated, primary resource dependent communities and economies world-wide. The Ganges delta alone is home to 140 million people. Fish and fish farming: a route for diversity: Fish make up a substantial proportion of the protein intake of the poor as well as being a source of income with women making up around 46% of the labour-force once secondary activities are also included. Where local control is retained over fish farming it has scope to be a critical source of livelihood diversity and one that is already being deployed in Bangladesh as farmers learn to cope with rising salinisation and water levels. From micro-credit to sustainable finance across the disaster cycle: Recently micro-finance has been applied in the post-disaster reconstruction of livelihoods and local economies. Initiatives have included work by BRAC, while in India the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development has shown that even mainstream lenders can contribute. The best micro-finance schemes have been integrated into livelihood and social capital building programmes, building resilience for risk reduction. Cities Despite unprecedented numbers being lifted out of slum conditions, absolute numbers still grow with 500 million now living in slums across the region. Urban areas concentrate poverty and risk so that single disasters can have impacts that stretch beyond the city. Decentralized governance: subsidiarity and joined-up action: Where localism in urban governance systems works best it is exemplified by local government and civil society actors collaborating to identify vulnerability and risk now and in the context of climate change. This has been demonstrated in efforts to raise risk awareness and redirect development in built up areas,
but also during disaster reconstruction and relocation where local host as well as migrant or relocated communities must be included in local planning. Contagion: the movement of risk: Asia’s globally important urban centres are nodes in global finance and gateway cities for regional trade flows. Connectivity brings advantages but also the possibility of catastrophic disaster having economic knock-on effects around the region or world. Global reinsurance has only recently begun to consider the possibility of simultaneous disaster hitting high value cities with implications for this global financial sector. Large cities also draw essential resources from ever increasing hinterlands. Growing demands for water and energy have largely been met through supply-end solutions but this overlooks huge possibilities for demand-end work. Climate change mitigation opens opportunities for decentralized, local water collection, energy production and conservation, with wider implications for resilience through support for joined-up policy and localism. Planning and finance options for supporting resilience in Asia are manifold. The aim of this paper has been to show how much is being achieved already with only marginal adjustment needed for quick returns to enhance resilience. The Hyogo Framework for Action makes explicit reference to resilience as a goal of investment in knowledge, education and innovation. Indeed each of its five priorities for action can already be used to support resilience. Investing in disaster prevention, in more comprehensive information systems, in research that can help foster local experimentation and institutional support for learning are key opportunities that disaster management has substantial experience of and can be used now to open pathways for resilience. At the same time resilience demands a radical alternative to economic growth and trickle down development, one that calls for greater investment in experimentation and learning and of diversity to hedge against a more uncertain future. INTRODUCTION: DYNAMIC LANDSCAPES OF RISK AND RESILIENCE This paper focuses on interactions between poverty, vulnerability and environmental management in places already exposed to climate change. We are interested in the ways in which climate change and efforts to build resilience might alter geographies of poverty and environmental hazard. Following a short framing discussion on the nature of resilience and an overview of the scale of poverty and climate change associated disaster risk and loss in Asia the paper will examine four critical environmental contexts in turn: drylands, mountain, coastal and urban. The aim is to use these critical socio-environmental contexts to indicate the character of the existing and coming challenge to development under climate change, and to highlight the kinds of capacities that already exist and can be built on as we come to learn how to build resilience to climate change in ways that can simultaneously enhance human wellbeing and environmental sustainability. Discussion is structured around four key questions: 1. What are the range of coping mechanisms already deployed by the at-risk poor, and those responsible for risk management? 2. What might be the interactions between climate change mitigation and disaster risk management? 3. What are the implications of resilience for risk management practices and priorities?
4. What opportunities for economic and social development and good governance are opened by placing greater emphasis on mitigation and resilience in disaster risk management? With a view to policy recommendation we examine opportunities that resilience and mitigation can offer for meeting the existing imperatives of poverty reduction and inclusive growth, for example in opening new demands for specific technologies or land use activities. In answering each question scale and integration will be important to consider. RESILIENCE AND DISASTER RISK MANAGEMENT Resilience has long been a term used in disasters research and policy, predominantly applied simply to denote the flip-side of vulnerability. High resilience in a household, livelihood, physical asset etc indicates low vulnerability. Others have seen resilience as a component of vulnerability, indicated by preparedness and flexibility alongside resistance and exposure (Pelling, 2003). Typically these formulations of resilience have been described through vulnerability assessments tied to single hazard types or scenarios. Other uses of resilience in disasters literature have been to convey an ability absorb loss, bounce back and return to normal after a disaster impact (Birkmann, 2006). Within the climate change community resilience is also yet to have a singular interpretation. Policy circles have taken up resilience to help describe the intersection of poverty/development and climate change as ‘climate resilient development’ (e.g., Sperling, 2008). For most authors resilience implies an interest in adaptation, but this is not universal with other focusing on mitigation, and in some cases both. Table 1 presents some of the key distinctions between resilience as deployed by climate change and under disaster management. Following some discussion of these differences and also some similarities we identify components of resilience that we take forward to help analyze the four environmental cases in this paper. Resilience thinking accepts that stressors on socio-ecological systems will unfold (both as abrupt shocks and slow moving stressors). Resilience is found not so much in an ability to avoid stressors but in the capacity of a socio-ecological system to adjust and recover from such pressures in continuous rounds of risk, impact and recovery. The vision shifts from disaster as an exception to normal development to being an intrinsic part of development histories and an important element that allows for renewal and innovation as part of risk management. Resilience is a promiscuous concept in that it can be applied to many and multiple stressor contexts, this is also a difference with risk management which is sector focused. Thus a resilience frame is interested in the way a society learns to live with climate change but can also broaden the lens to include living with other kinds of stressor with more economic, social or political expressions. This is useful when analyzing the experience and behavior of those at risk who live in such multi and often concatenated risk contexts and this can help to contextualize sector specific policy and highlight the contributions to be made on specific policy challenges (e.g. disaster risk or environmental management) from a wide range of policy sectors. Disturbance in one social system interacts with others operating at different scales, for example, local changes can stimulate questioning and challenges for wider social systems (for example when disaster leads to the questioning of national standards or regulations in building or the relationships between the state and civil society or national and international actors), at the same time, wider systems offer a pool of knowledge and resource that can be applied to help influence learning from a local event any local reorganization of development. The emphasis
placed on cross-scale interactions by resilience highlights the potential for contagion and draws attention to the boundary spaces between activities or also sectors and how these may best be policed to either contain impacts but also allow the rapid and targeted flow of resources and information to enable local learning. This scaled lens opens questions on justice and equity – for example in determining the balance of risk and locus of growth between local and wider economic systems. Local diversity and flexibility can provide resilience across an economic sector but will mean some local losers and experiments fail or are destroyed by stressors. This leads to questions on the ways in which risk can best be geographically shared in society and the role of social and economic insurance in this. And the extent to which society is prepared to tolerate activity that is not profit maximizing under existing conditions but may provide resilience through diversity. This requires a different form of economic accounting and basis for managing judgments on development choices and may involve redistributive policy to support activities that are not justified on current economic terms alone. Recent reviews of resilience thinking (e.g., Bahadur et al, 2010, Barnett, 2001, Leach, 2008, Pelling, 2003, Pelling, 2010), have begun to identify possible components of principles. Box 1 proposes ten principles of resilient systems with an emphasis on disaster management based on this literature. Box 1: Ten Components of Resilient Disaster Risk Management 1. Diversity: in economic opportunities and livelihoods, in any the natural capital or ecosystem services resource base, in the mix of actions taken to reduce, manage or respond to disaster and reflected through inclusive models of governance and decision-making where authority and human capital is spread though society. 2. Joined-up governance: institutional regimes facilitate information flow between scales to enable system-wide learning. 3. Flexibility: development discourses, expectations and subsequent policy shift from an attempt to control change and create stability to managing the capacity of systems to cope with, adapt to, and shape change. 4. Localism: local involvement and the recognition of local knowledge in policy planning, community stakes in the management of natural resources and support for robust local economies that can meet at least basic needs amidst wider crisis. 5. Preparedness: activities aimed at preparing to live with change, this could include the building in of redundancy within systems (so that partial failure do not lead to system collapse), or the incorporation of ‘unthinkable’ as well as expected scenarios in disaster management plans. 6. Equity: this requires resilience programmes to consider issues of justice and equity when distributing risks/capacities between and within communities. Equity can either be achieved through promoting equality of outcome (e.g., income levels) or through redistributive policy (e.g., through infrastructure investment, social investment or insurance).
7. Social capital: association between individuals (bridging and bonding capital) enables cooperation and reduces transaction costs of information and resource exchange. Bridging capital is especially important in facilitating information transfer and innovative learning. 8. Non-linearity: disaster management re-framed not as aiming to restore pre-disaster normalcy but as an opportunity for better attuning social and environmental systems and human flourishing in a dynamic environmental context. 9. Process learning: to build learning into everyday actions from iterative policy/institutional processes to adaptive management across productive sectors, organisational learning and individual reflective practice. This also includes support for clear communication between science, local knowledge and practice. 10. Co-responsibility: acknowledges that resilience is held at multiple scales and across varied domains of practice with an individual actor or management regime always influencing the resilience of others across policy boundaries and from the local to the global scale including indirect and teleconnected responsibilities shaped by economic globalisation.
The components of Box 1 indicate aspects of resilience held by specific systems (e.g., livelihoods) or promoted by others (e.g., through governance). Resilience then is more of a process then simply a set of characteristics. This is expressed in Box 2 as an interaction between sustainability challenges, adaptive capacity, resilience strategy and action and resilience pathways. Box 2: Resilience in Context
The components of resilience presented in Box 1 and 2 offer a guide to the analysis below. These elements of resilience will not always be documented but many speak to underlying development pathways that may be highlighted through disaster risk reduction or response work. GEOGRAPHIES OF RISK AND POVERTY IN ASIA Recent work by UNDP (2004) and ISDR (2009) confirm that poorer countries are hardest hit by disasters in terms of human loss and economic loss as a proportion of national GDP. UNDP (2004) calculated that while only 11% of the world’s hazard exposed population lives in low human development countries, 53% of disaster mortality is concentrated in these countries. Poverty reduction frameworks provide an indicator of the extent to which national governments recognize poverty-disaster risk relationships. ISDR (2009) undertook a review of 19 Asian Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) and 67 United Nations Development Assistance Frameworks (UNDAFs). It found disaster risk reduction was included in the text of some PRSPs, notably those of Bangladesh (2005) and Viet Nam (2006), with 65% of UNDAFs including disaster risk as an indicator of progress and 15% explicitly recognizing the relationship between poverty reduction and disaster risk reduction. National Adaptation Plans of Action provide a further opportunity to integrate poverty and risk reduction (DFID, 2004). There are few systematic studies on the distribution of disaster risk and impact by income class in Asian countries making it difficult to draw any comprehensive conclusions about the share or spatial distribution of disaster burden born by those who are poor (US$1.25) or vulnerable poor (US$2). ISDR (2009) has attempted some sub-national analysis of poverty and vulnerability indicating general patterns for specific countries. These include: - In Nepal, areas affected by floods tend to have lower poverty rates. This is because flooding is concentrated in productive lowland areas. Areas affected by landslides tend to have higher poverty and mortality rates, these are concentrated in poorer Western Nepal. - In Orissa, India poor families (as indicated by housing quality) were found to be the most affected by tropical cyclone, flood, fire and lightening. Everyday or chronic extensive risk and loss were concentrated in southern Orissa where repeated droughts, flood, food insecurity – areas of chronic poverty and near-famine conditions. - In Sri Lanka a strong correlation was found between the proportion of people living below the poverty line and the number of households damaged by floods and to some extent also by landslides. - In Indonesia, recovery after the Indian Ocean Tsunami has been more successful amongst those who were made poor by the Tsunami than by those who were structurally poor before the Tsunami. It is argued this indicates the importance of human capacities such as education and social capital in recovery and resilience. - In Bangladesh, following floods in 1998 successful targeting of food assistance mean poorer households (as indicated by years of schooling) increased per capita food consumption. This paper organizes analyses of poverty around sensitive environments where populations are subject to multiple converging hazards as climate change intersects with local environmental change and socio-economic change (see Box 2). This necessitates a focus on vulnerability of places and people rather than vulnerability to specific hazards (Cutter 1996). Drought and water
scarcity might be a signature hazard of dryland regions for example but, as the 2010 floods in Pakistan illustrated, less endemic hazards can at times be as consequential for the well being of the populations. Similarly, while landslides and hazards associated with the cryosphere are considered endemic to mountain environments, the vulnerability profile of mountain communities is further complicated by fragile livelihoods, inadequate communication infrastructure and other hazards such as earthquakes and droughts. Consequently, any discussion of protecting the poor in these regions must of necessity engage with multiple hazards and how those hazards intersect with development geographies of places. For the purposes of this review we consider the dichotomy between mitigation and adaptation to climate change in developmental contexts to be a superficial one. Much of the dichotomous discussion around mitigation and adaptation is predicated upon a climate discourse that is dependent upon responding to modeling scenarios of high science (Hulme 2008). Driven by the negotiations of the UNFCCC mitigation and adaptation appear separated, but on the ground capacities for local actors to benefit from adaptation and mitigation stem from common governance structures, land and resource ownership and management, information flows, access to capital etc. and this distinction becomes less clear. Both adaptation and mitigation provide threats and opportunities for established local economies and social systems. The art of resilience is to enhance opportunity at a time of increasing uncertainty. This is likely to require approaches that draw upon past instances of adaptation and coping with environmental extremes, as well as innovating new governance or technological solutions, and even suggests a reframing of development to place greater emphasis on values, culture and ethics that govern societal behavior and provide meaning to life. DRYLANDS: WATER AS THE FOCUS OF PRO-POOR DEVELOPMENT Asian drylands have high numbers of vulnerable poor maintaining fragile livelihoods in environments that require considerable effort for human survival (FAO 2008). About 42% of the population of Asia, more than 1.4 billion people, live in drylands. Of these people, 23%, more than 800 million people live in the more extreme, arid and semi-arid regions of the continent. The 26 Asian countries whose land area either entirely falls within the dryland zone or have substantial proportions of their land area classified as drylands, such as India and China, have varying levels of poverty based upon US$1.25 (PPP) criteria, from as low as 3.6% for the MENA region to above 40% for South Asia. The proportions of population below the low income line based upon US$2 per day (PPP) are even more alarming with 16.9% in the MENA region and almost 74% in South Asia (World Bank 2005). The high population intensities observed in South Asian and some West Asian drylands would not be possible without considerable human manipulation of ground and surface water resources of the region. This is exemplified by the Indus basin irrigation system—the largest surface irrigation system in the world, by the extensive traditional qanat/karez based communities in West and Central Asia and the sizeable groundwater pumping being undertaken in western India, Pakistan, West and Central Asia. These are extensive and complex water management systems that require technological enterprise but also sophisticated institutional arrangements embedded in geographies of social power, governance and vulnerability. 4.1: Water management regimes induce risks and undermine resilience In the drylands of Central and South Asia inflexible water management regimes have been linked to the undermining of capacity to cope with risk amongst poor farmers and fishers. In the Central Asian case rigid international and sub-national water allocations make have paid insufficient attention to the water dependent ecological services from which the poor are the main beneficiaries (Glantz 2005, Spoor 1998, Kugelman and Hathaway 2009). This is a
common weakness of large-scale water management regimes, in case of Pakistan, interprovincial and India-Pakistan water allocations also ensure that little water is left over for providing ecosystem services to the poor residents of the delta. Here contemporary development priorities have led water managers to focus on the expansion of irrigated areas, rather than improving efficiency and social equity aspects of the system. One outcome of this is that poorer and smaller farmers tend to have lower access to irrigation water undermining development capacity and asset accumulation options. The same small farmers are also disadvantaged by virtue of being generally on low lying land at the tail of water courses, having least access to water and most exposure to floods (Mustafa 2002a, 2002b). In these contexts, the resilience principles of diversity, flexibility, social capital and localism point towards a hybrid system where state institutions are strengthened and reorganized to be able to resist the power of large landowners (Mustafa 2002b, 2002c). International donors and research organizations have been pushing for participatory reforms to improve access to irrigation water for poorer small farmers (e.g., see Bandaragoda 1999, Groenfeldt and Svendsen 1999, World Bank 1994). Some success in building resilience has come from experiments in participatory water management that have improved small farmer access to irrigation water (Bandaragoda, 1999; Groenfeldt and Svendsen, 1999). The possibility of catastrophic floods even in dryland areas was highlighted by the Pakistan floods of 2010. Here, the irrigation system accentuated flood impact. Levees prevented low intensity floods while irrigation reduced flow regimes increasing in channel sedimentation during times of low flow. The combined result was increased risk of extreme flooding. Similar challenges have been reported in India, the US and elsewhere where extensive river systems are managed in this way. These systems are designed with low-resilience, and have forced learning and piecemeal action to build in some greater resilience capacity (through intentional breaching), but with disproportionately negative impacts of the poor. How might this system be better designed to incorporate resilience principles and so improve the management of irrigation and flood risk? A resilient future would incorporate resilience principles of joined-up governance, flexibility, preparedness, non-linearity, process learning, localism, and co-responsibility in the management of the system. Key concrete outcomes of the incorporation of such principles, for example, would be giving the rivers some room to flow by restoring wetlands, better flood warning, devolution of decision making to local tiers of the system management hierarchy, closer consultation between the local populace and system managers and focus on protecting the most vulnerable, instead of whoever has the most power to influence levee breaching decisions (Mustafa and Wrathall forthcoming). 4.2 Karez systems: learning from the past to secure the future Where perennial river systems do not flow, water access is almost entirely dependent upon subsurface aqueducts known as Karez in South and Central Asia, Qanat in Iran and Western Asia and Falaj in the Arabian peninsula. In the discussion below we use the term karez to refer to these systems. The construction and maintenance of karez systems is labour intensive. Many have documented the remarkably effective and equitable social capital that is mobilized around the karez systems in Afghanistan (McCarthy and Mustafa forthcoming), Pakistan (Mustafa and Qazi 2007 and 2008), Iran (Jomehpour 2009), Oman (Norman et al. 1997, Al Sulaimani et al. 2007, Al Marshudi 2001) and Azerbaijan (Mustafa 2009). Meteorological droughts interspersed with flash flooding are endemic hazards of the drylands of West and Central Asia. The karez social and technological system has proved resilient in the face of these hazards (as demonstrated by
its longevity). This longevity can in part be explained by its incorporation of five of the ten components of resilient disaster management—diversity, localism, equity, flexibility and social capital. The karez system has nurtured diversity insofar as it is a system of largely agropastoralist communities, which because equitable local management systems ensures basic livelihoods for all in the community. This free surplus labour for pastoral or off farm activities. Practically all karez communities in Balochistan for example are able and chose to maintain a diverse set of livelihoods so enhancing their livelihood resilience (The Desakota Team 2008). This system has been a boon in particular for the poor who are protected under the local moral and political economy supported by the social capital around karez systems. The system typically tends to have strong water markets, which ensure flexible allocation of water to its best social and economic use locally. The water markets ensure that in dry years farmers with smaller water shares can get compensated for their share if they cannot get economic return from utilizing their share on their own land. The scarce resource instead gets used optimally by those who can extract maximum economic value from it. Also, the water trade allows for flexibility so that water demand timings and quantities can be adjusted through market mechanisms to extract maximum value. In many regions increasing individualization and the undermining of community social capital, market penetration and access to new technology are a threat to karez systems and the resilience they bring. This is a prime example of the tensions between short-term private gain and longer-term collective benefit the some forms of development generate. Groundwater pumping has already begun to impact on the water entitlements and agricultural sustainability of the rural poor in Pakistan (Mustafa and Qazi 2007 & 2008), Syria (Worth 2010), Iran (2009) and Azerbaijan (2009). Tubewells are often expensive acquire, maintain and operate and are typically privately owned instead of communally managed. Tubewells have provided a temporary boon to agricultural production in drylands, but from Balochistan to Rajastan (Birkenholtz 2008) and from Azerbaijan to Iran they have been the cause of dangerous groundwater depletion, leading to karez decline and disastrous loss of livelihoods on part of the poorer segments of the population. In many drylands control over water confers status in rural communities. So loss of a water entitlement in a karez is not just a threat to livelihood but also a loss of status and standing in a community—something that can be worse in terms of quality of life and further threatens community cohesion – the lifeblood of equity in rural (and urban) resilience. The need for new institutions to help manage the costs and benefits of new technology has spawned new configurations of power and production in these regions. Consequences can be unpredictable, with some reported cases of schedule cast poorer farmers capitalizing on strong social capital and/or higher quality groundwater aquifers, though more often it is upper cast/richer farmers who are best placed to dominate and direct new institutions as well as command access to new technology and so further solidify their positions, exacerbating inequality. Even in those regions where development has prioritized short-term gain over longterm resilience, agricultural productivity is in decline because of drought and groundwater depletion, rural indebtedness is increasing and households are sliding into poverty with particularly insidious consequences for women, who face the brunt of nutritional deprivation as a result (Moench et al, 2003; Moench and Dixit, 2004). Attempts at Karez rehabilitation have met with some success. In Azerbaijan, for example, the rural poor, out of physical necessity as well as a desire for cultural continuity, have mobilized to rehabilitate their karezes with the help of IOM Azerbaijan replicating karez social and physical systems that had been abandoned for more than 70 years (Mustafa 2009). This is a key example of resilience to future risk being enhanced at the local level by reclaiming and applying
lessons from the past. That karez systems are mediated by strong equity and social capital ties reveals their importance as a center piece of pro-poor water development in arid and semi-arid Asia. This observation is of even greater importance under a resilience framework where capacity to be flexible, based on opportunities to experiment (including making mistakes) and learn are key. Where local governance structures have emerged around tubewell sites in Rajasthan and Gujarat they have tended to strengthen (already sound) local stocks of social capital. These experiments have also allowed the rural poor to pool risk, enhance livelihoods and undertake groundwater recharge activities in partnership with assorted non-local NGOs and environmental actors. In addition migration and diversified non-local income streams have been seen to enhance local economic resilience. Future interventions to enhance the rural poor’s resilience in the drylands of Asia need to work with these emergent processes and strategies so that the at-risk poor may help themselves and counteract pressure from regional or watershed management projects. MOUNTAIN ENVIRONMENTS: ISOLATION AND RESOURCE EXTRACTION Mountain environments are home to 20% of the world populations and in Asia, mountain communities tend to be the poorest, in some of the poorest regions of the world such as South Asia, Western China, Tibet and Central Asia. These same communities are made vulnerable through their fragile livelihoods and remoteness from external support or markets. Principal hazards are mass movements (landslide, rock-fall, avalanche), glacier lack outburst, flash flooding, earthquakes, wildfires, and extreme temperature events (Marston 2008). The fact that humanity has continued to survive and even thrive in the challenging and hazardous mountain environments of Asia is testament to social ingenuity and resilience suggesting there are lessons to learn for contemporary efforts at building resilience here and in other environmental contexts. This section explores resilience through two environmental resource conflicts: first as a result of the region’s water wealth and the dependency of neighbouring lowland and highly urbanized regions, second caused by the changing face of land (including soil and forest) management. 5.1: Mountain water resources and risk management open scope for rebalancing local and distant priorities for resilience One of the key factors facilitating mountain communities’ resilience to the multiple and often concatenated hazards they face has been availability of river water. Mountain communities have devised ingenious methods for mobilizing these water resources for sustaining their livelihoods, ranging from aqueducts for domestic and ritual water supply in urban areas of Nepal to Kuhl irrigation canals in the high Karakorams (Marston 2008). But the sustainability of these water resources and associated livelihood resilience are threatened by downstream water and energy needs. Both exaggerated by climate change through fears of water security and opportunities for hydro-power generation. There is a real danger that in the rush to secure water resources past lessons on sustainable dam construction – and its limits – will be overlooked. This is especially worrying in the Hindukush-Himalayan region (HKH) where hydraulic gradients and the potential energy they signify are impressive. The HKH region is one of the most seismically active zones in the world, with rivers carrying some of the highest silt loads (25% of the world’s total) in the world, coupled with under developed infra-structure and remoteness. The physical and human reality of the region makes large dam building a dangerous proposition as large dams (Humanitarian Futures 2010): • are vulnerable to catastrophic failure because of earthquakes and/or glacial or landslide lake burst floods, • have short operational lives because of high silt deposition,
• are subject to high seasonal flow variations which, are likely to get worse with climate change, • are ultimately of little use to the actual poor in the mountain communities who because of their remoteness are unlikely to be the main consumers of the energy produced by such dams and, • are more likely to displace poor mountain communities and add them to the growing ranks of displaced poor in the lowlands. Regardless of the above factors India exhorts Nepal to let it help them develop their hydropower potential, Pakistan and India both have plans for mega-projects on their own upland watersheds, and China and Laos have dam building projects and ambitions in the headwaters of their major rivers. Watersheds and rivers of the HKH region continue to mark a geopolitical fault line in South and South East Asia, both at the international and sub-national scales (Mustafa 2009, Aon Benfield UCL Hazards Research Centre et al. 2010). Whilst, the debate about the merits of large dam building for poverty alleviation is an ongoing controversy (Humanitarian Futures 2010, World Commission on Dams 2000, Baghel and Nusser 2010), the weight of evidence suggests poor mountain societies are unlikely to benefit directly or gain in terms of resilience to climate change as such large scale, locally disruptive projects too easily violate the resilience principles of equity, preparedness and non-linearity outlined above. Application of resilience principles suggests that small, local scale projects that serve the water and energy needs of the isolated mountain poor (potentially with some capacity for energy exporting to generate local revenue) could be most efficacious in enhancing livelihoods and building resilience to climate change. The small projects are relatively easier and cheaper to repair if damaged, could be locally managed and thus enhance local human and social capital and ultimately benefit the local populations without the displacement that will come with large dam construction and associated infrastructure. This is a real opportunity for integrating mitigation with adaptation and pro-poor development that deserves greater attention. A broad framework for just such a movement, that has application well beyond mountain environments, is provided by Thailand’s Sufficiency Economy approach (Box 1) Box 1: Thailand’s Sufficiency Economy Approach Thailand’s Sufficiency Economy approach was included as a guiding philosophy in the tenth five-year National Economic and Social Development Plan (NESDP) for the years 2007 to 2011 (UNDP, 2007). The Sufficiency Economy argues for a rebalancing in local and national economies towards resilience. There is a call for income from local production (in food and biofuels including charcoal) be adjusted so that one third is for local consumption, one third for the domestic market and one third for the export market (Heikkila-Horn, 2010). As yet most of the research into Sufficiency Economy in Thailand has been theoretically based (Hewison, 1999; Krongkaew, 2003; Piboolsravut, 2004; Crispin 2007). A large part of the philosophy of Sufficiency Economy is associated with the sustainable utilization of resources and the minimisation of risk (UNDP, 2007) with local groups providing their own local practical interpretation including the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices and the use of cheap forms of renewable energy technology, some groups. Source: Crispin (2007) 5.2: The Theory of Himalayan Environmental Degradation: Science and Policy Paradigms Constrain Resilience
For two decades land management in the Himalaya has been dominated by the ‘Theory of Himalayan Environmental Degradation’ (THED). This theory proposed a linear progression of environmental degradation from population growth to land poverty, an increasing local demand for wood for fuel and construction, deforestation increasing flash floods and landslides, followed by down-river sedimentation, channel shifting and flood risk in the lowlands (Marston 2008). Starting with Ives and Messerli (1989) it was demonstrated that the theory could not be supported with field and remote sensing evidence. Since then, many others (Blaikie and Muldavin, 2004, for India and China, Marston 2008, in Nepal, Ives, 2006, in the HKH region, and Forsyth, 1998, in Thailand) have argued there is little evidence of linkage between deforestation and flooding and if anything deforestation is a consequence of formal government policies and power politics at the local and regional levels. The theory lost its currency in academic circles by the end of the 1980s but continues to inform mountain policy in most countries of the HKH region (Blaikie and Muldavin 2004). This is an example of a failure in the process learning principle leading to development decisions that will likely prove inappropriate and undermine resilience in the mountains and lowlands. Tensions between THED and alternative approaches to land management that place more emphasis on local resilience open again the theme of dominant development as a process leading to the undermining of resilience and production of disaster risk. In his review of the agricultural production system in one of the remotest and the poorest mountain communities in the Karakoram range, MacDonald (1998) examined the risk mediating characteristics of practices such as field dispersal, intercropping, delayed planting and polyvarietal planting. He concluded that these practices although deemed inefficient and not conducive to production maximization, in poor people’s contexts were highly efficient at risk dispersal and building resilience against environmental stress. In fact, interventions by modernizing outside developmental agents on the assumption that traditional practices are inefficient may increase people’s lack of resilience and vulnerability to environmental risk. A comparable argument has been made by Forsyth (1996 and 1998) in the context of northern Thailand, where he argues that local farmers were aware of the soil erosion hazard and hence frequently adjusted their cropping patterns to minimize it. Stillitoe (1998) reviewed soil degradation associated with shifting agriculture in Papua New Guinea, where he found that local soil conservation techniques in fact, improve soil fertility obviating the need for frequent land abandonment. These examples are not meant to glorify indigenous farming techniques but rather point to the need to take care in accepting overarching explanations of land degradation and the dissonance that continues to exist between the non-linear reality of mountain poor’s adaptations to their environment, and linear environmentalist and developmental narratives that are likely antagonistic to the building of local resilience.. The challenge of balancing local rights and economic resilience with demands from logging interests has played out across the Himalaya with regional implications. In India, and Uttrarkhand state in particular, Blaikie and Muldavin (2004) argue that the Forest Service’s exclusion of local communities from using their forest resources and then awarding felling rights to contractors was the main cause of deforestation and the main stimulus for the populist chipko movement. Local people’s rights to access local forest resources continues to be unresolved in highland India, something that is critical to the resilience principles of localism and coresponsibility (Rangan 2004, Blaikie and Muldavin 2004). The Chinese government has also imposed logging bans and undertaken extensive reforestation and watershed management initiatives. The consequence has been displacement and marginalization of indigenous populations and increased importation of timber with potentially negative consequences for poor communities in other countries (Weyerhaeuser et al. 2005, Blaikie and Muldavin 2004, Mayer et al. 2005, Laurance 2008).
Notwithstanding these challenges for local actors from national development narratives and practice, As climate change is being felt, so adaptation actions have already been observed. The Desakota Team (2008) reported in Nepal and for much of highland Asia increasing diversification in household income. This is especially built around seasonal and longer term migration, mostly of young males for non-farm employment. This trend has been observed to have improved the rural poor’s ability to recover from local environmental stress while also increasing forest cover because of move towards kerosene from fuel wood. But on the other hand, the same adaptation has led to labour scarcity for agriculture, an increase in local women’s work load and put stress on community based resource management systems as local people become less dependent upon them and available labour declines. The reduced level of locally resident labour was highlighted in recovery following the Kashmir earthquake when it was observed that a high proportion of expatriate workers were instrumental in facilitating recovery and even in some instances of improved construction in the aftermath of the disaster (Khan and Mustafa, 2007). Migration is now integral to the livelihood strategies of the mountain poor and therefore, future pro-poor adaptive interventions in mountain Asia must take that into account. Sustainability of the local resource base continues to be key in contributing to the well being of women, children and the elderly left behind, while outside employment provides for the accumulation of household physical and human capital. In effect these are observations of resilience being built through diversity, preparedness and non-linearity. COASTS: THE FRONTLINE OF OPPORTUNITY AND RISK Coastal regions in Asia include some of the most fertile, populous and hazard prone areas worldwide. Definitions on the coastal zone vary, we are interested in those settled, rural areas exposed to coastal hazards: storm-surge and coastal flooding, storms and typhoons/hurricanes. These are hazards expected (and in some cases already observed) to increase in intensity, frequency and spatial extent as a result of climate change. The most significant longer-term challenges come from sea-level rise, which may reach 35cm or more by the end of this century (IPCC, 2007). This raises the spectre of large scale spontaneous or planned population relocation and the loss of valuable agricultural land as well as the abandonment of fixed infrastructure. The high fertility of delta and other coastal zones as well as access to fishing resources provides opportunities for the poor. As populations increase and poverty persists risk is also increasing, although there are also many examples of successful disaster risk reduction and management that point towards opportunities for building resilience. This section focuses on densely populated deltas such as the 140 million who live in the Ganges delta, including much of Bangladesh, and draws on recent experience from coastal areas affected by disaster including those damaged by the Indian Ocean Tsunami. 5.1 Fish and fish farming: a route for diversity Fish are the source of at least 50% of the essential animal protein and mineral intake for 400 million people from the poorest African and South Asian Countries (World Bank 2004). Climate change is forecast to bring increased food insecurity, especially amongst the poor and in this regard fisheries may become increasingly important both as a local source of protein and a livelihood option for the poor. Fishers and fish farming are amongst the most vulnerable of livelihoods and businesses to the impacts of climate change – through changing fish population and migration dynamics and the impacts of coastal hazards. But they also offer an opportunity for the poor to build resilience. As discussed below what matters is the scale of institutional
support for learning, the extent of local control and the depth of integration into other livelihoods and sustainable resource use. In Asia, river dependent fishery nations (Bangladesh, Cambodia and Pakistan) are arguably most at risk from climate change impacts – these are also the countries where fish is an important component of local livelihood and nutrition systems (Alison et al, 2006). Here integrated aquaculture-agriculture (IAA) systems are proving successful in supporting fishers who have lost, or need to diversity, livelihoods because of climate change (or over-fishing), as well as offering flexibility for farmers whose land productivity is being eroded by saltwater intrusion. The scale of observed shifts from rice to fish economies have led some to suggest that in adapting to climate change Bangladesh is turning from the rice-bowl to the fish-pond of Asia. This flexibility offers an experience with wide applicability as coastal flood-plain agriculture comes under stress and flooded zones increase under sea-level rise world-wide. Increasing attention on the vulnerability of fisher economies, and their importance in local resilience has led to some innovative management models. Following the Indian Ocean Tsunami, WorldFish adapted an existing Sustainable Coastal Livelihoods Framework to help survivors take a more integrated and multi-sectoral view of rehabilitation (Pomeroy et al., 2006). This led to the development of new livelihood alternatives to replace those made untenable by the tsunami. Importantly, this was not a one off intervention, the experience provided a learning opportunity enabling improved response in the Solomon Islands following an earthquake and tsunami in 2007 (as well as oil spills and typhoons elsewhere). This is an excellent example not only of innovation within an highly important sector for mitigating vulnerability amongst the poor but also of the importance of systematic approaches that can enable learning in programming and between technical and local partners. The ability to learn, tailor generic tools to changing local contexts and priorities and allow joined-up-action are central to resilience. Box 2: Gender, fisheries management and disaster risk Women are estimated to constitute around 46% of the workforce globally including work in processing, shellfish collection and aquaculture. Still relatively little is known of the role played by women and how they may be affected by climate change and other changes impacting the fisheries sector. Recent work in Cambodia by the Fisheries Administration of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) of Cambodia and the Community-Based Natural Resource Management Learning Institute (CBNRM Learning Institute) supported by WorldFish has explored in particular the role of women in community based fisheries management providing valuable insights into the gender dimensions of governance, rights, capabilities and well-being. Women participated in community-based fisheries committees in Cambodia for three major reasons: improvements in livelihoods, enhancement of capabilities (skills, knowledge and selfconfidence) and a belief in sustainability in fisheries resources for the next generation. While women were active in savings and credit, and self-help groups, only a minority assumed leadership positions in the committees. Active engagement in savings and credit groups was based on traditional gender norms that associate women with household financial management, as well as patience and negotiation skills to collect dues from group members. The difficulty in balancing productive (income generation) with reproductive (housework) tasks, based on gendered social norms was identified as a constraint for women to participate in community-based management. Illiteracy or limited education and lack of confidence were other
important constraints. These findings point to the kinds of support that might allow women better access to local collective action and to play an active (and leading) role in building and maintaining climate resilient local economies. Source: WorldFish Centre (2010) Despite their contribution to livelihoods there is relatively little pro-poor strategy for fish economies facing climate change. The need for more joined up thinking is well illustrated by the Bangladesh National Adaptation Plan of Action (NAPA) which includes support for adaptation options for aquaculture, but with little consideration of options for reducing adverse effects of river floods or droughts on river fisheries implying a bias towards larger scale businesses and more modern sectors. These priorities may be more accessible for national policy but are less likely to reach the adaptation and development needs of the poor. Fisheries contributions to mitigation have been even less well examined than those for adaptation. IAA approaches could contribute to mitigation through their integrated techniques where waste outputs from one sub-system can be used as inputs for another. This saves money and reduces dependency on high energy chemical and processed feed. Perhaps the most important potential contribution of fishers to mitigation (and natural hazard management) is through promotion of mangrove protection. There are a number of potential synergies between risk reduction and improving coastal habitats. In Vietnam the Red Cross has assisted coastal communities to replant mangrove, improving physical protection from storms. This has reduced the cost of maintaining coastal defenses (dykes) and saved lives and property during typhoon seasons. Restoration of the mangroves has also improved fisheries livelihoods through the harvesting of crabs, shrimps and molluscs (IFRC, 2001). Mangroves provide nursery grounds for fish but are under pressure in many areas from industrial aquaculture (Badjeck et al, 2010). Coastal fishers are a natural ally of mangrove protection but often have less economic clout than large scale aquaculture developers. The rising political profile of mitigation could potentially find ready and organized support from local fishers groups across Asia. 5.2 From micro-credit to sustainable finance across the disaster cycle In many respects Asia has led the way in developing financial mechanisms to fight poverty and risk. Micro-finance has become a key tool for pro-poor development and is increasingly being used across the region to combat disaster risk and loss. If building resilience places more emphasis on strengthening local economies, supporting social capital and innovation through learning then micro-finance surely has a role to play. Importantly, each stage of the disaster cycle needs to be considered. While in the immediate post-disaster relief and rehabilitation period cash-for-work and other schemes are available this is not the case before disaster or as reconstruction feeds into development. This reflects the short-term focus of most humanitarian action with poor communities often neglected in the long-term recovery process which may extend over months or years. The relative lack of provision for risk transfer or reduction in these phases contributes to the poor remaining exposed to risk after relief and reconstruction ceases. This phenomenon is described by Mehul Pandya (2006) as the Post-Disaster Credit Gap. Before disaster demand for credit is high within poor communities but unmet because of institutional restrictions, market barriers, a lack of collateral and information. After disaster cash based programmes and other interventions can help rebuild the local economy and this increases demand for credit as enterprises recover and assets are replaced. However, as recovery continues demand for credit increases, but meets a declining flow of credit and other financial in-flows as relief programmes are run down – the finance gap, visible before disaster
and partly responsible for generating vulnerability, appears again. This is one route through which risk amongst the poor is perpetuated and an opportunity for building resilience lost. Reflecting on the role of micro-finance in shaping vulnerability and recovery Chakrabarti et al. (2005) review a number of cases from South Asia where micro-finance has succeeded in filling the Post-Disaster Credit Gap. Following the 1998 floods in Bangladesh those households who were members of the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) micro-finance schemes had double the value of saving s that non-BRAC households significantly increasing coping capacity which was enhanced further through access to credit loans for post-disaster consumption and reconstruction expenditure. It was this experience that highlighted to BRAC the importance of post-disaster lending. Lessons learned were put into practice after the 2004 floods in Bangladesh, which while more damaging than those in 1974, 1988 and 1998 did not result in famine. BRAC argue that this was partly a result of access to post-disaster loans combined with an innovative ‘credit plus’ approach where direct provision of food, education and healthcare was initiated allowing households to fully utilize credit and other savings or income for recovery, a great example of resilience achieved through joined-up policy. In India the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NBARD) worked with local collectives to restructured loans, renegotiate collateral requirements and reduced interest payments. The NBARD model shows the scope for larger financial institutions to participate in rebuilding local economies, but was built on the need for small businesses to apply collectively for loans. This required the organization of fishing or farming cooperatives and self-help groups as a prerequisite to accessing microfinance arguably denying access to the poorest and most marginalized and also those without easy transport access. Despite these caveats the experience of NBARD put alongside NGO led micro-finance demonstrates well the possibility of a virtuous reinforcement between local social capital, access to credit, livelihood diversification and reduced dependence on relief that has much to offer resilience oriented local development and disaster risk reduction for the poor. CITIES: CONCENTRATED RISK Asia is the world’s most urbanized region with around half the world’s urban population. For many poor citizens urbanization brings opportunity, in Asia between 2000 and 2010 some 172 million slum dwellers lives were improved – 125 million having been lifted out of slum conditions in China and India alone (UN HABITAT, 2010). But despite even these impressive gains the absolute numbers of slum dwellers in Asia continues to grow. In 2010, 500 million people lived in slums across the region. While poverty is not synonymous with vulnerability to climate change this nonetheless is an indicator of the gap between risk and resilience found in Asian cities. Alongside poverty, inequality has long been recognized as undermining adaptive capacity in cities (Pelling, 2003). In Asia, not only are slum populations growing but economic inequality (measured by income and consumption) is widening (UN HABITAT, 2010). Responding to such scales of poverty and growing inequality amidst rapid urban growth is daunting. Urbanization is a process of concentration. The concentration effects of urbanization mean many physical assets and large populations can be exposed to even spatially limited hazards. Mixed land-uses increase the likelihood of combined natural-technological disasters: often fire triggered by earthquake or pollution releases during floods is as or more harmful than the triggering hazard. Concentration can be an asset, it explains the attraction of urbanization providing opportunities for business, producing scale economies making public services more affordable and improving the efficiency of logistics in post-disaster relief and reconstruction. But, at the same time densely packed populations, especially (but not only) in slums exhibit high vulnerability with each household commanding limited resources, dense populations living with
inadequate environmental health infrastructure are exposed to increased risk of communicable disease which may be exacerbated at times of disaster (Pelling, 2003). It is clear that the costs and benefits of concentration are not spread evenly in the city. Concentration can enhance development prospects for business just as it increases risk for the poor. Though the interdependence of people and economies in the city means even local risks can have an impacts that spread. Beyond concentration effects, urban vulnerability is characterized by commodification (the need to acquire money for food, shelter etc), multi-hazards (social and economic as well as environmental) and social fragmentation (as diverse groups compete), again suggesting the poor are likely to be most vulnerable and least able to adapt to changing risk profiles in the city (Moser, 1998). Decentralized Governance: Localization and joined-up action Local and municipal governments should be central actors in urban planning for climate change. However, without high level technical and financial support it is difficult to see how municipalities, especially in small and medium-sized cities, will acquire the resources and human capacity needed to adapt urban economies, planning and society to climate change. This presents a challenge to central government with greater investment at local government level comes a legitimate desire for accountability if not control. Resolving this tension through the lens of resilience is helped by the principle of localization. Localization for urban governance argues that risk is best managed by the smallest or least centralized competent authority with any central authority having only a subsidiary function. Localization combined with joined-up action through horizontal integration across policy sectors form the cornerstones of decentralized governance for urban resilience. One well documented example of localization combined with joined-up governance comes from Sorsogon City, the Philippines (UN HABITAT, 2009). This is an especially valuable case study as it represents an example of innovative city leadership in a medium-sized urban settlement. With most documented research on cities found in mega- and large-cities. Sorsogon’s population is 151,500 with an annual growth rate of 1.78% (above the mean for Asia) this conforms with a trend for medium and small cities to be the most rapidly growing and in aggregate the sites of most urban growth in the coming years making them increasingly important for building urban resilience. In 2006 the city was hit by two super-typhoons, which caused widespread devastation, affecting a total of 27,101 families and destroying 10,070 houses. The first typhoon, in just five hours, caused infrastructure damage estimated at US$4.3million. In 2008 the Mayor launched a climate change initiative. Work included risk mapping (involving community groups, technical officers and researchers), popular awareness raising of climate change associated disaster risk with local residents at risk and municipal authorities working together and building trust as solutions were proposed. Risk mapping revealed the threat of climate change was as real for fixed business interests as the poor. High risk areas included the city’s economic core accounting for 60% of the local economy, and the location of basic infrastructure such as water, electricity and basic service facilities. Around 36% of the total population or 55,452 people were identified as vulnerable to flooding. A total of 35,621 people from nine coastal districts were designated as being threatened by sea level rise and storm surge, 22,000 of who were women. Going forward the city is working with four “quickwin” responses to increase people’s resilience to climate change. These are: i) improving settlements and basic infrastructure ii) enhancing livelihoods, iii) developing climate and disaster risk management systems, and iv) improving environmental management and climate change mitigation actions. These valuable agendas in their own right and do not rely on uncertainty in climate science to be reduced before action can be taken.
The preceding example showed how decentralization is critical for building resilience within existing urban complexes. The pace of urbanization in Asia means that many new urban districts, and indeed new cities are being constructed. This opens the possibility for risk reduction and resilience to be built into urbanization processes so that risk management can move from a corrective to a prospective mode. Much new urbanization is initiated or facilitated through central planning and this is appropriate, but it does not remove the value of listening to local voices and building flexibility into new urban planning processes so that local stakeholders can express their priorities. The potential necessity of large scale relocation as urban areas and complete cities become submerged by sea-level rise makes this current experience of urban planning even more important. Past experience of planned relocation following disaster is not positive. There are few examples in Asia and worldwide where relocation has been comprehensive or been found to enhance the quality of life and livelihoods of migrants. Much of the reason for failure is the absence of localization and joined-up thinking in relocation planning and action. Too often in post-disaster contexts speed of delivery is privileged over consultation and local participation (Ingram et al., 2006). The wholesale relocation of fisher communities inland, often adjacent to established farming communities, following the Indian Ocean Tsunami not only undermined fisher livelihoods but led to local social tensions as relocated communities were provided more infrastructure (e.g., potable water access) than established communities who found their land and space compromised (Mitchell, 2010). Contagion: the movement of risk Urbanization is an intensely local phenomenon, it is also a global process. Through globalization urban places are linked and influence one another. The free movement of capital, ideas and people, and the attendant hybridization of culture, distinguishes the current era. Greater interconnectedness and interdependence have generated economic wealth and political collaboration, but also opened new pathways for risk to spread. The 1997 Asian financial crisis is a case in point, and one where globalised cities played their part. An early signal of crisis, in 1996, was a fall in property value in urban areas, importantly in Bangkok where prices and the inability of a major developer, Somprasong Land, to meet a foreign debt repayment compounded panic and currency movement. Economic trouble in Bangkok alone was not responsible for the crisis, but it had a catalyzing effect (Radelet and Sachs, 1998). The exposure of Asian cities to globalised risk was demonstrated through the food security crisis of 2007-08. Though the causes of this crisis are still debated a combination of failed rains in Australia, replacement of food crops for bio-fuel production, increased demand from Asia and market speculation are most frequently cited. The result was a rapid increase in gain prices pushing large numbers of the poor into food insecurity. An indicator of the depth of threat were urban food riots recorded from across Asia (and Africa) including in Uzbekistan, India, Indonesia, Yemen, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt (McMichael, 2009). This crisis is emblematic in presenting the complex interactions of cause and effect that face cities today climate change impact (failed harvests) and mitigation (bio-fuel production) were exaggerated through international market activity. Could a major climate related disaster in one or more cities of Asia trigger regional economic crisis? The threat to insurance industries from a major disaster in a megacity is real. One scenario of threat to the global economy postulated by Salt (2003) centres on a grade-5 hurricane hitting a major metropolis, New York or Miami were identified, with potential for losses exceeding US$100billion around one third of the global reinsurance pool at any one time. This scenario is proposed for US cities, but as urban centres in Asia continue to grow and accumulate physical capital risk from catastrophe in this region grows. Munich Re (2004) has already forecast such risk, in a study of risk across 50 cities Tokyo was identified as having highest disaster risk with Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto (#4), Hong Kong (#7) and Manila (#8) with 15 other
Asian cities (6 from South Asia) considered. These cities contribute 40%, 20%, 10% and 30% of national GDP respectively with Tokyo described as a global centre and Hong Kong as a financial world city. Large- and mega-cities have impacts on their surroundings beyond financial flows. Perhaps of more immediate concern are the resource demands that such cities exert on an increasingly wide hinterland. Consumption habits in cities have been identified as one driver of climate change, and the ways in which economic growth of Asia’s cities is translated into consumption patterns is likely to be a key element in determining future greenhouse gas emissions. This is of global significance – as well as reflecting back on those cities exposed to climate change associated hazard. Less global attention, but more local concern, has focused on other consumption demands in expanding cities. Water is perhaps the most important of these. Water security in many large cities, such as Mumbai and Delhi has long exceeded the capacity of fixed infrastructure with water being trucked in from distant sources to meet growing demand (Lundqvist et al., 2003). Managing supply (for example by increasing water capture and river damming) to meet growing demand does not present a sustainable solution to urban water security and instead a demand management strategy may need to be considered. Proposals for this change in water management for cities include innovation in local water harvesting and storage and water recycling alongside an emphasis in improved water loss rates (Muller, 2007). The notion of local and decentralized management of key resources for cities is exciting and has scope too for energy generation through household or community level solar and wind generation. In some cities local water and energy management can build on long experiences of urban agriculture. Such schemes will need to be implemented at scale and require a change in the structure of critical infrastructure planning. If major private sector players can be brought in and see this as a business opportunity to partner government and local resource providers/consumers some exciting scope for practical action to make cities resilient across mitigation and adaptation agendas is opened. IMPLICATIONS FOR PLANNING AND FINANCE The key components of resilience outlined in Box 1 place an emphasis for development planners on supporting the construction of an institutional environment that can enable local actors to experiment, share ideas and learn. This is the essence of a resilience based approach to pro-poor development. That based on disaster risk reduction is fortunate in being able to build on a legacy of practical experience and recent institutional innovation that takes us a long way. The Hyogo Framework for Action (HPA) priorities for action have proven foresightfull in including resilience explicitly as a component. Priority Three calls for ‘Knowledge, innovation and education to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels’. This provides a strong justification for international actors to invest in resilience building and one that does not require the addition of new international agreements to start work. This said, resilience, as described in this paper, does require a shift in emphasis. Again the HFA is useful in giving direction to this agenda through the HFA priorities. Table 1 presents each priority and explains how each can be used to support a focus on resilience for pro-poor disaster management. Table 1: The HFA Priorities as an international framework to support resilience HFA Priority Implications for Resilience 1. Ensure that disaster risk reduction is a Local institutions are key for enabling learning national and a local priority with a strong and flexibility to risk which is context specific. institutional basis for implementation The capacity of local actors to experiment, remember and learn is much enhanced if supported by regional and national institutions.
2. Identify, assess and monitor disaster risks and enhance early warning
Vertical linkages can also enable speedy and coordinated information exchange and provide validation which requires skills that may not be locally available. Increase awareness of trajectories in vulnerability, hazard and loss to help identify the range of future risk scenarios and priorities for action that resilience needs to plan for. Resilience calls for a shift in emphasis in development and one that needs to be enshrined in education and professional development training, as well as in practice. This has two components (1) enhanced risk reduction and (2) greater scope for experimentation and diversity. It may be that intermediary actors and research and training institutes are best placed to take on the riskiness of experimentation especially compared to the poor, but also less poor who are more focused on maximizing gains. Future uncertainty increases the value in addressing generic in addition to hazard specific risk factors. Building generic capacity (including all components of resilience) provides a flexible resource that can be used to respond to any threat, including the unexpected. Reducing loss lowers vulnerability to future risk and strengthens capacity extending choice for future action.
3. Use knowledge, innovation and education to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels
4. Reduce the underlying risk factors
5. Strengthen disaster preparedness for effective response at all levels
The proposals in Table 1 are immediately applicable and designed as such. But beyond this resilience as a learning process, challenges dominant forms of development in two important ways – diversity and experimentation. Both may be interpreted as diverting finance, skills and attention away from the maximizing of economic growth potential. There are two responses to this concern. First that while in the short-term diversity and experimentation will accrue costs and take some businesses and sectors along development pathways that are not maximizing – this may be compensated for when viewed at scale and over the medium- and long-term. Indeed the longterm sustainability of economic systems is built on exactly these principles which are a cornerstone of innovation. Most important here a need to explore ways of stimulating low- and medium-income households (either collectively or as individuals) to experiment – for example by shifting the balance of farming and aquaculture in low-lying coastal regions. This will most likely be achieved if the burden of risk and negative impacts implicit in experimentation are not born alone by these groups. This is a call for greater support for technical research that works very closely with those at risk to maximize transferability.
Second, where economies are mature and of sufficient scale there is potential scope for maximization strategies to support resilience. To achieve this surplus value will need to be invested into building diversification and a skill base for experimentation into society and the economy, there may even be scope for investment portfolios to spread risk. This strategy has danger attached. For example if tourist economies are hit by new disease vectors or repeat storms financial flows can stop abruptly. But it does provide a transition from dominant forms of maximization economy towards a more sufficiency economy approach. CONCLUSIONS Resilience – part chosen, part forced – has long been a facet of successful household, local and national economic survival and prosperity. Before climate change, economic actors had to cope with perturbations in market conditions, technological change, variations in skill and material input availability and price and so on. This uncertainty persists and is amplified by climate change which generates surprise through the direct impact of climatic extremes and also indirectly through the market and the implications of responses to climate change (which may not necessarily support the poor or fragile environments). Many of the components of a resilient future are already being practiced in pro-poor disaster risk management – micro-finance, livelihood flexibility, joined-up governance for urban and rural development, a growing awareness of the non-linearity of development and environmental change are all positive examples. But a step change in intention is needed. As climate change adaptation funding becomes available alongside that for mitigation an important opportunity arises for reflecting on the direction and rationale for development. This paper has shown many points where established development trajectories and priorities have served only to undermine livelihoods, environmental integrity and generate risk. Land management in the Himalaya and water extraction for burgeoning cities are cases in point. In other cases neglect has had similar outcomes, for example in the loss of social capital that has slowly undermined Karez water management in arid Asia. Perhaps one lesson to learn is that development is not an exact science and at all points is an outcome of competing interests and values. The danger is that climate change uncertainty has increased the stakes for the poor. Information is perhaps the most important commodity in building resilience into development and disaster risk planning. Those social and technical structures that promote information collection, critical reflection and analysis will be best placed to respond to surprises as well as identifying and preparing for potential threats and prepare. The principal of evidence based policy making is important in this regard. Championed by numerous NGOs the ISDR and government action new evidence on disaster risk and loss is improving the transparency and appropriateness of decision-making. Resilience adds to this by calling for work that draws out the dynamic processes behind local expressions of vulnerability, capacity and hazard and combines these with climate change projections to produce an array of possible futures. This knowledge can help local actors and policy strategists to identify the boundaries of what is likely in the near and far future, as well as consider what is unlikely. The result may well be a renewed preference for investment in generic social policy solutions that can build capacity amongst local actors (new skills, social capital, economic diversity etc). These can then be marshaled to face any future threat or risk including unforeseen stresses. Any change in policy, requires work at the level of discourse, institutions and action on the ground. The disaster risk reduction community has much experience of this through almost twenty years of lobbying and advocacy for a proactive and developmental approach to risk
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