Fifteen resilience-building action points for 2015 and the 15 years beyond
By Loy Rego

Thursday, 19 March 2015


I have a number of reflections drawn from the last three decades of disaster reduction work inspired by the Asian catastrophes, whose decadal anniversaries we have recently commemorated, on the fifteen minimum standards we need to set for ourselves to achieve what we need in the coming decade and a half:

  1. Effective, well functioning, government-led, multi-stakeholder institutional arrangements for resilience planning and implementation to tackle disaster and climate risks, at multiple levels in each country
  2. Well resourced programs to support implementation from national budgetary resources, enhanced by locally mobilised contributions and supplemented by external resources
  3. An early warning system (EWS) that reaches at risk people in a timely manner with understandable messages
  4. EWS built on a backbone of local volunteers delivering periodic public education about the system, and protective actions by individuals and communities to save lives and livelihood assets and locally appropriate protective infrastructure to evacuate people and safeguard livelihood assets
  5. A national disaster and climate risk assessment system that can be disaggregated down to comprehensible risk maps for local jurisdictions, in formats that aid risk informed decision making by local authorities and the people at risk
  6. Preparedness plans at multiple levels that are developed in an inclusive manner with roles defined and confirmed for all stakeholders, which are well resourced from local budgets and
  7. Readiness at multiple levels maintained through well trained and practiced local authorities, emergency service personnel and local volunteers and a system of periodic drills and exercises
  8. Effective land use planning and development regulation at both ecosystem level and each administrative level that respects the protective function, and the interconnectedness of ecosystems across administrative boundaries
  9. National Building codes enforced by local authorities appropriate to local hazard profile; with professional capacities of construction sector personnel built; and shaped by a demand from homeowners; with priority assistance given to those in most at risk areas living in poor quality housing.
  10. Climate and disaster proofing of local livelihoods with adaptation strategies devised and implemented that are based on localized risk assessments.
  11. All new schools and hospitals built and maintained to appropriate standards of hazard resilience and, with existing schools and hospitals assessed, repaired and retrofitted to these standards
  12. Special attention be paid of the special needs and vulnerabilities of children, women, aged, people with disability, ethnic and linguistic minorities, dalits in all preparedness plans and risk reduction programs, while welcoming and valuing the leadership they bring to their own communities and multi stakeholder settings
  13. Special attention to developing and implementing risk reduction strategies for low frequency high severity risks from earthquakes, tsunamis and technological hazards.
  14. Disaster and climate resilience be effectively integrated into national and sub-national sustainable development strategies and programs, especially the national programs to implement the Sustainable Development Goals
  15. Ensure that the major group system based multi stakeholder multi constituency engagement in the development of HFA2 be transformed into continuing involvement in its implementation at national and local levels and in related resilience building institutional arrangements.

Let us not be constrained by the HFA 2, should it not contain some of these action points. Let us continue to pursue them by patient, determined efforts community by community, district by district, province by province , nation by nation in a persistent people led, people centred movement for resilience

Loy Rego is Technical Advisor, Resilience and the SDGs, Researcher and Learning Practitioner, at the MARS Practitioners Network. MARS stands for Mainstreaming Adaptation, Resilience and Sustainability into development and daily life.  Loy has a 34-year career in multi hazard disaster preparedness, risk reduction and resilience building, climate change adaptation, sustainable development, poverty eradication and occupational/public safety. He has been based in Yangon since October 2013 where he works as an independent DRR Practitioner, consulting with UNISDR, ADPC, Malteser International, OXFAM, UNESCO/IOC, SDC and Peace Winds Japan. He serves as Volunteer Technical Advisor (TA) to Myanmar Red Cross Society and the Asia Pacific Partnership of National Apex Bodies on Sustainable Development, TA Group Member of Red Cross Global Disaster Preparedness Center, and member of DRR Working Group of Myanmar and the UNOCHA convened IASC Working group to revise the Inter Agency Contingency Plan for Myanmar. In New York from 2011 to 2013 he served as volunteer/ advisor to the Global Call for Action against Poverty (GCAP) on MDG-SDG linkages in the post 2015 development agenda, and a member of the Beyond 2015 GCAP UN Working Group in their advocacy with the Open Working Group on the SDGs, the HLP on Post 2015 and the UNGA. During this time he undertook consultancies as facilitator of the first UNISDR online dialogue on the post 2015 DRR Framework (Aug 2012 to Jan 2013), co-author of the Mayors handbook developed by the UNISDR Resilient cities campaign and did a lesson learning review and evaluation commissioned by UNDP on the Global Risk Identification Program (GRIP). He supported the Government of Sri Lanka in organising a side event at the Rio+20 conference of 2012 that launched the “AP Partnership of National Apex Bodies to accelerate implementation of National Sustainable Development Strategies”. Mr. Rego worked from 1996 to 2011 at the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC), most recently as its Deputy Executive Director and as head of secretariat of the Regional Consultative Committee for DRR(comprising NDMOs of 26 Asian countries) from 2000 to 2010.