Section2. Executive Summary

Resilient communities are able to adapt to, withstand and recover from external and internal shocks that make them vulnerable. Resilience therefore implies the ability to cope with change while maintaining the bargain of the social contract. When it comes to disasters, Australians are resourceful and community-minded. (Cork S 2010) Previous policy settings have widely focused on emergency response rather than fostering self-reliance, resulting in very high expectations from communities for absolute protection from hazards. The end result has been an undue pressure on emergency management community, on increasing demands for its services with only finite resources. Faced by these challenges, a major shift is demanded in Australia. The focus needs now to be on individuals’ awareness and understanding of their risks and feel empowered to take responsibility for their own decisions with information and support from the local governments. (Filho 2010) The Australian government, at the national level has been at the forefront of advocating public policies to promote disaster preparedness and management over the past years. However, according to the 2011 National Assembly of Local Government (NGALG) discussion paper, further sustainable reforms, poses a lot of challenges to the national government (p. 2). It is the local governments at the ground that is capable of managing change or impacting the local and regional reform agenda. The challenge is how to achieve mechanisms for ensuring that the local council plans and strategies are well integrated, with a well trained staff to be able to undertake this responsibility. This approach envisages the importance of, not just the government but also the communities, comprising the individuals, businesses and households, and the Community Based Organizations (CBOs) in recognizing and understanding current and potential future risk. The aim is to partner with the Australian Local Government Association, to address the issue of disaster resilience at the local level.

Section3. Objectives of project and project outcomes

The main objective of this project is to achieve community’s resilience and sustainable disaster risk preparedness. This is sub-divided into the following objectives:

3.1 To increase knowledge and improve access to tools, technology and capacity development opportunities for local governments and other local stakeholder and in collaboration with researchers to provide them with training on technical expertise and guidance. A better equipped local government will play a pivotal role to increase resilience since it is in touch with the masses on the ground.

3.2 To empower individuals and communities in exercising choice and be able to take responsibility in the next one year. All members of the community need to understand their role in minimizing the impacts of disasters. Using the local authorities, the community will be educated on the relevant knowledge, skills and abilities they need in taking an appropriate action. The ability to use local networks and resources to support actions required during an emergency and the recovery efforts is very crucial in disaster management. This will result into an engaged, knowledgeable local community expertise, to be harnessed to mitigate the risks. Also, the community will have a strong understanding of the financial implications of disasters, options available such as insurance to mitigate financial risks to households and businesses. (Boer &Dubouloz)

3.3 To raise awareness and build partnership between local governments, along with other local actors, civil society groups etc and the communities on their role in building resilience on the local level. The ‘local government alliance for disaster risk reduction’ will build a lasting collaboration between stakeholders, and make the task easily achievable, according to the strategy outline for the 2010-2011 World Disaster Reduction Campaign on Making cities Resilient. (p. 4)

3.4 To establish and institutionalize a community based Disaster Information Management System (DIMS).

Section4. Statement of need

The size and severity of disasters that face the Australian communities is enormous. Their timing or location is very hard to predict, and their impacts sometimes can be disastrous. The climate is changing rapidly, increasing the uncertainty about future risks. According to the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience (NSDR 2010), ‘scientific modeling suggests that climate change will likely result in an increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events. Rising sea levels are increasing the likelihood of coastal erosion and severe inundation.’ (p.5). The seventh February 2009 bushfires in the state of Victoria is an example of these disasters. Apart from 170 people losing their lives, the bushfire also affected the emotional and social well-being of communities, the physical infrastructure, the economy and the environment, according to the National progress report on the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action (2011). The country’s vulnerability to disaster continues to increase due to several factors: demographic changes, work-life patterns, community fragmentation increasing susceptibility of volunteer groups, and the rising urbanization into areas of higher risk escalating the problem. The undue pressure on availability of community services and facilities, and high expectations from the community makes it more vulnerable. Community disaster resilience is usually influenced by population density and mobility, social economic status, age profile and therefore there is varied level of exposure to disaster risk. (Boer & Dubouloz 2000)) The government has been faced with an unprecedented challenge due to the potential escalation in the size and frequency of the environmental hazards and the increasing vulnerability of its citizens, creating a lot of pressure on its resource capacity and expertise.  According to the National progress report on the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action (2011), the Australian government in November 2009 endorsed a National Disaster Resilience Framework, which sets clear principles in guiding the efforts of the emergency management community in fostering disaster resilience, with an aim of developing a whole-of-government strategy for disaster resilience in 2010. This preceded government endorsement recognizing that a national, coordinated and cooperative effort is required to enhance Australia’s capacity to withstand and recover from emergencies and disasters. This agreement was recognition that disaster resilience is a shared responsibility for individuals, households, businesses, communities and governments. Therefore, this project focuses on using local councils for resilience building activity, empower the communities in taking shared responsibility for coping with disasters. The emphasis will be on action-based resilience planning and strengthening local capacity and capability. (NSDR 2010 p. 6). Through partnering with the local councils, the shared responsibility will be to enhance an integrated effort for educating the local communities, thus making it adaptive and empowered. This effort will involve organizing seminars for the communities, and undertaking community projects aimed at disaster risk management. Also, partnering with the local councils to undertake climate change risk assessments and developing action plans to prepare for the likely impacts of climate change at the local level, as outlined in the National progress report on the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action (2011)

Section5. Detail of how project will build resilience

The strategies of building resilience on disaster reduction mostly stems from a United Nations (UN) conference held in Hyogo, Japan, in January of 2005 with more than 4000 participants. The outcome of the conference was a “framework for action”, that outlined members’ resolve to pursue “the substantial reduction of disaster losses, in lives and in the social, economic and environmental assets of communities and countries by 2015.” (CEM 2011 p. 4). According to National Strategy for Disaster Resilience (NSDR) paper, a disaster resilient community is one where people have comprehensive local information about hazards and risks, and take action to prepare for disasters in an adaptive and flexible way. (Allenby & Fink) The community also has taken steps to anticipate disasters and to protect themselves, their assets and their livelihoods, with committing the necessary resources and therefore capable of organizing themselves before, during and after disasters. The people also work in collaboration with local leaders to prepare for and deal with disasters, and this implies use of personal and community strengths, networks and structures to form strong social networks that offer support in a time of crisis. In addition, the community work in partnership with emergency services, local authorities and other relevant organizations to deal with emergencies, thus ensuring they complement their work and therefore community resilience activities can be undertaken safely. (NSDR 2010). Other strategies involved include the following:

5.1  Assessment of disaster risks Assess the disaster risks due to various natural hazards and vulnerabilities at different levels, and develop system to periodically update and make it available to the community and the other partners. ( The assessment should be carried out by well-informed people, and therefore a thorough training program is a necessity especially for the locally based stakeholders. This project will undertake an initial training of the local council staff, the business community, and the community in disaster assessment courses in both short term and long term.

5.2  Hazard/risk monitoring and early warning to pertinent hazards To establish and institutionalize an authentic Disaster Information Management System (DIMS) to cover all disaster-related information. This is a web-based working tool from which users are able to access real time information on disaster trends, internal and external resources, tools and databases. It’s usually made accessible to Red Cross and Red Crescent staff. It’s the result of a major effort to support an efficient disaster preparedness and response at a global level. (DMSI 2011).

5.3  Organizational development According to Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA 2002-2015), one of its priority actions, is to ‘ensure that disaster risk reduction is a national and a local priority with a strong institutional basis for implementation’.  The strategy here is to develop a framework of partners at local level which are recognized and supported by the national government. These partners comprise the local councils, the business community, and the academic and private institutions. This can be achieved by formulating a Community Contingency Plan (CCP), like the case of Thailand as described by Victoria, where in the state of Orissa prone to natural and human disasters, where it involved the plan, preparedness and mitigation activities facilitated through the organization of Disaster Management Committees at various levels. Then there was mobilization of community volunteers and Community Based Organizations (CBOs). This project addressed gaps in disaster preparedness and response. (Victoria 2002).

5.4 Capacity-building/ raising awareness To use knowledge to educate the local communities at all levels on their roles in disaster control and mitigation. Capacity building involves teamwork building techniques which is a very effective way of teaching disaster management skills. This will ensure the people are well informed and motivated towards a culture of disaster prevention and resilience. An instance where capacity- building helped to mitigate effects of a disaster was in Mozambique, which was faced by floods which impacted heavily on the highly fragile economy and vulnerable social network. Set up as a coordinating entity to bring together all partners to plan and implement response and prevention measures. (UNDP n.d). This made it possible to come up with a national strategic solution to the recurrence of flooding and other disasters. Microfinance This is the provision of relevant and affordable financial services to poor households with no access to the services or affected by disasters. (Mathison n.d) Microfinance is an essential element for people in disaster situations, which enables them to start rebuilding their lives and as well improve their living conditions. An insufficient local capacity to deliver services timely and appropriately, however has been a major hindrance in their effectiveness. (FDC)

Section6. Profile of partner organizations, credibility and expertise; evaluation of project’s links to organizational mission and vision

According to National Strategy for Disaster Resilience (NSDR 2010), “the resilience approach acknowledges a shared responsibility for dealing with disasters and takes advantage of existing networks across and within governments, businesses, the not-for-profit sector and communities.” Disaster resilience in Australia is not a stand-alone activity that can be achieved without a joint commitment and concerted efforts by all sectors of society. It is in recognition of a shared responsibility in the resilience-based approach, that we have the partner organizations in this project as discussed below:

6.1 The Community Based Organizations/ Non-governmental Organizations These community based organizations are usually at the forefront of strengthening disaster resilience in Australia, with the community often turning to them for support and advice. They have an incredible performance history in the communities and therefore their involvement is critical and of paramount importance, in helping communities to cope with, and recover from disasters and emergencies. These agencies and organizations have well-organized set-ups and community networks that can play a very important role in reaching to the community in education. They would be a crucial partner, especially in providing educational knowledge and training through workshops and seminars, etc. (Filho 2010)

6.2 The business community It is important to acknowledge the very fundamental role played by the business community in supporting a community’s resilience to disasters. They are charged with provision of essential services and resources depended on by the community. Some of them are critical infrastructure providers and who face the high risks of making these available to the communities during, or soon after a disaster. They are therefore expected to be incorporated in this project for smooth running of events, considering their strategic positioning in the community. (NSDR 2010 )

6.3 Role of individuals Disaster resilience is based on sharing responsibilities as individuals in the community for preparing for, responding to and recovering from disasters. Based on awareness prevalent in their locality, the disaster resilience is significantly increased by individuals active planning and preparation for any eventuality. Apart from volunteering in emergency management arrangements, the individual will play a bigger role being the center of focus of the whole program.

6.4 Australian Local Government Association Given the increasing severity and regularity of natural disasters, an enhanced capacity is continually required to withstand and recover from emergencies and disasters. (Ahern & Galea 2006) The local governments are the “government on the ground”, expected to play a very significant role.

6.5 Academic/ private sector The institutions that offer learning and other academic-related services and the private sector are going to be involved fully in strategic planning of the resilience program. This could be in offering voluntary services like in tree planting, writing the required paper work materials and analyzing the data and information that touches on the activities of this project.

Section7. Overview of project activities and phases/activity timeline

Training workshops and rallies Facilitators Workshop Staff training Conferences Building demonstration plots Visiting Institutions Seminars Conferences Disaster MGT Demo Capacity Building

Section8. Table of indicative Inputs & Resources required

Table 8.1. shows Program Budget                                                                                                                                        Actual                     Estimate     Expenditure                                                           2011           2012         2011          2012 Capital……………………………………… Salaries……………………………………….. Bonuses………………………………………... Office Expenses……………………………… Vehicle purchase…………………………. Maintenance……………………………….. Utilities……………………………………….. Printing……………………………………… Accomodation…………………………………… Traveling costs………………………………. Training Materials……………………………….. Microfinance Kitty……………………………….. Incentives……………………………………….. Seminars/conference…………………………….. Translator……………………………………… Speakers’ allowance……………………………… Others………………………………………….

Section9. Evaluation and Monitoring

According to CDEM sector, ‘Monitoring and evaluation are standard parts of any good policy or risk management process’. This provides a method for learning, analyzing. Planning, allocating resources, and demonstrating results. It compares actual and desired states. Monitoring is a continual process aiming at providing an ongoing intervention. On the other hand, evaluation is about measuring effectiveness. It means you compare what is happening against what was intended, or the goals, objectives and targets, and then interpreting reasons for any difference. (CDEM, 2011) Monitoring and evaluation enhance organizational learning, ensure informed decision-making and planning, support accountability and build capacity and capability. According to NSDR (2010), ‘Disaster resilience is a long-term outcome, which will require long-term commitment.’ (p. 7) However, across a few years some results should be seen out of sustained behavioral change. In the initial two years of this project, the community resilient program will have benefitted with notable improvements, with some of the outputs and rationale as illustrated below:

9.1 Activity and outcome; Develop vulnerability profiles of the country, including the structural, non-structural and cultural vulnerabilities Rationale; the partners in the resilience development program will be able to identify the vulnerable areas, and gain information which implies preparedness incase of the occurrence of the disasters. They will also be equipped on how to mitigate the effects of the disasters in the future. (Paton &Johnston 2006)

9.2 Outcome; to develop system of indicators for disaster risk and vulnerabilities Rationale; it will be easy to come up with a definite way as an indicator or indicators for the most vulnerable areas of disaster risks. The community’s level of preparedness will therefore be raised. (Miller & Rivera 2011)

9.3 Outcome; to establish and institutionalize a community based Disaster Information Management System (DIMS) and to record, analyze, summarize and disseminate information relating to disaster occurrences. Rationale; All stakeholders working at the local level will be able to get information on good time relating to disaster occurrences. This will raise their resilience and thus averting dangerous effects.

9.4 Outcome; to assess the disaster risks due to various natural hazards and vulnerabilities at different levels, and develop system to periodically update and make it available to the stakeholders. Rationale; This project will undertake an initial training of the local council staff, the business community, and the community in disaster assessment courses in both short term and long term strategies. The community will be in a place to take quick measures and disaster preparedness.

9.5 Outcome; to identify the most vulnerable and poor households upon a disaster and provide relevant and affordable financial services. Rationale; the affected households will be able to rebuild their lives and improve their living conditions. The evaluation of the project will be against these outcomes and rationale, and the donor, the government agencies will be able to access the records and measure development continually in the two years provided.