A chief constraint towards a more favourable environment for organisational and local institutional development in DRM is the very short attention spans that natural disaster risks generally command. In the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster strike, with memories of human and material losses vivid, mitigation investment is a very high priority in both the eyes of communities at risk and also local and central governments. As time goes by and memories fade, so too does the priority for mitigation. In extreme cases of volcanoes that have been inactive for up to one hundred years - such as Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991 - even mounting scientific evidence of the impending catastrophic eruptions was unable to stimulate local communities into taking mitigation measures to protect themselves.
The thematic breadth of necessary mitigation and preventive measures as well as the intimate linkage between natural disasters and development illustrate that DRM needs the collaboration of a wide cross-section of actors from different sectors (among others, agriculture, natural resource management and the environment, infrastructure, civil protection, education and health). Within the responsibilities and areas of activity of these sectors and actors partial strategies and disaster prevention measures can be integrated.
Which is why, increasingly, within countries exposed to hazard risk as well as in the context of development cooperation, a multisectoral, integrated approach is adopted. Such an approach is relevant for efforts undertaken at community level and for emerging national level systems, and should create part of the enabling environment for local institutional development in DRM.
For Total Disaster Risk Management (TDRM - see the box in this Section), the following enabling mechanisms are important in order to attain objectives at the local and national levels (Guzman 2002):
A clear and comprehensive policy that defines the objectives and commitment of the organisation, community or government to total disaster risk management in relation to development strategies and goals. It should address all aspects disaster management, including preparedness for response, and ensure that mitigation is given proper priority;
A strategic planning process that enables risk reduction measures to be adopted in both development and disaster management contexts. This will facilitate the development of a disaster risk management plan, its integration into local development plans, and the establishment of focal points for coordination, among others;
The establishment of organisational structures and systems that would facilitate the coordination of stakeholders and concerned agencies and of organisations at various levels to ensure efficient and effective response;
The implementation of TDRM involves the establishment of a focal unit and person for the coordination of disaster risk management activities, and the identification and provision of resource requirements, including funds and trained personnel; and
Capacity for risk reduction, as an enabling mechanism, allows for the cross-sector integration of risk reduction measures through effective programmes for priority sectors and communities at risk.
The full implications of the relationship between natural disasters, disaster management and economic and social development are rarely fully understood. To incorporate better the relationship to development planning, there are some important steps to take. There is a need for further research into the long-term development impact of natural disasters - especially through the secondary effects mentioned earlier in this report - and appropriate responses to them, based on learning experience already acquired.
19.1 The Total Disaster Risk Management Approach
The Total Disaster Risk Management Approach (TDRM), which is being developed in collaboration with ADRC, comprises six systematic steps for problem definition, analysis, decision-making, implementation and monitoring and review (Guzman 2002):
Source: Guzman 2002 (www.adrc.org)
A problem in this respect is posed by the fact that DRM initiatives are rarely seen as investments but are rather treated as a mere cost; not least, this is due to the absence of scholarly cost-benefit analyses to make the point. From an emergency reconstruction perspective, many still see disaster management as traditionally being outside the normal business of development, as if it were an exceptional activity brought about by exceptional circumstances. It is indeed ironical that in the most disaster-prone countries such exceptional activities are carried on almost regularly year-after-year. Awareness-raising campaigns are thus needed, without which changes in attitudes, and, by implication, in the enabling environment for local institutions in DRM, will remain elusive.
Diagramme 2: Examples of Activities at Different Stages to increase Local DRM Capacity