Cities are taking steps for assessment of risk and capacities

On Wednesday June 27th the CapaCities project had its third online meeting to share knowledge and experiences. First, the DRM focal points from Ararat, Kutaisi and Ungheni shared their ideas about conducting a local disaster risk assessment. Beforehand, during LES meeting 3 in May the focal points were instructed about the principles and methods for risk assessment. Their homework was to apply what they had learned to their own city and come up with an ambition level and practical approach to develop a disaster risk assessment. In the online meeting they each presented a concrete action plan for conducting a risk assessment with their local stakeholders.

Ungheni has a high ambition level. The focal points want to set up a full multi-hazard and multi-sectoral risk assessment that informs policies for all parts of the DRM cycle, in a participatory approach with not only institutional stakeholders but also the inhabitants of Ungheni. One of the priorities is to use the assessment as a basis for a risk communication and education strategy, to inform inhabitants about what they can do to prevent and prepare. Ungheni already reached out to national institutions to contribute. From the CapaCities Core Team Ungheni will need assistance on the development and application of a method for impact and likelihood analysis, that is in accordance with current EU practice.

The focal points of Kutaisi did research into the existing Georgian legal framework and guidelines for risk assessment and the existing practice for national risk assessment. The ambition is to perform a local disaster risk assessment in accordance with the expectations of national government. The local stakeholders are committed to this ambition. Involvement of national entities will be a key success factor, as they have a lot of experience and information. Kutaisi has already formally invited the proper national authorities to participate. The first next step for the focal points will be to study the available methodologies and find good examples in their country of its application.

The ambitions of Ararat are in line with the international expectations derived from the Sendai Framework. The local disaster risk assessment will have to contribute to disaster-resilient communities. The assignment for the disaster risk assessment will be very structured and in accordance with the guidance from the national government of Armenia. The Mayor will approve an action plan, institute a local working group and assign the focal points as process coordinator. The process will include climate change adaptation and disaster risk aspects of community development. Ararat envisages a very practical approach to understanding risk. This will start with field surveys and field visits of the local working group to see the situation in the municipality with their own eyes and to engage with the population to learn about their perspectives. In a second step the collected data will be discussed in the working group and with relevant national institutes. Thirdly, a large survey will be conducted with questionnaires for all citizens. Ararat can make good use of assistance from a Regional DRR Team that can provide information and expertise.

Discussing the approaches of the three cities it was concluded that it is important to be realistic. In light of the limited time, the process requires achievable objectives with clear deadlines. Perhaps it is better to design a first draft risk profile, rather than aim to do a full and complete risk assessment. The step will have to be finished this year, because next year is meant to design the local DRM strategy. This strategy will not only be informed by a (draft) risk assessment, but also by a self-assessment of current capacities.

Next, the Core Team presented the framework for self-assessment of DRM capacities. It covers the main components of DRM governance, DRA, DRM planning, prevention/DRR, preparedness/response and recovery. The purpose is to facilitate a local stakeholder dialogue on current gaps, in order to inform decisions about the DRM strategy. The capacities and the “supporting questions” are derived from the EU guideline for risk management capabilities assessment, the EU Peer Review Framework and experiences from previous EU projects. Until end of the year, the 3 cities are going to use the framework for a self-assessment with their local stakeholders. Afterwards, the same framework will be used for a local peer review (cities looking in each other’s kitchen), to supplement the self-assessment with an external view. The resulting insight in gaps and ideas for improvement will be the basis for their DRM strategies.

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