Project Representative
Ms. Sharifah Nurlaili Farhana Syed Azhar
Creation Date: 2014
Headquarters: Penang, Malaysia
Nature and number of beneficiaries: Employees of government ministries; Federal, State and District level disaster management and relief team members; Search and rescue team members, NGOs, regional organisations including UN system bodies; Policy makers, and Community leaders.


About the Project

The Centre for Global Sustainability Studies (CGSS), Universiti Sains Malaysia in collaboration with the Asia Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN), Japan; International University, Vietnam National University (Vietnam); National University of Laos (NUOL) and University of Battambong (Royal University of Cambodia) conducted Disaster Risk Management for Sustainable Development (DRM-SD) Laboratory for three days in Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.  We collated our resources to prepare a training curriculum to explain the DRM cycle in these four countries.  
In this training, the participants use the DRM-cycle to suit the capacity needs of the target groups in each country, whether their primary focus is pre-event risk management or post-event disaster management. It brings together multiple stakeholders to explore ways to reduce the risk posed by climatic hazards before they become disasters resulting in loss and damage. The central focus of this unique training is personalised instruction and hands-on learning. In most situations involving climatic extremes (and other disasters in general) the starting point appears to be an unexpected event followed by a hastily put-together reaction plan for relief and rehabilitation, followed by a cooling-off period until the next disaster strikes.
In more prepared communities and countries, proactive measures such as anticipatory preparation and more robust recovery are the rule . If we could define risk more inclusively to cover both ‘rapid onset-high impact’ events such as floods and typhoons, and ‘slow onset-high impact’ events, such as climate change and poverty, we could move from an event-based to a process-based intervention strategy for disaster risk reduction/management (DRR/M). In such cases, vulnerable communities will become active participants rather than passive victims.
This training is unique in considering sustainable development (SD) in all the four major phases of the DRM loop – prevention, preparedness, response and recovery. The training is tailored to address closely the capacity needs of APN’s Climate Adaptation Framework and the outcome of the special APN workshop on CCA, DRR and L&D held in Kobe, 21–23 August 2013. The project is fully funded by the Asia Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN), Japan.

Context and Issue

Climate change is projected to intensify, raising the cost of disasters both in lives lost and damage to social, economic and environmental assets. A prudent approach would involve a host of pre-disaster win-win early adaptation interventions, making recovery faster and loss and damage manageable. If this is coupled with well-conceived response and recovery measures aligned to long-term interests of national development, each iteration of the Disaster Risk Management (DRM) and Sustainable Development (SD) cycle will improve risk reduction and build resilience.

In order to bridge the gap between event and the process-based approaches and to integrate Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) with sustainability, strong policy guidelines are needed. This is highlighted both in the strategic goal of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015 relating to ‘the integration of disaster risk reduction into sustainable development policies and planning’, and paragraphs 186-189 under the subsection ‘disaster risk reduction’ of the Rio+20 outcome ‘The future we want’. The lack of integration in this area is the policy issue we propose to address.

Training Highlights:
1. Discussion of South East Asia climate trend and scenario with focus on climatic extremes

2. Addresses all technical terms involved in the DRM cycle and clearly explain connection between DRM and Sustainable Development

3. Training on the use of an easy-to-use risk assessment methodology and world café approach using DRM-SD model (developed by CGSS)

4. Providing access to loss and damage assessment approaches and help prioritize adaptation options

5. Training on risk reduction project planning using logical framework analysis and Atkissons methodology to develop and implement interdisciplinary risk reduction projects.

6. Address closely the capacity needs of APN’s Climate Adaptation Framework and the outcome of the special APN workshop on CCA, DRR and L&D held in Kobe, 21–23 August 2013

Solution and Impact

With the support of our collaborating partners in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and our resource person, Mr Robert Steele of Systainability Asia, Thailand, the partnership proved to be very successful in attracting potential participation and research networking. Thanks to APN and all collaborating partners, we have received favorable responses from our participants in all countries involved.

The material covered in the learning labs was consolidated through structured tutorials, and its practical application was accomplished through a suite of research problems that formed the core of the training. Participants worked in teams led by the resource person and facilitators (secretariats) throughout the three days, presenting their progress at the end of day three. The teams have continued to work on a guidance manual to be distributed to all participants as post-training materials. The team is also working on several publications on DRM-SD Capacity Building led by the project proponent.

A reference book, “Disaster Risk Management for Sustainable Development (DRM-SD): An Integrated Approach” developed mainly for community leaders and practitioners was also distributed to all participants in all countries.

This book, which was the main resource for the training, provides clear explanation for the four components of the DRM-SD cycle (prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery) definition of the DRM related terms, policy context of DRM-SD and in the last section explains how DRM becomes an integral element in Malaysia’s national strategies and participation in international SD protocols.
The presentation material is freely available on our website: https://cgss.usm.my/index.php/ms/research/apn.

Future Developments

It is hoped that this training has facilitated the practitioners to plan for and respond to disasters more effectively, preserving lives and livelihoods, eventually preventing the effects of natural hazards from negatively impacting development.

At a more regional level, we hope to link this initiative to the newly established South East Asia Sustainability Network (SEASN) with the secretariat at USM-CGSS, other stakeholders who may be interested to collaborate in future projects with APN Climate Adaptation Framework.

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