Climate change has resulted in an extreme dry spell that has ruined the tea crops in Assam / by 350.org

Training needs assessment on disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and integration

In 2007 the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) carried out in an depth training needs assessment (TNA) that were followed by step-by-step implementation of different capacity building actions for a period of over five years.

Case Study

Training needs assessment on disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and integration

HFA Priority

HFA Priority 4: Reduce underlying risk factors.

HFA Priority 3: Use knowledge, innovation and education to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels.

Abstract

In 2007 the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) carried out in an depth training needs assessment (TNA) that were followed by step-by-step implementation of different capacity building actions for a period of over five years.

ASDMA moved ahead with another training TNA (2013-2014) that focused on integration of disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaption (CCA). The findings initiated the design of trainings linking DRR and CCA within a state context and in collaboration with ASDMA), the national Government, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) and other technical institutions.

The recent TNA creates a pathway for the next five years of training efforts keeping the following in focus:   state projections (Assam State Action Plan on Climate Change); planning of the State Disaster Management Plan (SDMP); and seven key areas of the HFA 2.

Context

The Indian state of Assam in the northeast is prone to floods because of the Brahmputra river and earthquakes since it is in Seismic Zone V. It also struggles with various socio-economic issues such as poverty, migration, flood plains location, flash floods and unplanned urbanisation.

In 2005, Government of India (GoI) passed the disaster management act, which resulted in national and state level disaster management authorities, including the ASDMA in 2007.

This positive change created a platform for different actions at state and district level for disaster preparedness, response and mitigation in Assam.

ASDMA initiated different actions, but due to challenges such as geographical location and the socio-economic situation of Assam, it was difficult to reach a different phase of disaster response with limited resources.

Capacity building and training for various stakeholders was identified as key for district and state level preparedness. However, due to isolation and timing, very few training programmes were initiated. This resulted in the implementation of the TNA on DRR. Such an assessment is crucial for a state like Assam due not only to its unique geographical location, multi-hazard reality, and its high level of at-risk communities but also due to its diverse communities; Assam is home to large tribal populations, highly differentiated by ethno-lingual characteristics as well as by economic responses to their habitats.

Location

Assam, state of India: 27 districts, surrounded by six state and national two boundaries.

How was the problem addressed?

The problem was addressed through the:

·       Systematic TNA on DRR (2007- 2008);

·       Subsequent implementation of training programmes

·       Additional TNA on DRR and CCA (2013-2014);

·       Subsequent initiation of design and conduct of training programmes promoting and strengthening DRR and CCA integration.

The TNA process and its systematic implementation occurred due to ASDMA’s committed team and collaborative efforts with different technical institutions including:

·       UNDP;

·       All India Disaster Mitigation Institute (AIDMI);

·       National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA);

·       District Disaster Management Authority (DDMAs);

·       Doctors for You;

·       Academy of Trauma;

·       Assam Engineering College;

·       Industrial Training Institute;

·       Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati;

·       Colombia University;

·       Space Application Center,

·       Indian Space Research Organization;

·       National Remote Sensing Center;

·       North East Institute of Science and Technology .

The first systematic TNA conducted by the ASDMA team and the findings were implemented with the above-mentioned institutions. This was followed by district level training programmes across Assam state (27 districts) with post-training follow up and links with different capacity building actions including:

·       Assam shake out 2011, 2012, 2013;

·       Celebration of International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) from district to state level; City-wide Emergency Management Exercises (Guwahati, Silchar, Nagaon, Dibrugarh, Jorhat) with more than 15 technical expert institutions from national and international bodies;

·       School and hospital assessment, mock drills and disaster management planning.

The systematic TNA and commitment helped to overcome the challenges. The challenges include geographical and political issues, frequency of disasters including manmade, and climate related extreme events.

The initial (2008 to 2012) efforts emphasized disaster management and risk reduction. The climate change situation, however, presents Assam with a lot of additional challenges. Due to investment in ongoing training efforts, stakeholders and practitioners gradually moved ahead in terms of a better understanding of typical disaster management to risk reduction efforts and now reach out to large numbers of hospitals and schools at large number across Assam state. It is rare, because at national level very few institutions/states reach out to every district with different actions.

Such efforts bring us to the necessary link between DRR and climate change. This resulted in a recent TNA on DRR and CCA with support from a GoI-UNDP project and technical support from AIDMI. The process includes capturing voices (through search conferences at district levels) from local to state level and also incorporating national and international processes such as state and national action plans on climate change (SAPCCs), state disaster management plan (SDMPs), and HFA2 priority areas. The TNA also includes non-training requirements that affect capacity building areas of climate sensitive departments at district and state level. The TNA emphasized taking existing and planned DRR actions closer to the CCA measures.

Key lessons learnt from TNA on DRR and CCA 

1.     Based on the experience, it was decided to link the TNA results (trainings) with one of the following areas:

·       Assam state’s use of SAPCC and SDMP findings;

·       Adaptive capacity: targeted institutions in different training programmes and post actions that result in knowledge and resources to enhance the capacity to adapt to climate change particular to Assam e.g. institutionalizing community based early warnings to help vulnerable people cope with floods;

·       Training and post training action should not only encourage effective disaster response, but also link to poverty and vulnerability reduction e.g. access to risk transfer mechanisms, formation of institutional disaster management plans (school disaster management plans).

2.     The integration approach is one of the highly recommended approaches for assessments that are responsible for the implementation of five-year training programmes. The approach is simple, faster, economic and measurable and will build the integration of CCA and mitigation into existing efforts by ASDMA.

3.     New risks and the aggravation of existing risks posed by climate change need to be more comprehensively addressed in DRR training that covers different aspects related to implementation, skill development, ongoing procedures, early warning system etc.

4.     The collaboration is one of important keys to overcoming challenges posed by climate change. It will help to give communities a broader understanding of their vulnerabilities, while at the same time expanding effectiveness by working with partners in the fields of development, environment, poverty reduction, financial planning and health.

5.     The TNA on DRR and CCA conducted with high institutional commitment in the past yielded positive results and was implemented across the state with different collaborative efforts. Although the recent TNA findings are in the planning (pilot phase initiated), such exercises could be done more effectively with clear possible financial planning that includes contributions from partners. This is especially important when we are planning to deal with climate change, adaptation and mitigation measures with a focus on filling knowledge related needs and gaps.

Results

The findings of TNA (2007-2008 and 2013-2014) resulted in different training actions and collaborative efforts with different technical institutions by ASDMA in Assam. Some key results are as follows:

1.     ASDMA, with support from different institutions, has conducted a wide range of training and capacity building programmes for various stakeholders involving government officers, teachers, children, doctors, and civil society organisations. A total of 1,818 training programmes involving 547,062 participants have been carried out.

2.     Five citywide emergency management exercises have been conducted to build capacity and test the emergency management level among different stakeholders.

3.     The recent TNA that incorporates CCA and DRR also incorporates the processes and findings of HFA2, SAPCC and the SDMP of Assam.

4.     The findings of the recent TNA have been converted into actions, the Training of Trainers (ToT) links DRR and CCA for climate-sensitive departments at district level.

Measuring success

Training programmes implemented across 27 districts of Assam feature a multi-hazard preparedness approach that also links with post training actions including mock drills, institutional disaster management plans, celebration of the IDDR, and risk reduction advocacy in different actions.

Training programmes evaluations and reviews have been conducted by ASDMA. The indicators are based on the outcomes, institutional plans on disaster management, and mock drills by relevant teams and committees.

Some of findings from recent TNAs are identified in development and trainings on integration. This will be tested with the participants (officials from climate-sensitive departments).

Relevance to HFA

Large numbers of people from different communities are trained with a focus on different components including awareness, sensitization, implementation of actions, designing of plans etc. Such efforts reflect HFA Priority 1 – priority at local level; Priority 4 – reducing underlying risk factors; Priority 3 – use knowledge, education and innovation. These efforts make a direct national contribution from a state that faces natural hazard induced and manmade disasters frequently.  

The efforts could not be done effectively without the HFA framework and other campaigns initiated by UNISDR and relevant institutions. Similarly the national Disaster Management Act of 2005 encourages different states and experts to contribute effectively towards sustainable development.

For further effectiveness, the framework should incorporate climate change components, which address uncertainty, adaptive capacity as well as poverty and vulnerability reduction.

The initiative is relevant to the HFA2 Priority 1 on understanding disaster risk; Priority 3 on investing in economic, social, cultural, and environmental resilience; priority 4 on enhancing preparedness for effective response; and building back better in recovery and reconstruction as discussed in the Zero draft documents of the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR).

Potential for replication

The recent TNA on DRR and CCA is in the process of replication by agencies in other states of India.

Contribution by

Assam State Disaster Management Authority, Government of Assam: asdmaghy@gmail.com