Disaster risk reduction training in Assam / EC Photo

Training needs assessment on DRR, CCA and integration

Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) underwent a systematic in depth assessment of training needs in 2007 that was followed by step-by-step implementation of different capacity building actions for more than 5 years.  ASDMA then moved ahead with another training needs assessment (TNA) (2013-2014) that focused on integration of disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA).

Case Study

Training needs assessment on disaster risk reduction (DRR), climate change adaptation (CCA) and integration.

HFA Priority

HFA Priority 4: Reduce the underlying risk factors.

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

Abstract

Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) underwent a systematic in depth assessment of training needs in 2007 that was followed by step-by-step implementation of different capacity building actions for more than 5 years.

ASDMA then moved ahead with another training needs assessment (TNA) (2013-2014) that focused on integration of disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA).

The findings of the TNA initiated the design and methodology of training linking DRR and CCA within a state context and in collaboration with state (ASDMA), the Government of India, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), district disaster management authorities (DDMAs) and collaborations with technical institutions.

The recent TNA creates pathway for the next five years of training that keep state projections (in the Assam State Action Plan on Climate Change) in focus; and plan of the State Disaster Management Plan (SDMP) aligned to the seven key areas of the Hyogo Frame Agreement 2 (HFA2).

Context

Assam, located in the northeast region, highly prone to floods (Brahmputra river passing across the state) and earthquakes (Seismic Zone V), struggles with different socio-economic issues such as poverty, migration, flood plains location, and flash floods due to urbanization etc.).

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

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

The committed team of ASDMA initiated different actions, but due to challenges geographical location, and the socioeconomic situation of Assam, it was difficult to reach out at different phases of disaster response with limited resources. Capacity building, especially training for various stakeholders, was identified as key for district and state level preparedness.

Due to Assam’s isolation and different levels of advancement, training programmes were initiated which resulted in methodologies of TNAs on DRR. Such assessments are crucial especially for Assam due to not only its unique geographical location, multi-hazard location and high level of at-risk communities, but also due to its different communities – Assam has a large proportion of tribal populations that are highly differentiated in terms of ethno-lingual characteristics as well as economic responses to their habitats.

Location

Assam (India) – 27 districts, surrounded by six state and two national boundaries.

How the problem was addressed?

The problem was addressed through the systematic TNA on DRR (2007- 2008) followed by implementation of a training programme. The TNA on DRR and CCA (2013-2014) came after with the initiation of design and methodology for training programmes that promoted and strengthened DRR and CCA integration.

The TNA process and its systematic implementation happened 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 internally by the ASDMA team and its findings was implemented with the above-mentioned institutions.

Implementation of the ToTs was followed by district level training programmes across 27 districts in Assam state with post-training follow up and linking with different capacity building actions. These actions, carried out win collaboration with more than 15 technical expert institutions from national and international bodies, included the Assam Shake Out (2011, 2012, 2013); celebration of the International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) state-wide; city-wide emergency management exercises in Guwahati, Silchar, Nagaon, Dibrugarh, and Jorhat; school and hospital assessment, mock drills as well as disaster management planning.

The systematic TNA and commitment helped to overcome Assam’s challenges. The challenges include the situation of Assam – geographical, political, disaster frequency (manmade and from natural hazards, as well climate-related extreme events.

The initial efforts (2008-2012) were focused on disaster management and risk reduction. Climate change, however, brought even more challenges to Assam. Due to investment in ongoing training efforts slowly and gradually the stakeholders and practitioners moved ahead in terms of better understanding, moving beyond typical disaster management to risk reduction efforts and reaching out to hospitals and schools in large numbers across Assam. At national level very few institutions/ states reached out to every district with different actions.

These efforts bring Assam to the necessary link between DRR and climate change. T his resulted in recent TNAs on DRR and CCA with support from The Government of India-UNDP project with technical support from AIDMI. The process includes capturing voices (through search conferences at district levels) from local to state level and also incorporation of national and international processes (state and national action plans on climate change (SAPCC), the state disaster management plan (SDMP), and incorporation of HFA2 priority areas. The TNA also includes non-training requirements that effect 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:

·       Uncertainty observed and predicted in Assam state (utilizing SAPCC and SDMP findings).

·       Adaptive capacity: targeting institutions in different training programmes and post actions which can result in knowledge and resources to enhance capacity to adapt to climate change, particular in Assam – for example institutionalizing community based flood early warning systems to help vulnerable people cope with floods.

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

2.     The integration approach is highly recommended for such assessments going forward into implementation of a five-year training programme. The approach is simple, faster, economic and measurable and will build the integration of climate change adaptation 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 related work that covers different aspects related to implementation, skills development, ongoing procedures, early warning systems etc.

4.     The collaboration is key to overcoming the 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/CCA conducted with high institutional commitments as a past experience was positive and implemented across the state with different collaborative efforts. The recent TNA findings are in the planning (pilot phase initiated), however, such exercises could be done more effectively with clear possible financial planning that includes the contribution of partners. This is especially important when dealing with climate change adaptation and mitigation with a focus on filling knowledge related needs and gaps.

Results

The findings of TNA (both 2007-08 and 2013-14) 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 different institutions conducted a wide range of training and capacity building programmes for various stakeholders involving government officers, teachers, children, doctors, civil society organisations etc. A total 1,818 training programmes involved 54,7062 participants have been covered.

2.     Citywide five emergency management exercises were conducted to build capacity and test the emergency management level among different stakeholders.

3.     The recent TNAs that incorporate CCA and DRR incorporate the processes and findings of HFA2, SAPCC and SDMP of Assam.

4.     The findings of recent TNAs were converted into actions; the first steps were to design and conduct ToT on linking DRR and CCA for climate-sensitive departments at district level.

Measuring success

Training programmes were implemented across 27 districts of Assam. Multi-hazard preparedness approaches also linked with post training actions including mock drills, institutional disaster management plans and celebrations of IDDR, and advocacy for risk reduction measures.

Training programmes evaluation and reviews have been conducted by ASDMA. The indicators are mostly based on the outcomes of institutional plans on disaster management, mock drills, and the formation of relevant team/ committee.

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

Relevance to HFA

Large numbers of people from different communities are being 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; HFA Priority 4 reducing underlying risk factors and HFA Priority 3, use knowledge, education and innovation. These efforts contribute directly at national level from a state that faces natural and manmade disasters frequently.  

The efforts could not be done effectively without the HFA framework and different campaigns initiated by UNISDR and relevant institutions. Similarly the Disaster Management Act (2005) contributed at national level by encouraging different states and experts to contribute effectively to sustainable development.

For further effectiveness, the framework should incorporate climate change component excellently which inspire to address uncertainty, adaptive capacity and poverty and vulnerability reduction.

The initiative is relevant to HFA2 Priority 1 on understanding disaster risks as well as HFA2 Priority 3 on investing in economic, social, cultural, and environmental resilience, as well as HFA2 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 WCDRR.

Potential for replication

The recent TNAs 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

E-mail: asdmaghy@gmail.com