Sharing and Learning on Community Based Disaster Management in Asia (CBDM Asia)
Asia is the world’s most disaster-prone region, according to the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. On average, disasters caused over 65,000 deaths in Asia and affected almost 220 million people each year between 2002 and 2011. Truly catastrophic events have become more common: the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 claimed 226,408 lives and in 2008, Cyclone Nargis killed 133,655 and 87,150 people died in China’s Wenchuan earthquake. In 2011, the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan caused 15,870 deaths and over $200 billion in damages. Although recent experience has prompted some improvement, regional coordination and cooperation in disaster management is still far from adequate.
China is affected by almost all types of natural disaster and its experience has great relevance to other developing countries in Asia, given their shared context: geographical diversity, challenges posed by the global economic downturn, pressure from a rising population and increasing public expectation of government action to mitigate risk and provide post-disaster support. The Project is therefore designed to strengthen regional cooperation and exchange on community based disaster management among countries affected by disasters in Asia. Being part of the UK-China Global Development Partnership Programme, the project strives to support resilience building via knowledge sharing and mutual learning between China and other Asian countries threatened by natural disasters, particularly Bangladesh and Nepal.
The benefits from the CBDM Asia project are:
- Partnership built among UK, China, Bangladesh and Nepal;
- Demonstration facility established for capacity building and exchanges among communities;
- Research activities to draw China’s experiences;
- Information platforms built for sharing and mutual learning.
During the past two and a half years, the CBDM Asia Project has organized various thematic exchange activities targeted at different audience, and strengthened the partnership and promoted experience sharing and mutual learning. Policy dialogues, for example, provided a platform for high-level policy makers to exchange ideas and discuss about common problems and solutions. Thematic CBDM Workshop Series brought together government officials, academia, civil society and private sector to expose them to CBDM strategies, technologies, and best practices. Community Exchange Events, on the other hand, supported the peer learning among community practitioners and encouraged the application of new knowledge.
Drawing upon the knowledge, expertise and experiences of the participating countries (China, UK, Bangladesh and Nepal), the CBDM Asia Project has supported a series of in-depth research activities. Researchers have compiled China’s CBDM experiences from various aspects, such as risk mapping, contingency planning and drill exercise, as well as typhoon preparedness. In addition, a software for flash flood risk assessment has been developed with consideration of the needs and potential benefits to Bangladesh and Nepal. The knowledge and experiences generated and compiled by the project are disseminated and shared with other participant countries, in the hope of furthering and enhancing the learning and possible application.
Phase I of the CBDM Asia project will be completed soon. The framework for Phase II is currently being designed together with counterparts from China, Bangladesh and Nepal.