Indigenous and Vulnerable Populations (Sunday, 8 June 2014, 13:30 – 15:15)

Gender in the Pacific Islands: Towards Climate and Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience

Integrating Indigenous Knowledge into Decision and Policy-Making for Disaster Risk Reduction
Simon LAMBERT (New Zealand)

Triangulation of Research, Policy and Indigenous Knowledge: Pathway for Sustainable Disaster Risk Reduction in Nigeria
Catherine V. NNAMANI (Nigeria)

Emergency Preparedness and Perceptions of Vulnerability among Disabled People Following the Christchurch Earthquakes
Suzanne R. PHIBBS (New Zealand)


Gender in the Pacific Islands: Towards Climate and Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience

Cheryl L. ANDERSON1, 2

  1. University of Hawaii Social Science Research Institute Hazards, Climate and Environment Program, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
  2. Joint Centre for Disaster Research, Massey University – Wellington Campus, Wellington 6140 New Zealand

Efforts to link gender with climate change have made enormous strides, with coordination of international efforts to build awareness of policy-makers; however, methods for integrating gender into assessments are still not well understood. Lessons from disaster risk reduction have shown that dealing with gender issues is more complicated than assigning labels of vulnerability based on sex-disaggregated data. Gender analysis provides a lens for considering integrated risk reduction and adaptation planning, where gender is considered throughout the process of identifying exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity. We examine gender in divisions of labour, livelihood activities, access to resources and information, political access to positions of power, and coping strategies. As a unit of analysis, gender brings in other socio-economic indicators such as class and poverty, race and ethnicity, or traditional knowledge.

In the Pacific Islands, where many exist on the frontlines of severe climate change impacts and subsist in a state of chronic disaster relief, there are adaptive capacities associated with gender roles in matrilineal societies that have not been considered in planning and policy development. An exploration of gender in Pacific Islands case studies reveals lessons about appropriate adaptation methods and ways to build community resilience to withstand impacts from climate and disaster.

Gender analysis reveals that women in Pacific Islands work predominantly in areas near the shoreline, subject to coastal storm surge and tsunami inundation. In urban areas, more women work in the tourism sector, employed for retail services and in hotel operations that are located near the coasts. Alternatively, government and large-scale businesses that employ more men are often located outside of the hazard zones. Several Pacific projects and case studies demonstrate ways in which gender, realised through traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), enable communities to reduce risks from hazards and changes in climate.

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Integrating Indigenous Knowledge into Decision and Policy-Making for Disaster Risk Reduction

Simon LAMBERT1, Simone ATHAYDE2, Lun YIN3, Marie-Ange BAUDOIN4 and Victor O. OKORIE5

  1. Collaborating Scientist and Maori Representative. Senior Lecturer, Maori Environmental Planning and Development, Environment, Society and Design, Lincoln University, Christchurch, New Zealand
  2. Tropical Conservation and Development Program, Center for Latin American Studies, University of Florida, USA
  3. Yunnan Academy of Social Science, 650034, Kunming, China
  4. Consortium for Capacity Building, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA 
  5. Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria

In a world of increasing uncertainty and risk from hazards and climate change, indigenous peoples are among the most vulnerable groups. Nevertheless, indigenous communities around the world hold unique and invaluable Indigenous Knowledge (IK) applicable to disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA). This presentation introduces a new project funded by the IRDR International Centre of Excellence, Taipei, on IK and risk perception, interpretation and action for both man-made and natural disasters. In this presentation, the group will share preliminary insights across four countries, showing approaches for synthesising relevant data and information from case studies in New Zealand, Brazil, Benin and Nigeria, each dealing with a different hazard and disaster risk. In addition to preparing academic articles articulating different social sciences disciplines, the project will produce multimedia learning modules for diverse audiences on the role of IK in DRR and CCA in each of the selected countries, and contribute to building a network for scholars and Indigenous communities to continue this valuable research.

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Triangulation of Research, Policy and Indigenous Knowledge: Pathway for Sustainable Disaster Risk Reduction in Nigeria

Catherine V. NNAMANI1 and Jane E. EZENIKWE2

  1. Department of Applied Biology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Ebonyi State University Abakaliki, Nigeria
  2. National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Abuja Nigeria

Flooding in Nigeria has recently turned out to be a reoccurring decimal devastating and causing significant damages to socio-economy, property and livelihoods of the populace in different parts of the country. Lately, it cut down commercial activities, submerged several square kilometres of farmlands and livestock, and displaced millions of people in Lokoja, Delta, Bayelsa, Borno, Cross River, Ebonyi, Nassarawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Katsina and Kebbi, Taraba, Benue, Niger, Kaduna and Kano states. The scenario in country is such that researchers, actors of policy, and local communities with their wealth of indigenous knowledge live in isolation in terms of their goals, aspirations and operations, without synergy of purpose and orientations. This lack of preparedness on the part all these actors will continually place the country on a vulnerable position unless there is a systematic and coherent collaboration among them. Utilisation of research findings in policy development, which will be translated to communities in hot spot zones, has the potential of reducing risks associated with natural disasters such as flooding and drought. This will save lives, reduce poverty, fight hidden hunger, improve livelihoods and the continent’s ability to withstand global shocks and sustainable development. This paper uses Triangulation of Research, Policy and Indigenous Knowledge Pathway (TRPIK-P) as a case study to argue that there is more potential for effective development in Nigeria when good linkages exist between research, policy and practice in African countries. It identifies evidence-based findings, indigenous knowledge, early warning, political transparency, an enabling environment, grass root met information dissemination services, the credibility of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), and media and external influences as major strategies to disaster risk reduction. The paper also highlights some opportunities that could enhance linkages between research, policy and indigenous knowledge for sustainable development in Nigeria.

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Emergency Preparedness and Perceptions of Vulnerability among Disabled People Following the Christchurch Earthquakes

Suzanne R. PHIBBS, Esther WOODBURY, Kerry J. WILLIAMSON and Gretchen A. GOOD
School of Health and Social Services, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

Internationally there is limited research on the experiences of people with disabilities during and following a major disaster. The overall aim of this research was to explore how the Christchurch earthquakes impacted upon disabled people. This paper reports on findings from the research relating to emergency preparedness and perceptions of vulnerability among disabled people who were living in Christchurch over the extended period in which the earthquakes occurred.

Qualitative inquiry involving purposive sampling and face-to-face interviews with 23 disabled people and four agency representatives living in Christchurch during the earthquakes. The qualitative research was followed by a pilot quantitative survey involving 25 disabled people living in Christchurch during the earthquakes and 10 people who work in the disability sector. Qualitative interview material was analysed using thematic analysis while quantitative data was analysed using descriptive statistics.

Findings identified that prior to the September earthquake disabled people were not prepared for an emergency. Following the earthquake most people took steps to ensure that they were better prepared. However, few disabled people were able to prepare for an emergency without support. Vulnerability was discussed by participants in relation to personal safety, communication, housing, transport and financial hardship. A lack of community preparedness alongside insufficient structures to assist disabled people in the disaster response or recovery phases increased exposure to risk. Research into the experiences of disabled people following the Canterbury earthquakes provides an opportunity to review lessons learnt in relation to the 2005 Hyogo Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Applying the Hyogo Declaration’s emphasis on vulnerable communities to disability is timely given that the international framework is currently being reviewed and is due for renewal in 2015. Our research suggests that disabled people are more likely to be impacted in a civil emergency and are less likely to be prepared. Disaster risk reduction strategies are needed that enhance opportunities for disabled people to prepare for a civil emergency so that they are able to maintain their independence in an emergency situation. Emergency preparedness management needs to engage with disabled people in the community and have specific policies to assist disabled people prior to and in the event of a disaster. Disaster recovery should be seen as an opportunity to reduce risk through avoiding recreating the conditions of vulnerability that may have existed previously.

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