Science and National Politics (Sunday, 8 June 2014, 13:30 – 15:15)

Volcanoes on Borders: Potentially Explosive Geopolitical Agents

Winds of Change: Voter Blame and Storm Gudrun in the Historical 2006 Regime Shift of the Swedish Parliamentary Election
Lina M. ERIKSSON (Sweden)

Research on Strategy and Policy of Urban Integrated Flood Disaster Risk Management in China
Song HAN (China)

Community-led Disaster Risk Management: a Maori Response to Otautahi (Christchurch) Earthquakes
Christine M. KENNEY (New Zealand)


Volcanoes on Borders: Potentially Explosive Geopolitical Agents

Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

This paper provides an overview of an ongoing project examining the science and policy questions that relate to volcanoes on international borders. Volcanic eruptions are frequently transboundary events. This was demonstrated clearly for Europeans during the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajokull. Aviation technology is perhaps particularly vulnerable to these transboundary effects, but there are also a large number of volcanoes globally that are on or close to international borders. These include Nabro and Mallahle in Eritrea, Paektu or Changbaishan on the North Korea-China border, and numerous Andean volcanoes (for example, between Argentina and Chile). A large eruption at any of these volcanoes would affect two or more countries in its immediate impacts (ash fall, pyroclastic currents). We use qualitative social scientific methods and GIS to examine some of the implications of this for global eruption management, both in terms of scientific diplomacy and political issues.

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Winds of Change: Voter Blame and Storm Gudrun in the Historical 2006 Regime Shift of the Swedish Parliamentary Election

Department of Government, Uppsala University, Center for Natural Disaster Science, Sweden

Did Swedish voters punish the Social Democratic Party for its poor policy response to Storm Gudrun? Recent large‐N and most‐likely case studies on political behaviour indicate that voters retrospectively assign credit and blame to the government based on its response to severe weather phenomena. In this study, I leverage the methodological benefits of a natural experiment in exploiting a least‐likely case for retrospection, Gudrun, which occurred in the midst of a mandate period and without wide‐ranging media coverage, to examine intermediate‐term punishment for poor policy response. In so doing, I draw on political theory of democratic identification to propose a mechanism that is new to the retrospective voting literature on natural disasters and that explains change in vote support. I find considerable retrospective effects that capture the largest ideological block‐transfer of voters in Swedish history, the most important factor determining the election outcome, making Gudrun a significant piece of missing evidence in the tale of the historical 2006 regime shift.

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Research on Strategy and Policy of Urban Integrated Flood Disaster Risk Management in China

Song HAN1, Xiaotao CHENG and Jing WANG

Department of Water Hazard Research, China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, Beijing, China

In recent decade, urban flood situation is becoming more and more serious as China’s rapid urbanisation. By the end of 2012, China’s urban population had accounted for 52.57 per cent of the country’s total population. However, China’s urbanisation rate was only 19.39 per cent in 1980 and 36.22 per cent in 2000. China has 661 cities with a municipal people’s government, of which 129 cities with urban population more than one million. Since 2006, more than 100 cities in China had been inundated in flood waters every year, in particular, 258 cities inundated in 2010.

In this paper, the research on strategy and policy of China’s Urban Integrated Flood Disaster Risk Management (UIFDRM) was carried out based on domestic and overseas experiences. According to flood risk analysis theory, Risk Triangle consists of three elements, which are hazard, exposure and vulnerability, then regulation and control measures, adaptation measures and emergency measures were comprehensively proposed as counter-measures to these three risk elements and a combination of them. The counter-measures mainly include:

  1. To increase investment in construction of urban flood control system;
  2. To strengthen cooperation among the relevant government departments;
  3. To make sustainable planning of urban flood control system;
  4. To enhance water and land use management based on risk analysis; and
  5. To develop scientific flood emergency plans.

Moreover, it is necessary to promote “low-impact development” in urban areas, and it is urgent to enhance management of underground works and other weak flood control works during flood periods.

In order to promote strategy and policy of UIFDRM, several good recommendations were also presented, including:

  1. To enhance integrated management of urban and rural area;
  2. To improve flood control organisation system to adapt rapid urbanisation;
  3. To raise the public’s awareness of flood risk;
  4. To ensure stable investment in urban flood control; and
  5. To carry out research of UIFDRM.

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Community-led Disaster Risk Management: a Maori Response to Otautahi (Christchurch) Earthquakes

Christine M. KENNEY1, David M. JOHNSTON1, Douglas PATON2, John REID3 and Suzanne R. PHIBBS4

  1. Joint Centre for Disaster Research GNS Science/Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand
  2. School of Psychology, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia
  3. Ngai Tahu Research Centre, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
  4. School of Health and Social Services, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

Since September 2010, a series of earthquakes caused widespread social, financial and environmental devastation in Christchurch, New Zealand. Anecdotal evidence suggests that local Māori responded effectively to facilitate community recovery and resilience. Cultural technologies that are protective in times of adversity have previously been noted in Māori communities, but rarely documented. An ongoing research project conducted in partnership with the local Christchurch Iwi (tribe) Ngāi Tahu, is identifying and documenting the ways Māori cultural factors have facilitated disaster risk reduction and management in response to the earthquakes.

Research Design
A qualitative research methodology (Te Whakamāramatanga), based on Ngāi Tahu values, and practices has shaped the community-based participatory research design. Māori research participants are recruited purposively and through self-selection. To date the researchers have conducted semi-structured interviews with 43 Māori research participants. Culturally relevant (dialogical and narrative) interviewing approaches are used to gather research information and facilitate trusting relationships between researchers and local Māori communities. Community engagement is fostered, as well as capture of Māori understandings and practices associated with risk reduction and mitigation, disaster preparedness, response and recovery. Data analysis draws on social and risk theories as well as indigenous epistemological concepts. Initial data analysis suggests that within the New Zealand context, Civil Defence Emergency Management policies and disaster risk reduction practices may be enhanced by the respectful integration of pertinent Māori knowledge and strategies.

Ngāi Tahu has a statutory governance role in the Christchurch rebuild as stipulated in the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority Act (2011), and relational links with the New Zealand government and local authorities. Accordingly, information arising from data analysis, tribal knowledge, and Māori emergency management practices documented during the project is shaping development of contextualised risk reduction and disaster management strategies at urban and regional levels. Upon project conclusion, research results and recommendations will be disseminated to Iwi (tribes) and key stakeholders to facilitate Māori disaster management capability, and disaster preparedness, risk reduction, and recovery planning throughout New Zealand. The researchers anticipate that lessons learned from this research may have relevance for other small island states and/or countries with indigenous populations that have similar value systems and bodies of traditional knowledge.

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