- Date: 22 Jun 2012
- Time: 10:00 - 1:00 pm
- Organizer: University Consortium for Small Island States
- Theme: Improving resilience and disaster preparedness
- Perspective: Small Island Developing States
- Language: English
- See Keynote Speaker
- See instructors
Reducing the Impacts of Disasters on Sustainable Development in SIDS
SummaryThe course addresses the challenge of reducing disaster risk within Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
The subject of the course is important because most SIDS are threatened by extreme weather events and sea-level rise, both of which are affected by climate change. Some SIDS are also vulnerable to seismic hazards including tsunami. Natural disasters often have an impact of a devastating magnitude to the GDP of the affected SIDS, such as the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, the 2004 Hurricane Ivan and the 2010 Earthquake in Haiti.
Although such losses profoundly affect person lives and the development of their countries, actions can be taken nationally and locally to reduce the risk to disasters, even for the poor. The course looks at ways in which SIDS, which often have limited options for Disaster Risk Reduction may be able to reduce their risk and increase resilience to these events. There will be a presentation by the two lecturers followed by an exercise on two cases drawn from real events.
IntroductionMost SIDS are affected profoundly by disasters which can lead to loss of life, destruction of property and erosion of livelihoods. The economic and social impact of disasters in SIDS is among the world?s highest. The events can be devastating, causing loss of life and economic impact of over 100% of GDP. Additionally, the repeated effect of many events over time profoundly affects SIDS ability to develop. SIDS are vulnerable to anthropogenic hazards and predictions indicate that the severity of meteorological hazards will increase due to climate change. With few exceptions, SIDS are located in hazardous locations. The majority of SIDS populations and infrastructure, including the majority of vital civil infrastructure pertaining to health and transportation, are located near the coast or on flood plains. Small size limits the options that island populations have in terms of hazard avoidance or relocation. Significant proportions of SIDS populations are vulnerable to hazards because of poverty or because the country they live in has a small economy or Governance mechanisms that are overwhelmed by relevant events.
Despite frequently occurring hazards and their vulnerability, it is possible to reduce their Disaster Risk in SIDS by reducing exposure or vulnerability for non-anthropogenic hazards. Sound physical and economic planning can reduce disaster risk and save individuals and countries money and protecting lives and livelihoods. The course reviews the options available to SIDS to reduce disaster risk and indicates the needs they have, and reviews examples of actions taken and lessons learned.
This course is given by instructors of the University Consortium of Small Island States (UCSIS). The mission of UCSIS is to enhance the capacity of graduate education institutions in small island states by facilitating the development of the institutional and systemic capacity needed to implement the Barbados Programme of Action (BPoA). The members are The University of Mauritius, The University of Malta, University of Las Palmas de Gran canaria, The University of Seychelles, The University of the South Pacific, The University of the US Virgin Islands and the The University of the West Indies.
ObjectiveThe objectives of the course are:
? to increase the awareness of how the various factors of risk (Risk = Hazard x Exposure x Vulnerability) are expressed in Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
? to increase awareness of the physical, social and economic factors that increase risk in small islands
? to explain the factors that limit choice with regard to options to reduce Disaster risk
? to discuss the various options open to SIDS to reduce disaster risk and move towards sustainable development.
2. Objectives of the Course and schedule
3. Overview of the hazards affecting SIDS
4. Impacts of disasters on SIDS
5. Affects on Sustainable Development
6. Reduction of Impacts
7. Policy and planning
8. Interactive discussion
9. Analysis of two cases
10. Simulation exercises
MethodThe two instructors will present background material using audio visual presentations based on their research and real-life experiences of cataclysmic events with SIDS. Two cases will be provided and used as exercises by small groups to analyse and make presentations to the class.
The participants will be divided into at least two groups depending on numbers. One group will look at national policy level and economic factors while the second group will evaluate the case from a community and local level. The case studies will be based on real-life examples of events and the participants will be asked to analyse them indicating factors that increased risk and to indicate actions that could be taken or should have been taken to reduce risk levels.
ImpactThe person who attends this course will be able to:
1. Explain the main ways in which disasters undermine sustainable development in islands;
2. Explain strategies that may improve the resilience of islands to different hazards.
3. Demonstrate an appreciation of the factors that constrain resilience in SIDS
4. Describe the characteristics of SIDS that subject them to high disaster risk.
5. Describe advantages that SIDS possess in disaster risk management
6. Discuss the role of policies and physical and economic planning in reducing disaster risk.
It is hoped the course will be attended by policy makers and community leaders.
His Excellency Mr. Rolph A. Payet, Minister for Environment and Energy, Government of Seychelles and Vice Chancellor of University of Seychelles Professional background: International policy expert and researcher on environment and island issues, including sustainable development, biodiversity, climate change, energy, and international environment policy. Founding member/trustee of the Global Island Partnership, the Sea Level Rise Foundation, the Seychelles University Foundation, the Seychelles Centre for Marine Research and Technology, the Island Conservation Society and the Silhouette Foundation.
Dr. Franklin McDonald, Technical Advisor at the Disaster Risk Reduction Centre of the University of the West Indies, University belonging to UCSIS (and Visiting Scholar at the School of Administrative Studies of the York University in Canada)
Professional background: Risk Reduction and Disaster Preparedness expert with focus in Caribbean and Global programmes related to Hazard Assessment, Risk Reduction, Natural Resource Management and Environmental Conservation.
Dr. Eberhard Weber, Senior Lecturer at Faculty of Science, Technology & Environment at the University of the South Pacific (University of South Pacific belonging to the University Consortium of Small Island States (UCSIS))
Professional background: Specialist in Social Vulnerabilities in the Pacific Islands with focus on social impacts of natural disasters, climate change and food security. Leader of the Asian Pacific Network on Global Change Research project ?Vulnerability mapping as policy tool in developing countries?.