Building Resilience Through Integrated Practice

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Programme Date: 15 – 20 September 2014  |  IIHS Bangalore City Campus 

In recent times, climate change and disaster risk have become formidable challenges facing India. If the floods in Mumbai, the quake in Bhuj, the Uttarakhand cloudburst and other natural disasters in recent memory have lessons to offer, it is that ‘Business-As-Usual’ is no longer tenable. The likelihood of increased weather extremes in future suggests that the number or scale of weather-related disasters will also increase.  They damage built infrastructure and natural assets, disrupt critical public services and economic activity, exposing livelihoods and human health to a range of discontinuous and longer-term impacts. Disasters undermine very quickly, developmental gains made on several fronts over extended periods of time, including poverty reduction, and improved education and health.

When disasters occur, their impact is deeper on communities and households with low human development, impacting their ability or rate of recovery, or exacerbating their susceptibility to risk. Current planning approaches to development, climate change and disaster management often overlook the magnitude of damage certain populations face because of their continuing vulnerability. Development plans often focus on large, infrastructure-led projects, and tend to exclude vulnerable groups from decision-making processes.  Climate change concerns are a recent addition to the planning portfolio of state governments in India, and are yet to be mainstreamed. The emphasis of disaster risk reduction has been on large, relatively low frequency catastrophic events. Furthermore, small, everyday risks are often as significant as larger, more intense events, since they play a key role in the persistence of vulnerability.

A human development approach enables resilience against disaster risk. Equitable, participatory and sustainable responses to climate change and disaster risk are required. Since the scale and nature of such risks is seldom predictable and often unforeseen, it is important to focus on building resilience to risk among communities, assets and businesses. The building of resilience should have at its heart a concern for human development and a holistic understanding of what it would take to reduce vulnerability.  It is therefore imperative that disaster risk reduction (DRR) plans incorporate the need to reduce people’s vulnerability to climate hazards through appropriate development measures and early warning systems. Similarly, climate change adaptation (CCA) should include exposure and vulnerability reduction approaches, alongside development that strengthens the capacity of communities and households to recover from economic and health shocks.

This course aims to equip urban practitioners to build resilience through the integration of CCA and DRR practice with a human development focus. The objective is to design and implement CCA, DRR and development plans, policies and programmes across different sectors and scales such that they reduce the vulnerability of people, assets (natural and built) and businesses to climate and disaster risks.

Key Takeaways

Perspective-Building and Awareness of Current Planning Processes

  • To gain an understanding of the concepts, vocabularies and current debates in climate change, DRR and human development.
  • To understand the multi-hazard approach to DRR and its convergence with human development and CCA goals, by focusing on risk, resilience and vulnerability.
  • Become aware of the current institutional and governance structures in each of the three sectors.

Tools and Practices for Integrated Resilience Planning

  • Be able to assess critique and respond to existing plans and policy instruments.
  • Be able to use techniques and tools to assess disaster and climate risks, current capacity and vulnerability.
  • Understand mechanisms of financial budgeting, management and resource allocations for transformative development.
  • Be able to explore integrative practices in their own particular area of work and expertise.
  • Be able to design and implement CCA, DRR or development plans, policies or programmes across different sectors and scales such that they reduce the vulnerability of people, assets (natural and built) and businesses to climate and disaster risks
Target Audience

As part of the ‘MHA-USAID and UNDP partnership on Climate Risk Management in Urban Areas through Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation’ project, UNDP has envisioned for this training programme to be delivered to 15-20 municipal officers.  The officers will come from the programme cities of Bhubaneswar, Gangtok, Madurai, Navi Mumbai, Shimla, Trivandrum, Vijayawada and Vishakhapatnam with a possibility of including officers from Ranchi & Silchar.


Amir Bazaz

Amir_bazazAmir Bazaz completed his PhD (with specialization in Public Systems) from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad in 2011. Before joining the Symbiosis School of Economics, he was the National Expert Consultant to the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF), Government of India to the MoEF-UNDP-GEF project on India’s Second National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). His research interests are in the field of Energy & Climate Change, Carbon Markets, Economy-Energy-Environment models, Urban management, Low Carbon Societies and Sustainable Development. His area of interest includes Environmental Economics.

Charis Idicheria

Charis IdicheriaCharis is a senior associate at IIHS, primarily concerned with research relating to urban poverty, vulnerability and work; social protection; and vocational training and education. She holds a Masters in Public Policy from the Hertie School of Governance, Germany, and a Masters in Public Administration from the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, USA. Charis has worked on consulting and research projects ranging from e-governance, service delivery, healthcare, inclusive design and participatory urban planning, to evaluating rural micro-finance and livelihoods schemes. Her career in academics, research and practice draws from experience in 4 continents.

Gautam Bhan

gautamGautam Bhan works on the politics of poverty, inequality and development in Indian cities with a focus on housing, social security, governance and urban planning theory. He co-anchors on-going research at IIHS on ‘Reframing Urban Inclusion’, looking at new theory and evidence on urban equity; projects on violence, the quality of democracy and public space; as well as on-going research on urban evictions.

He co-leads large training programmes on housing for the Government of Karnataka as well as Tamil Nadu, and has extensive experience in adivising public institutions on housing policy including providing inputs to the Rajiv Awas Yojana, the New Delhi Municipal Act, and the National Urban Livelihoods Mission.

Garima Jain

GarimaGarima’s areas of research include issues of vulnerabilities and risks particularly in urban areas, migration, climate change and multi-dimensional urban poverty. She supports the practice team on urban policy projects. She has led several urban policy projects including those on disaster risk for UNISDR, urban poverty for UNDP and overall urban policy support partnership with Rockefeller Foundation. She led in building and delivering capacity building programmes for working professionals on various themes including – Integrated Urban Disaster Risk Reduction, Urban India & Environmental Sustainability, Data Visualisation and Re-imagining the world-class city. She also contributes to the curriculum building exercise for Quantitative and Empirical Methods, Urban Management and Urban Planning. Garima also assists with the project management of the organisation.

She has an extensive experience in planning, research and capacity building. Before joining IIHS, she’s led design and development projects for sustainable community habitats. Garima has worked with the City of Somerville (Massachusetts) as a graduate consultant for analysing existing and designing new parking regulations. She was a part of the London Organizing Committee of Olympic Games (2012), where she helped prepare accessibility & inclusion guidelines and led the accessibility management team in the transportation planning projects.

G Padmanabhan

PadmanabhanG Padmanabhan joined UNDP in 1992, and has been handling the Disaster Management (DM) portfolio of UNDP-India since 1995. Apart from handling the core functions of UNDP in this field, he was closely involved in developing UN’s Tsunami Recovery Framework in India and has a good understanding of the concepts of DM and integrating DRR activities in development. Padmanabhan has been providing advice to Governments of countries in the Asia region on various aspects of Disaster Management. He also served as Deputy Programme Director of an Electricity Network Rehabilitation programme in northern Iraq.

Seeta Prabhu

seeta_prabhuSeeta had a distinguished academic and research career as a professor of Development Economics at the University of Mumbai. She has also been a Visiting Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Oxford University and Erasmus University, Rotterdam. She joined the United Nation’s Development Programme (UNDP) and recently retired as Associate Country Director. She has been an Advisor to the Planning Commission of India, Reserve Bank of India, various state governments, and several bilateral and multi-lateral agencies.

She guided and supported the preparation of over 26 sub-national Human Development Reports in India, which is a path-breaking effort globally, and has also led the formulation of Human Development curricula that have been introduced in several Indian universities including the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration that trains Indian Administrative Service officers. This curriculum has also been adopted by UNDP country offices in Afghanistan, Indonesia and Mongolia.

Somnath Sen

somnathSomnath has more than 23 years of international consulting experience in strategic management, institutional reform and governance, decentralization and urban management. He has managed and led a number of institutional development and strategic advice tasks for governments in South Asia, Africa and China as well as for private sector, bilateral and multi-lateral institutions, and INGOs.

His recent assignments include assistance to the formulation of India’s National Urban Sanitation Policy (NUSP), Sanitation Rating of Class I Indian Cities (2010); air and water pollution study for India Vision 2030 (World Bank/MoEF); impact assessment of World Bank’s rural water investments in India; strategy for primary waste collection in Monrovia; multi-sector monitoring and evaluation for a national public sector capacity building programme in Ethiopia; Economics of Sanitation in South Asia; Service Delivery Assessments for Water Sector; design of Bangladesh’s Urban Governance programme investments; Public Toilets for cities in developing countries, etc.

His clients include multilateral (WB, ADB, UNICEF); bilateral (DFID, GIZ, AusAID, SIDA), INGOs apart from national and local governments. He has extensive field experience in more than 300 districts of 25 Indian states, various cities in India, and provinces/cities in Ethiopia, Liberia, China, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.

Sumetee Pahwa Gajjar

sumeteeSumetee Pahwa Gajjar is Lead – Practice at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) in Bangalore. She is a contributing author of the chapter on Urban Areas in Working Group II’s 2014 Report of the IPCC. At IIHS, Sumetee anchors the IDRC-funded CARIAA (Collaborative Action Research Initiative in Africa and Asia) project, within which IIHS leads the South Asia Region of the ASSAR (Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions) consortium.

Sumetee received her doctorate in Sustainable Development from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, where she extended the application of the resilience framework to corporate sustainability. Sumetee spent 13 years in Cape Town where she pursued post-graduate studies and did consulting and training for the public sector.

Sumetee researched bio-climatic architecture for her architectural thesis. She focused on architectural conservation and heritage projects in her early career in New Delhi and in the US. For her masters dissertation she studied the impact of managers’ disciplinary backgrounds on their approach towards integrated development planning of local municipalities in South Africa.