Understanding disaster and climate change resilience to enhance resilience decision-making across scales-insights from the Flood Resilience Alliance

14:00 Wednesday 29 May

SP030

Room S6

 

Finn Laurien (Austria) 1; Reinhard Mechler (Austria) 1

1 - IIASA

Given increasing attention placed on strengthening disaster and climate resilience in international humanitarian and development work, there is a growing need to invest in its measurement and the overall accountability of ‘resilience strengthening’ initiatives.The Flood Resilience Measurement for Communities (FRMC) framework, which includes a fully operational, integrated measurement tool, takes a systems-thinking, holistic approach to serve the dual goals of generating data on the determinants of community flood resilience, and providing decision-support for on-the-ground investment. The FRMC has already been applied in over 100 communities worldwide; it has since been refined and application in a further cohort of communities has commenced including European countries like UK, Montenegro and Albania. The purpose of this session is to present four lessons how ‘resilience strengthening’ initiatives help to inform local to global decision-making on resilience.

The first presentation introduces the work by the Flood Resilience Alliance performed along the science-practice interface. The authors particularly focus on transformational risk management and examine whether and how transformation plays out with regard to relevant decision-making scales and how any insight generated may inform disaster and climate resilience as well as climate policy.

The second presentation shares experiences from practice how communities have respond to negative consequences. It highlights how understanding changing hazard profiles, prioritising different hazards, understanding implications for livelihoods and well-being are all essential components of effective resilience-building approaches.

Presentation three proposes a holistic metric and approach to understand flood resilience capacity and underlines the need for more conceptually standardized measurement of resilience. The talk builds on cluster analysis done on community resilience baseline studies implemented using the FRMC framework and data collection tool across 118 communities worldwide

The fourth presentation provides first results from a comparison between urban and rural communities were the FRMC tool has been applied. Based on the empirical findings and an literature review the current challenges and knowledge gaps in measuring urban resilience are highlighted.

The fifth talk examines the processes and mechanisms by which decisions about flood risk reduction in urban areas are taken and implemented. It develops a four-layer, multilevel framework for Urban Flood Risk Governance. The framework, informed by insights from urban flood risk governance analysis in the UK can be used for investigating what drives resilience in different temporal phases and with respect to influential catalyst actors/institutions.

Target audience

The session targets researchers, practitioners and decision-advisors working on and interested in:

  • monitoring, assessing and acting on resilience and adaptation,
  • learning from experiences and best-practice solutions on resilience across the science-society-practice interface,
  • understanding current and future work of the Flood Resilience Alliance and opportunities for engagement.

Proposed format for the session

The session is organised as plenary presentation with audience interaction. A short introduction to the session will lead into 4 shorter presentations (10 mins plus short technical questions), which then sets the stage for engagement with the audience around the 4 key lessons presented and any other relevant discussion items.

Contributing Authors abstracts

1. Reinhard Mechler, IIASA – Understanding the role of transformational risk management-insights from the Flood Resilience Alliance community cases

Risk management is seeing increasing attention in responses to disasters linked to natural hazards and climate change.Analysis including IPCC reviews have emphasised the role of learning, such as experiential learning, adaptive management and transformational learning.Risk management and policy can accordingly be broken down into incremental, fundamental and transformational interventions. Particularly,transformational risk managementis increasingly debated. Options under this rubric exhibit substantial overlap with interventions of disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation, yet may be focused further on avoiding and managing intolerable risks that touch on hard and soft limits, for which IPCC’s recent SR15 provides first evidence. While frameworks and concepts for transformation in the risk space have been put forward, there is little reported evidence at the level of implementation. We examine recent resilience practice by the NGO partners of the Flood Resilience Alliance across about 10 countries in the Global South enhanced by a number of expert interviews to categorize flood risk interventions summarized in a ‘Solutions Catalogue’. We particularly study the types and (perceived and actual) levels of risk targeted by interventions planned and implemented, the types of risk management and governance processes set up with relevant stakeholders as well as the learning generated.

2. Colin McQuistan, Practical Action: ZFRA – A partnership for disaster and climate change risk management; showing the limits of adaptation and the long-term process to reduce impacts

Poor communities around the world are facing increasing challenges from climate change, not only how to respond to the negative consequences but also how to adapt to the opportunities presented.This talk will share experiences from three countries across the globe (Nepal, Bangladesh and Peru), where climate change adds additional layers of complexity and uncertainty to individual, household and community decision making processes. The session will highlight how understanding changing hazard profiles, prioritising different hazards, understanding implications for livelihoods and well-being are all essential components of effective resilience-building approaches. But adaptation and resilience building must be coherent across multiple scales, so resilience assessment methodologies must not only provide information for local decision-making but should inform influencing so that communities can seek coherent support from local and national governments through evidence-based advocacy.

3. Finn Laurien, IIASA – The FRMC framework and tool. Dynamic cluster analysis for informing resilience decision processes

Given increasing flood risks worldwide driven by population growth and values of assets at risk, as well as changing climate patterns there is growing demand to better understand needs for and benefits of building disaster and climate resilience. A rigorous, data-driven approach for evaluating measures to enhance disaster resilience can inform efforts of policy, practice and finance. To this effect, the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance developed a holistic framework and approach for measuring community flood resilience in developing and developed countries – the Flood Resilience Measurement for Communities (FRMC). This presentation provides a summary of a cluster analysis of community baseline studies implemented using this framework and data collection tool. The analysis presents a typology of community flood resilience across 118 communities worldwide. Our analysis finds that uniformly low or high capitals cluster together in communities, i.e. we either find very low resilience levels across all five capitals (financial, human, natural, physical or social) or very high resilience levels. Our findings corroborate the importance of devising a holistic metric and approach to build flood resilience capacity’ they also underline the need for more conceptually standardized measurement of resilience to inform best-practice interventions with community stakeholders and influence policy across scales.

4.  Viktor Roezer, LSE: Measuring flood resilience at the urban level – insights from the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance project

With an increasing flood risk in urban areas driven by a growing urban population and continuous settlement in flood-prone areas in combination with changing climate patterns, there is a growing need for cities to become more resilient to flooding. With the Flood Resilience Measurement for Communities (FRMC) framework and operational tool the ZFRA has developed an empirical approach to measure and validate flood resilience on the community level. Initially designed in the context of rural communities in developing countries, the FRMC tool has been applied to over 100 communities globally.

This paper presents first results from a comparison between urban and rural communities were the FRMC has been applied. Based on these findings and an extensive literature review current challenges and knowledge gaps in measuring urban resilience on the community level are highlighted. Using the example of an urban case study in the U.S., insights are presented on how the FRMC can be adapted for the application in an urban OECD setting.

5. Sara Mehryar & Swenja Surminski, LSE – Urban Flood Risk Governance: Decision Making Process, Temporal Phases, and Catalyst Actors

Building flood resilience requires an integrated and adaptive approach, which is not without challenges. This study investigates the underpinning of flood resilience decision processes for the urban level and the catalysts for a more resilient outcome. Urban Flood Risk Governance (UFRG) refers to the process and mechanisms by which decisions about flood risk reduction in urban areas are taken and implemented. Decision processes in UFRG can be categorized with respect to different stages and temporal phases of decision making (i.e., mitigation, preparation, response, and recovery); they can also be distinguished regarding different categories of decision makers involved (households, policy-makers, and private sectors), and institutions that organize actors’ decision making (i.e., formal and informal rules and norms). This study draws on interdisciplinary literature review and insights from urban flood risk governance in the UK to establish a multilevel UFRG conceptual framework. The four-layer framework developed can be used for investigating what drives resilient UFRG in different temporal phases and with respect to influential catalyst actors/institutions. It can also serve as a basis for developing agent-based models to simulate potential resilience trajectories including assessments of policy effectiveness in terms of their long-term environmental as well as socio-economic influences.