Caritas India inches closer to Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction 2017

The National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (NPDRR) comes nearly on the heels of Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, scheduled to be held in Cancun, Mexico on 22-26 May 2017. Caritas India partnered with Sphere India for the organisation of pre-NPDRR events, one being ‘Socially Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction – “Leave No One Behind”’, hosted by National Disaster Management Authority and National Institute of Disaster Management, on 20 April 2017, in New Delhi.

Fr. Frederick D’Souza, Director-Caritas India, exhorted the gathering to develop a common understanding of social inclusion; declare organisational policy on social inclusion, and include it at all stages of planning, implementation and monitoring programmes, as done by Caritas India. “One need only to find out the caste/community of the sanitation workers risking their lives going down the manholes around New Delhi, to learn for themselves who the most marginalised and excluded is,” he said.

Lee Macqueen, Advocacy Manager, drew attention to intersectional and intergenerational caste vulnerabilities cutting across gender, age, disability economic and political vulnerabilities, that get magnified in disasters. She recommended the identification of pre-existing vulnerability of communities and need for tailored resilience building programmes for caste discriminated communities. “DRR is a governance issue; and needs to be placed within the broader development paradigm. Thus, it is crucial that communities are able to access quality services to health, education, housing etc. to be able to withstand the effect of emergencies,” she stressed. Additionally, contributing DRR inputs to various other relevant policy frameworks would help achieve risk informed policy directives across sectors.

Caritas recommended three broad steps to operationalising social inclusion in DRR, these are:

  1. Targeting approach to identify the most vulnerable pockets and populations living in hazard prone locations
  2. Empowering with information on rights and entitlements; facilitate their participation in political decision making in DRR;
  3. Transparency in disaggregated data collection to build evidence on communities /groups affected most in emergencies towards tracking exclusion in DRR.

The panel comprising practitioners from a wide spectra highlighted inclusive practices and insights on inclusion of transgender community; sexual and reproductive health rights and services during disasters; child centred DRR; climate change; and animal protection. The output from the National Platform are expected to guide country’s formulation of  national action plans on DRR, and feed into country’s representation at the Global Platform, wherein the international community will review global progress in the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction adopted in 2015.