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Senior Research Fellow
Stockholm Environment Institute
I'm a Senior Research Fellow with the Stockholm Environment Institute – Asia Centre where I lead SEI-Asia’s Research Cluster on 'Reducing Disaster Risk in Asia Pacific'. I'm Co-Leader of the global SEI initiative on 'Transforming Development and Disaster Risk'.
In response to the first comment on the 100 resilient cities and Chief Resilience Officer, we agree that linking up with the 100 RC campaign could be both useful and strategic in order to engage with relevant local authorities and plug into the resilience network here in Bangkok. We aim to connect with Bangkok’s recently appointed Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) and explore options to integrate this project into Bangkok’s resilience strategy supported by 100 RC. Our project aligns with one of the major functions of the CRO by connecting diverse stakeholders: practitioners (CODI), government actors, beneficiaries and the research community. By establishing these connections we can potentially act as a bridging partner to facilitate the inclusion of slum communities into the larger resilience agenda.
We also intend to connect with the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN) to build on lessons learned from their past work on flood risk and resilience in Thailand’s secondary cities. For example, the ACCCRN experience has shown that an iterative process that is designed with both flexibility and adaptability in mind is most effective.
How we have engaged with beneficiaries and what we have learned (question 3):
We met with CODI as a way of testing our idea with those who have good insights into the experiences of slum communities. Through learning more about the work of CODI and the Baan Mankong Network, we were able to better understand the ways they engage with slum communities and the challenges they face in working with them. We mention more about some of the challenges in the questions above.
One of the key challenges relates to linking together different slum communities throughout Bangkok. However, together with slum communities, CODI has succeeded in establishing these inter-slum networks which has supported dialogue and joint action. Therefore, instead of creating a new platform, we agreed that it was more beneficial to work directly with CODI and the Baan Mankong Network. Together, we will spearhead this risk and resilience learning network with the communities they are already working with, bringing in additional slum communities at a pace that is deemed appropriate by all parties. CODI also stressed the need for connecting with high level actors to advance their work and increase impact. We aim to do this by connecting with local and national authorities, for example throught the 100 Resilient Cities campaign and ACCCRN.
Regarding question 2 about innovations and approaches, we're planning to partner with LIRNEasia (http://lirneasia.net), an information and communication technology (ICT) think tank, that has expertise in using ICTs for hazard risk assessment, risk communication, early warning and community preparedness.
Building resilience requires understanding the risks. Intuitively ICTs can be effective in using GIS techniques for mapping and visually analyzing risks. For example, the Sahana Community Resilience Mapping Tool was designed for such a purpose: http://sahanafoundation.org/los-angeles-community-resilience-mapping-tool/. We also plan to use social media messaging parsing and #tag techniques to identify knowledge.
To understand the risks we need data. Gathering data is always a challenge. However, concepts such as play-sourcing, game-sourcing, or gaming are entertaining ways to collect data and at the same time use those methods to send data to make people aware of risks and mitigation practices.
One emphasis is in the use of low-cost ICTs. These are easier to replicate and experiment with. There are tools that can be customized for community development, in this case addressing urban slum issues. Generally, we would consider text-messaging, interactive voice, and mapping as the minimal functions for a community-centered ICT system.
Given that we plan to focus on urban slums, we don't expect any issues with telephony, internet and connectivity, as there is likely to be at least one service provider. The more difficult part is getting people to adopt the ICTs. For this we would suggest a community-informatics model that Michael Gurstein et al promote (see: http://ci-journal.net/index.php/ciej/article/view/383).
Other ICT-enhanced work could involve around considering migration patterns as many urban slum dwellers tend to be migrant workers. Using telecommunications data to understand their behavior may provide insights and policy relevant evidence for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.