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26 Apr 2016

Towards an Integrated Coastal Disaster Management Framework: Bridging Conceptual and Practical Applications Using the Indonesian Legal and Planning Context as a Case Study

Agung Firdaus , February 2012
James Cook University

Events, losses and casualties from natural disasters have been escalating and are predicted to be more severe in future due to population growth, socio-economic development, environmental degradation, and climate change impacts. In response, the new paradigm in disaster management puts more focus on pro active and mitigation action rather than response and recovery. Consequently, risk reduction efforts involve many different aspects of regulations, policies, programs, and stakeholders that create complexity in planning and implementation. Therefore, an integrated approach is a must and is internationally encouraged and set as a priority for global actions. However, the framework to facilitate that integration is lacking. Research on integrated natural disaster management has been both limited and mostly undertaken at a conceptual level.

This research tries to fill that gap, particularly for natural coastal disasters management, using the Indonesian context as a case study. The basic argument underpinning this research is that in addressing coastal disasters, an integrated approach is required between disaster management and coastal management. Integration between those two fields is essential, beneficial, and implementable within existing theoretical approaches, legislation, and planning arrangements. To validate and support that argument, four tasks, that also serve as the research objectives, are set to assess: i) existing theoretical approaches and concepts to support integration and development of a framework, ii) legislation and planning arrangements that support integration, iii) a framework to facilitate integration, and iv) application of a framework to address coastal hazards at the local government level. Quantitative and qualitative methods were applied for assessments to provide multi sources of evidence that include: i) literature review of disaster management and coastal management fields, ii) content analysis of acts and planning documents, iii) spatial analysis of coastal hazard and community vulnerability, iv) semi structured interviews with key stakeholders, and v) direct field observation.

Assessment of the literature revealed that both disaster management and coastal management are driven by concerns for sustainability. Both share many similarities within their objectives, community participation, and approaches that can be used to initiate integration. Both fields conceptually apply a cyclic adaptive planning process that is implemented using strategic and operational plans. In the legal context, Indonesian Disaster Management and Coastal Management Acts have many similarities in their planning processes that encourage integration. However, they also exhibit differences in planning document types that need harmonization to effectively implement the acts. Each act also contains limitations that require integration to successfully address coastal disasters. Spatial limitations are apparent for the Coastal Management Act that use subdistrict boundaries as delineation. For the Disaster Management Act, there is a limitation to address detailed activities such as coastal habitat preservation and community empowerment. Further support was obtained from findings of assessment of existing disaster management and coastal management plan documents. Both planning documents, at national, provincial and local levels, cannot address coastal disaster issues alone.

Findings on the application of the framework at Semarang and Pekalongan provide empirical evidence for integration. It revealed that coastal inundation and community vulnerability distribution do not match with existing boundaries of coastal areas as regulated by the act. Existing planning documents at the national and provincial are fragmented and are also minimal in addressing the issue, where in Semarang and Pekalongan mostly focusing on structural mitigation such as drainage and dam construction. Community vulnerability factors are multidimensional and cannot be addressed by only a single document. The framework application puts the inundation and vulnerability issues in a broader context where disaster management and coastal management plans play a key role together with other sectoral agencies. Application of the framework showed that both long term and short term actions are required to address coastal inundation and community vulnerability. Coastal management plans provide long term policy support within coastal strategic plans and zoning plans that have a 20 years plan period. Five areas of potential integration were also identified that include substantial, methodological, procedural, institutional, and policy aspects.

The framework encourages more assessment of approaches and methods of disaster management and coastal management to facilitate the integration. More discussion and debate have also initiated the move to establish integrated coastal management as a means for implementing coastal hazard mitigation and climate change adaptation simultaneously. The research also indicates several limitations. The inundation assessment is highly dependent on the resolution of elevation data. Different resolutions provide different results and affect management intervention. Vulnerability factors are only constructed from existing available attributes from the census data. Detailed variables could be added to provide more elements of disaster and coastal management. The framework itself assumes that all planning processes are initiated in the same time scale, but in fact they are undertaken in different time frames based on disaster management and coastal management agencies. The effectiveness of the framework also relies on the quality of responsible agencies and its staff to undertake the integration elements, which all respondents identified as the most challenging problem for disaster management agencies, at national and local levels.

This research contributes to different aspects of disaster management and coastal management fields. At theoretical and conceptual levels, the research fills the gap and need of a practical integration framework that at a conceptual level has already been proposed and developed. The integration framework provides a more detailed and in-depth analysis of: i) integration of disaster management into coastal management planning, ii) practical implementation of integrated coastal management principles, iii) integration of disaster management and coastal management within development planning, and iv) the use of integrated coastal management for coastal adaptation to climate change impacts. At a governance level, the research provides a means for government in integrating policies and programs in coastal disaster management. The framework provides a reference for streamlining different regulations, policies and planning in coastal disaster management. At a regional level, the Indonesian case study gives lessons and reference to other countries in addressing coastal disasters. Globally, the research assists in achieving its existing agenda to reduce risk from natural disasters particularly strengthening and improving policy and planning levels.

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