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23 Apr 2016

Building Resilience to Disasters and Climate Change: Pathways for Adaptive and Integrated Disaster Resilience in Indonesia

Riyanti Djalante, July 2013
Macquarie University

Disasters caused by natural hazards and climate change impacts are occurring more frequently, and are becoming more costly than ever before. The causes of vulnerability to disasters are socially, economically and environmentally intertwined and result in differentiated impacts across regions and social groups. Disasters are also becoming more complex and uncertain because of the interactions between increasing populations, poorly planned urbanisation and economic developments, and environmental degradation. The acceleration of climate change is expected to increase the frequency, magnitude and severity of hydro-meteorological disasters, and this in turn will lead to exacerbated impacts of such events. The increasing complexities of global environmental and socio-economic change and the interconnectivities between processes at global, regional and local scales requires greater nation and community resilience to disasters.

While there has been a proliferation of research on socio-economic resilience to disasters and climate change, a better utilisation of the concept of governance within disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) as part of an integrated analysis is urgently required. The research presented in this thesis aims to identify and examine governance strategies that can better support the integration of DRR, CCA and adaptive governance (AG), in policy and practice, in order to build the resilience of nations and communities. Resilience is used as the overarching theoretical concept for linking the different areas of work on DRR, CCA, and AG. DRR is a systematic approach for risk reduction, while CCA needs to be integrated to DRR for more effective climate-risk reduction activities. Integrating the characteristics and processes of AG into DRR and CCA helps to address increasing complexities and uncertainties, through greater capacity, and more flexible and learning-based governance approach. The theoretical analysis examines the relationships between resilience and DRR, the conceptual development of DRR and CCA integration, the relationships between resilience and AG, and proposes framework and pathways for ‘Adaptive and Integrated Disaster Resilience’ (AIDR).

The research is framed by a multi-disciplinary analysis that includes areas of research of disaster studies and humanitarian practice, social-ecological, and environmental management and governance studies, developed within the discipline of human geography. The research combines theoretical research with a case study of Indonesia to examine the progress in building resilience, progress and challenges in integrating DRR and CCA, the role of multi-stakeholder platform in DRR as an innovative approach for AG, and how a proposed framework and institutional strategies or pathways for AIDR can be implemented in practice. Indonesia is selected as a case study because it is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to a range of natural hazards and climate change impacts. In addition, the country has also undergone significant transformation in the way DRR is planned and implemented by a multiplicity of organisations at various governance levels. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 53 individuals from 27 key stakeholder organisations engaged in DRR and CCA in Indonesia, to examine the roles and responsibilities of a range of different stakeholders, including government organisations, non-governments (NGOs), community-based organisations (CBOs) and international organisations.

This study finds that progress in building resilience in Indonesia is determined by the development of enhanced institutional and policy frameworks for DRR and CCA, the provision of support from international organisations, and the increasing roles of NGOs and CBOs at the sub-national and community levels. Challenges to the integration of DRR and CCA and community development are mainly caused by institutional segregation of sectoral agencies at the national level and the low capacity
of local governments in planning and implementation. The outcome of the work presented in this thesis is an adaptive and integrated disaster resilience (AIDR) framework. AIDR is defined as the ability of communities or nations to build disaster resilience in an integrated, systematic and adaptive manner. It is an interdisciplinary, analytical and normative framework that integrates resilience, DRR, CCA, and AG to develop a more coherent understanding of the complexities of addressing disasters and climate change effects, and that provides mechanisms to ensure adaptiveness to future complexities and uncertainties.

The research identifies seven institutional strategies or pathways for implementing AIDR in Indonesia: (1) Integrating the agendas of DRR, CCA and development; (2) Strengthening polycentric DRR governance by increasing the capacity of local governments and other stakeholders, and increasing community participation; (3) Increasing multi-stakeholder collaboration through incentives, showcasing benefits and developing umbrella organisations; (4) Improving knowledge and information exchange through comprehensive research plans and data platforms, and the incorporation of knowledge from different sources; (5) Enabling institutional learning through public awareness and education, training and by prioritising disaster preparedness; (6) Fostering self-organisation and networking amongst community groups through providing resources and connecting them with other local, regional, international, and Hyogo Framework for action (HFA) thematic networks; and (7) Comprehensively implementing disaster-risk insurance and finance across regional, sub-national and local levels, and accessing access to DRR funding from multiple sources. An imperative for all of these pathways is to place more attention and resources at the local level – to actively involve local governments, NGOs and CBOs, and to place communities-at-risk at the centre of integrated resilience-building activities. This thesis contributes to theory by examining the linkages between four key concepts, resilience, DRR, CCA and AG, and developing a new conceptual framework for AIDR. A contribution to practice is made by critically analysing knowledge, policy and practice in DRR and CCA in Indonesia, and by identifying progress and remaining challenges in building disaster resilience in Indonesia. By applying the pathways identified through the AIDR framework, this thesis provides a comprehensive and systematic assessment of the processes that enable more effective resilience-building, and identifies more targeted and efficient strategies for the integration of DRR, CCA and development in policy and practice.

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