CREATE VCA framework applied in post-crisis recovery

16 December 2013 | Article
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The CREATE vulnerability and capacity assessment (VCA) framework, developed under the BCR project, is receiving increasing interest from the post-crisis economic recovery community.

Between 11th-16th November 2013, Sustainable Development Foundation (SDF) participated in a 5-day workshop on ‘Post-disaster Economic Recovery, Sustainable Livelihood Restoration and Climate Change Adaptation’ organized in Pondicherry, India. The workshop, a collaboration between the UN Asia-Pacific Regional Center, UNDP India and the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Mitigation (BCPR), aimed to enhance practitioners’ understanding of designing, implementing and evaluating economic recovery and sustainable livelihood restoration programs in order to help create a pool of skilled human resources in the Asia-Pacific region.

SDF was invited to the workshop to present the CREATE VCA framework developed under the BCR project. So why is a framework designed for assessing and analyzing vulnerability to climate change of interest to practitioners working in the post-crisis economic recovery community? For many years now there has been an emphasis on trying to ‘build back better’ following natural disasters and other catastrophes such as armed conflict. The premise is that we should not be focused on simply restoring pre-crisis conditions, but rather that during the process of recovery we should take measures to help reduce the risk and impact from potential future crises. To be able to do this, as the emphasis shifts from immediate relief to long-term recovery, practitioners need a way to assess and analyze the internal and external factors contributing to a community’s vulnerability and capacity. It just so happens that the CREATE VCA framework works well in this context.

When we designed CREATE, we knew that assessing vulnerability to climate change required us to take as broad and integrated a view of vulnerability and resilience as possible. It turns out this breadth and integration makes the framework applicable in a wide variety of contexts – from climate change adaptation planning to post-crisis economic recovery,” explained Jonathan Shott, Project Manager and Disaster Management Consultant at SDF.

During the workshop the case of Uttarakhand State in Northern India, where severe floods occurred in June 2013, was used as a case study. A multi-day cloudburst caused devastating floods and landslides in the country's worst natural disaster since the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. As of 16th July 2013, according to figures provided by Uttarakhand Government, more than 5,700 people were "presumed dead." The unprecedented destruction was attributed by environmentalists to unscientific developmental activities undertaken in recent decades. Roads constructed in haphazard style, new resorts and hotels built on fragile river banks and more than 70 hydroelectric projects in the watersheds of the state led to a "disaster waiting to happen". Environmental experts reported that tunnels built and blasts undertaken for the 70 hydroelectric projects contributed to ecological imbalance in the state, with flows of water restricted and streamside development activity contributing to a higher number of landslides and more flooding.

It’s easy to see why the CREATE framework could prove useful in this kind of context – it is just this kind of mix of climate and non-climate factors that CREATE was designed to assess and analyze,” concluded Shott.

Workshop webpage with associated resources: http://www.managingclimaterisk.org/micro_index.php

 


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