Large metropolitan cities are not just vulnerable to major disasters, but struggle with complicated daily risks. These compromise their ability to deal with natural and climate change hazards. They also have an impact on the resilience of the community as a whole. Such attention to urban risk reduction was gaining importance even internationally with UNISDR’s ‘making cities resilient campaign’.
Community-led initiatives are often the most effective in solving local problems. In fact, a large number of citizen-based institutions already exist at the district level. Yet, despite this, awareness and action remain limited on risk reduction issues.
How we helped
The ‘forum’ concept was a micro-level, multi-stakeholder initiative to help bridge this gap. It aimed to bring the community of specific areas together to identify, assess and engage with these issues. The idea was that it will create concrete links with ongoing development programmes and national policies.
Through partnerships with different donors, SEEDS attempted to pilot this in eight urban areas across the country. Of these, five began taking shape. In Mussoorie with Save Mussoorie; in Dharmshala with The Risk Analysis and Mitigation Preparedness Society (RAMPS); and in East Delhi with the Purvi Dilli Apada Prehari (PDAP), forums were formed complete with bye-laws and constitutions. The Villupuram Forum (Kandamanglam Disaster Awareness Forum) and Neemeli (Neemli Disaster Management Forum) also saw some movement.
Over the programme period, SEEDS continued to engage with these groups. We built capacity on DRR and CCA concepts; provided leadership and accountability trainings; and helped build relationships between the forums and government line departments. The forums act as a collective learning hub for varied stakeholders.
As part of the initiative in East Delhi, a children’s platform was also established with students elected from six schools across the district. Disaster management plans were created for each of these schools; helping reinforce the government’s national school safety programme. The children’s platform also began playing a core role in the main district forum – PDAP. The East Delhi forum went on to successfully establish links with local government authorities and actively push forward the risk reduction agenda.