Asia is the world’s most disaster-prone region. In Asia, disasters caused over 45,000 deaths and affected almost 150 million people each year between 2005 and 2014. Affected by almost all types of natural disasters, China shares similar challenges such as geographical diversity, climate variations, rising population and urbanization. Significant efforts have been made to mitigate disaster risks and support recovery and China’s experience can potentially benefit other developing countries in the region.
The UK Government’s Humanitarian Policy commits the Department for International Development (DFID) to working with an emerging group of non-traditional partners to build developing countries’ resilience to disasters. Working with China on regional cooperation in Asia is considered as an opportunity to encourage countries to work together, to discuss solutions to common problems and to exchange best-practices.
The Sharing and Learning on Community Based Disaster Management in Asia Programme (CBDM Asia) is thus designed. The Programme, with a total fund of 6 million UK Pounds, sits under the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the UK and Chinese governments in 2011 and 2015, which established a strategic development partnership between China and the UK to work collaboratively to address global challenges.
With support from the DFID and the Governments of Bangladesh, Nepal and China particularly the China Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Civil Affairs, CBDM Asia Phase I was successfully implemented from October 2012 to June 2015, with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) country offices acting as the programme management agency.
Based on consultations with stakeholders and recommendations from independent evaluation conducted at the end of Phase I, the UK and Chinese Governments agreed to continue the Programme for the second phase. During Phase II (September 2015 to September 2017), CBDM Asia aims to further strengthen the regional cooperation and to build a stronger global network for disaster-prone countries in Asia through peer-learning initiatives on community based disaster management. The Programme also aims to promote the application of knowledge and learning to the improvement of community disaster reduction policies as well as practices.
CBDM Asia Phase I
In collaboration with multiple partners in China, the UK and other Asian developing countries, in particular Bangladesh and Nepal, the Programme, in its Phase I, has made sound achievements in establishing the partnership among the countries, facilitating experience sharing through demonstration communities and exchange activities, establishing research and communication platforms for sharing and learning among different CBDM cohorts.
The major partners for CBDM Asia Phase I include the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MoCA) and the Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research (IWHR) from China, the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR) from Bangladesh, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) from Nepal as well as UNDP Country offices in the two countries, with UNDP China acting as the project management unit. CBDM Asia Phase I has been implemented through the four outputs:
1.Partnership built among UK, China, Bangladesh and Nepal;
2.Demonstration facility established for capacity building and exchanges among communities;
3.Research activities to draw China’s experiences;
4.Information platforms built for sharing and mutual learning.
During Phase I, the CBDM Asia Project organized various thematic exchange activities targeted at different audience, and strengthened the partnership and promoted experience sharing and mutual learning. Policy dialogues, for example, provided a platform for high-level policy makers to exchange ideas and discuss about common problems and solutions. Thematic CBDM Workshop Series brought together government officials, academia, civil society and private sector to expose them to CBDM strategies, technologies, and best practices. Community Exchange Events, on the other hand, supported the peer learning among community practitioners and encouraged the application of new knowledge. In particular, the pilot communities in China shared their knowledge and experiences gained through the activities conducted under the project, such as participatory risk mapping.
Drawing upon the knowledge, expertise and experiences of the participating countries (China, UK, Bangladesh and Nepal), the CBDM Asia Phase I has supported a series of in-depth research activities. Researches have compiled China’s CBDM experiences from various aspects, such as risk mapping, contingency planning and drill exercise, as well as typhoon preparedness. In addition, a software for flash flood risk assessment has been developed with consideration of the needs and potential benefits to Bangladesh and Nepal. The knowledge and experiences generated and compiled by the project are disseminated and shared with other participant countries, in the hope of furthering and enhancing the learning and possible application.
CBDM Asia Phase II
Building upon the experience and lessons from Phase I, Phase II aims to further strengthen regional south-south cooperation in Asia with focus on community based disaster risk reduction. It will continue helping build China’s ability to work internationally and provide opportunities for CBDRR officials/ technical experts/ community practitioners of partner countries to exchange experience and knowledge with their Asian counterparts. The programme will also provide targeted support to community level peer-learning and exchange facilities. More systematic collaboration on DRR research will be organized with sounder information sharing and knowledge dissemination strategies.
Expected impact of the programme is increased resilience to disasters of poor communities in developing countries in the Asia region. The expected outcome is improved regional cooperation on community based disaster management. And output objectives and deliverables are as below:
Output 1: Relevant learning about disaster management practices between China, UK and developing countries in Asia shared to strengthen national resilience through policy/institutional support for national disaster risk management and response planning.
Output 2: Exchanges of practice on community-based DRR enhanced among practitioners and communities.
Output 3: Collaborative research strengthened between research institutes in China, UK and developing countries in the Asia region.
Output 4: Information sharing and service platforms established to facilitate collaboration, learning and coordination around community based disaster risk reduction.