At the Global Network of Civil Society Organisations for Disaster Reduction (GNDR), we believe that policies, plans and activities that aim to build the resilience of communities should be informed by the priorities of those most at-risk. Local people have critical knowledge on the risks they face and only when this is utilised will policies, plans and actions to build resilience be effective.
GNDR started its Views from the Frontline programme in 2009 to highlight the views of the most vulnerable and marginalised populations. We mobilised our network of civil society organisations around the world to conduct quantitative and qualitative surveys to collect local actors’ perspectives of progress against the targets of the Hyogo Framework for Action, UNISDR’s global policy framework to reduce disaster risk. What we found at the local level was a very different picture from what was being reported by national governments.
Where many national governments reported a reduction in losses, local actors reported that impacts on their lives and livelihoods were increasing. One of the reasons given for this was weak local governance capacities. Without local governance mechanisms, policies were causing ‘clouds but little rain’, failing to have an impact at the local level. Highlighting this ‘implementation gap’ led to discussions at the global level about how to ensure that the impacts of global development frameworks were felt at the local level, and calls for further monitoring of local voices. As a result, GNDR and its members have been undertaking the community consultation process at regular intervals since 2009, learning and evolving from each round.
Between 2014 and 2018 GNDR implemented Frontline, which shifted from asking local actors about progress of the UN framework targets, to more open-ended questions about their priority threats, consequences of those threats, the actions they thought were needed, and the barriers they were facing in reducing risk. This allowed communities to raise issues not necessarily falling within the definition of ‘natural hazards’ but take a more holistic perspective to risk to include threats related to climate change, poverty, and instability. In particular, respondents from the most marginalised groups discussed the need to prioritise small-scale recurrent threats that are unreported and unsupported. Following awareness raising, these ‘everyday disasters’ became a focus for intergovernmental bodies such as UNISDR, featuring in the Global Assessment Reports for DRR and the new Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. Furthermore, the Frontline programme shifted from just collection of data, to also supporting different actors to use the data. Local action planning took place in communities using the Frontline data; national advocacy by CSOs influenced their governments to change policies and plans to incorporate the data; and coalitions were established to identify shared objectives emerging from the evidence.
VFL 2019 aims to strengthen the inclusion and collaboration between at- risk people, civil society and governments in the design and implementation of policies and practices to reduce risks and strengthen resilience. This is done by measuring and directly implementing actions to support progress towards achieving an inclusive ‘people centred’ approach to resilience-building. All the global development frameworks refer to the importance of including local actors; however, this is not monitored in the targets of global the frameworks. VFL 2019 therefore fills this gap by providing complimentary monitoring, baseline and data to help guide actors to more effectively achieve the targets of the post- 2015 development frameworks, especially the SFDRR, strengthening the accountability of governments, intergovernmental agencies and all other stakeholders to local communities and their resilience priorities.
VFL 2019 is a three-year programme of work structured around three components:
- Collection: Local civil society organisations are mobilised to conduct surveys and consultations with local communities, local civil society organisations and the local government authorities, recording their perspectives on risk and resilience. These are aggregated in an open-source database which can be disaggregated by country, community, age, gender, disability and other factors.
- Reflection: Analysing trends and reflecting on data to draw out key findings about local risk and resilience.
- Action: Actions at the local, national and global level to use the data to inform better resilience-building.
Views from the Frontline 2019 will collect perspectives around three themes:
- Risk Profile: Including their priority threats, consequences, actions and barriers; how losses are changing over time; threats in 10 years’ time
- Inclusive Risk Governance: Including the extent to which communities are included by different actors in assessment, planning, implementation and monitoring risk
- Enabling Environment: Including the extent to which resources, capacities, legislation, leadership, policy coherence and other factors are contributing to the inclusion of local actors in resilience building
It will then support reflection and action at different levels:
- Local: Communities are provided with technical and financial support to use the data to plan and implement much-needed local resilience-building actions.
- National: National multi-stakeholder workshops are organised to identify shared objectives and joint accountability, including to design DRR strategies that are informed by the findings. Toolkits and trainings are provided to civil society organisations to help them jointly advocate for changes in national policy and practice using the VFL data as evidence.
- International: Data and findings will inform global policy-making instruments by feeding into the monitoring of the SFDRR, the Paris Agreement, the Sustainable Development Goals, the World Humanitarian Summit and the Urban Agenda. In particular, it will set baselines of progress on ‘people-centred’ resilience.
Interested to know how did we select who to survey. Read more about our sampling methodology.