Last week DRI partnered with the Global Risk Forum for its 4th annual Conference on Community Resiliency. The conference was a great success due to the efforts of Global Risk Forum, Virginia Tech, and the engaged participants.
DRI’s Director of Global Operations, Chloe Demrovsky, was one of the panelists for the discussion on public-private partnerships for “Building the Critical Infrastructure for Resiliency,” the main topic of the conference. “Resilience is a broad-reaching goal that requires action from both the private and public sectors”, she says, “It needs to be addressed on multiple levels including grassroots, national, and international. This conference was a terrific start.”
According to Demrovsky, conference panels featured a wide range of qualified professionals from engineers to risk managers to business continuity professionals to sociologists, all brought together to answer the central question: what makes communities resilient?
“There are many ideas about how to address this important issue,” she says. “A key component is building a culture of resiliency in which issues of sustainability and resilience are a familiar topic of discussion within communities before a hazardous event occurs. Habits take a long time to form and it is essential that individuals and organizations think about preparedness in advance. The messaging may take time to permeate the community and it may also take a while to establish the best form for adoption. One interesting comment brought by Keith Shaw, a Professor of Politics at North Umbria University in Newcastle, UK, is that the word ‘sustainability’ is viewed negatively by lower-income communities in northern England and Scotland, but that the term ‘resilience’ did not meet with the same resistance. Certainly it is important to frame the argument in terms that are acceptable to communities.”
Says Demrovsky, “Because disasters tend to transcend national borders, it is at the international level that policy must be established. Making resilience a priority is essential for establishing the follow-up to the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), which is a 10-year plan to make the world safer from natural hazards including climate change. Disasters have a way of washing away the hard-earned progress of economic development. It is for this reason that in addition to the creation of HFA2 for 2015-2025, resilience should be a priority in the next round of Millennium Development Goals released by the United Nations.”