In the past, Nepal has been able to build substantial capacities to mitigate disaster risks through Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction (CBDRR) projects. There has also been an increasing attention towards School Based Disaster Risk Reduction (SBDRR). However, these efforts have mostly been limited to rural areas. Beside few projects, interventions in the urban areas are very limited.
The 2015 earthquake has laid bare the need to do more on preparedness, understanding existing disaster risk and capacity to manage information (collection, analysis and dissemination) and even more so in complex urban environment.
The project PRAGATI – Promoting Resilient and Sustainable Urban Growth by Augmenting DRR Capacity of Local Authorities through Active Private Sector Involvement is different from other conventional disaster risk reduction projects in many ways. This project, funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO) will be implemented for 18 months till the end of October 2018 in Changunarayan Municipality in Bhaktapur district and Shankharapur Municipality in Kathmandu district, builds on the impressive list of preparedness related interventions so far in Nepal. The project has incorporated the learning and the gaps from the implementation of urban DRR projects. The new learning from this project will also add value on scaling up DRM intervention in the urban areas. More specifically, PRAGATI is designed to address the four-priorities for action of the Sendai Framework (2015-2030). The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction charts the global course over the next 15 years. There are Seven Global Targets of the Framework which has been ensured through the above four priorities for Action.
Led by DCA, PRAGATI Project has brought three agencies together—DCA, ADRA and VSO—pooling together their unique experiences and expertise. A pilot project on Urban DRR for the consortium partners for EC and agencies, it is being implemented by two local partners FSCN in Bhaktapur and NDRC in Kathmandu. Both local partners have their own expertise in the DRR sector. NDRC already has strong reputation in the DRR sector and have implementing various projects with many agencies for the last xxx years. FSCN has established good working relationship based on mutual trust with the Changunarayan Municipality. FSCN engagements in the district began immediately after the earthquake on the response and later through different recovery projects. Recently, with support from DCA, FSCN has successfully completed hazard vulnerabilities and risks survey in xxx households. The household surveys were undertaken through the use of Magpi- a mobile phone application that DCA utilizes which accelerates the assessment process. Furthermore the consortium partners are also complementing the PRAGATI project with other urban projects currently being implemented in the Valley.
The project aims to bring together private sector, government and civil society to improve emergency response and preparedness capacity in the urban areas through three results (see box).
The project will adopt the current rural focused approaches and tools to urban areas with the use of digital technologies and platforms for undertaking risk assessment and visualization tools such as preparation of open street map that is useful for everyone, including the public. The project will continue discussions with various agencies including the academicians and universities for the introduction and application of cutting edge technologies.
Building on the existing national and district emergency operation centers, the project will work closely with the Municipality for the establishment of the Municipality Emergency Operation Centers (MEOC) along with the establishment of the Information Management System within the MEOC. The MEOC will collect risk information from various stakeholders in the municipality in order to utilize it for preparedness and response. The project will support development of Local Disaster and Climate Risk Plan (LDCRP) (at the municipality level – MDCRP) and its integration in local development plans. Along with the risk assessments, the project will also undertake preparation of Risk Sensitive Land use planning (RSLUP). The capacity of MEOC will also be strengthened to provide First Aid and conduct Light Search and Rescue (LSAR). In each of the two municipalities, DRR and Climate Change Learning Center will be established. Similarly, Municipal Disaster Preparedness and Response Plan (MDPRP) will also be prepared in both the municipalities. Many of the initiative above stands out from other DRR/M projects.
More than preparation of plans it is important for the plans to be properly utilized. Therefore, the lesson from the limited utilization of Local Disaster Risk Management Plan (LDRMP) has also been incorporated during the preparation of the project.
PRAGATI will map the potential investments by the private sector in the DRR and emergency response. It will hold dialogues with the private sector in the municipalities including at the national level along with the FNCCI. Similarly, the project aims to integrate Disaster Risk Sensitive Planning in the Tourism Development Plan starting with Nagarkot Naldum Tourism Development Committee. It will hold several dialogues with the different tourism related entities such as National Tourism Board, Hotel Association and Homestay Association. Engaging private sector and tourism sectors in DRR is a unique intervention being piloted through this project.