Lessons for Resilience
Consider Gender and COVID-19
Featuring a recent blog written by Abbie Winton, Alliance Manchester Business School
A recent TMB (Issue 33) discussed the gendered economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and presented the recommendations set out in the report produce by the Women and Equalities Committee entitled ‘Unequal impact? Coronavirus and the gendered economic impact’. This previous lesson explored how recovery strategies can address impacts, mitigate the reinforcement of inequalities and how renewal initiatives can transform the position of women in the labour market.
The ability to rapidly transition between jobs can support an individual or household to recover from an economic shock, such as the shock delivered by the pandemic. Occupational segregation refers to the unequal distribution of people across and within certain occupations, based on characteristics such as gender or ethnic background. The pandemic has had disproportionate impacts on women’s experience of work, particularly BAME women, as they are more likely to work in low-paying and informal segregated roles, making them more vulnerable to the economic impacts of the pandemic. Therefore, gender, racial and ethnic inequalities are at risk of being reinforced, exacerbated or created.
This week we spotlight a recent think piece written by Abbie Winton, Alliance Manchester Business School, which focuses on gender and food retailing. Recognising how gender segregation is embedded in food retail roles, Abbie looks at how this can change e.g. through improving transport links to enable women to access jobs that are currently located in “hard-to-reach” areas:
Gender and food retailing
Supermarket shopping of old has, perhaps, changed forever with demand for online food retailing soaring during the pandemic, growing 25.5% in 2020 compared to the 8.5% previously anticipated. For most food retailers, trading online has long lacked appeal due to the low margins which it offers. However, the pandemic restrictions prompted retailers to expand their dotcom (online) offering almost overnight to both meet demand and stay competitive during a time when customers were restricted in their ability to do their shopping in-store.
To meet the excess demand all of the major retailers took on additional workers, and today new roles are being created in large numbers in distribution and logistics against a backdrop of slowly dwindling numbers of workers serving on the shop floor. However, also characterising these changes are the historical patterns of gender segregation that persist within the sector, despite men moving into retail roles in recent years. Therefore, we need to be asking not just what the food retail sector is likely to look like post-pandemic, but who is likely to remain working in it.
Segregation of food retail work
The move online and growing use of self-checkouts in-store have in part helped facilitate a reduction in the need for checkout staff. These jobs have long been disproportionately filled by women who needed the ‘flexibility’ to manage work alongside caring responsibilities.
In contrast, there has already been an expansion of new roles in warehousing, logistics and fulfilment which have traditionally been filled by men and demand hours less likely to suit the needs of the household. For example, an analysis of recent ONS (2021) data shows that 67% of employees working on supermarket shop floors are women, a large proportion of whom are over the age of 45. This figure increases to 70% if you look at checkout and cashier roles specifically.
Female employees from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds (as defined by the ONS) are five times more likely than white male employees to be working in checkout roles. In contrast to this, the gendering of employees working in the wholesale of food production (including the supply of these goods to supermarkets) is vastly male-dominated (men continue to hold 78% of these roles). These figures show the embeddedness of gender, and racial, segregation in these roles.
Considerations for the future
Although there have been some reductions in the occupational segmentation of retail roles in recent years, changing demands mean the future of work in food retail is likely to reflect the pre-existing patterns of segregation within the sector.
To avoid exacerbating these inequalities, measures are needed to ensure women and minority groups are equipped to enter into new roles in logistics and distribution. To avoid exacerbating these gender inequalities, measures are needed to ensure women are equipped to enter into logistics and distribution; for example, employee-led flexible working arrangements. To approve accessibility to these roles, policy changes will be required, in order to prevent women and minority groups being disproportionately impacted by job loss and remove current barriers (e.g. the burden of caring responsibilities) that prevent women and minority groups from transitioning into new roles.
Research has also shown that women are more likely to rely on public transport to get to work and thus tend to take jobs that are closer to home and schools. However, distribution centres tend to be located in harder-to-reach areas, making these jobs less accessible to women. Therefore, provisions would have to be made to improve transportation routes to these areas both in terms of accessibility and safety.
Secondly, the ‘pick rates’ (the rate of items ‘picked’ by an employee/hours of work) which dictate dotcom work can often be challenging for disabled and older workers to sustain. Reasonable adjustments will be required where necessary to accommodate these groups. Thirdly, employee-led flexible working arrangements and parental leave could allow for an easier transition into this type of work. Therefore, policymakers and businesses should ensure that the jobs which remain do not reinforce the existing inequalities which are endemic to service work and which have been further exacerbated by the current crisis.
This blog is a short extract from an article within ‘On Digital Inequalities’, produced by Policy@Manchester.
Wider points for gender-equal recovery and renewal
We conclude this case study by considering the wider points for gender equality in economic recovery. Three key policy areas have been identified in a recent statement from the London School of Economics and Political Science, the International Monetary Fund, EU Central Bank, the World Trade Organisation, the United Nations and the EU Commission, to ensure that “economic recovery prioritises women and girls, underpins an inclusive future, and ensures the world is prepared to withstand the next crisis”. Consider:
- How recovery stimulus, employment, and social protection programmes will “get directly into the hands of women”
- How to develop more effective public policy, e.g. approaches to close the gender data gaps as a priority and new mechanisms to “improve monitoring, evaluation and data systems”
- How to reduce the “burden of unpaid care work and support better childcare to strengthen women’s labour force participation”
Consider good practice examples of community participation during COVID-19
TMB Issue 38 discussed the importance of community involvement in tackling disease outbreaks and presented the recommendations set out by the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response. This briefing offers examples of good practice in community participation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Consider:
- Tanzania: local government co-produced infection control measures with business leaders based in markets to integrate leaders’ understanding & knowledge of the challenges of implementing such measures
- Nigeria: the “community informer model” was employed by local authorities for COVID “surveillance, tracing and monitoring” – community informers are key trusted individuals in a community (e.g. faith leaders)
- Pakistan: community volunteers “set up quarantine wards, manufactured and provided free protective suits for medics”, and distributed food to vulnerable people
- India: Community volunteers came together to investigate and identify unknown (“hidden”) COVID-19 fatalities. The volunteer group comprised of expert physicians and data analysts who developed comparisons of official health data and other reports. This encouraged a review of the national death audit process and resulted in improvements in the process so that COVID-19 deaths were accurate and transparent
- USA: Volunteers built a public “Testing Site Locator” app which visualized the geographical location of testing centres to support collection of testing centre-related information and dissemination at the national level. This supported people to locate the nearest available testing centres and also the “health system to plan and distribute centres more effectively”
The pandemic, and previous disasters, have evidenced that communities play a crucial role when preparing for, responding to and recovering from, crisis. Communities and civil societies should be “partners early on in the design, planning, implementation, and assessment of preparedness and response efforts on all levels”, particularly at the local level. We have covered community participation and co-production with communities in various briefings, see TMB Issue 38; Issue 34; Issue 33.
Tanzania, United Republic of,
United States of America
Consider guidelines for planning recovery and renewal
As part of our ESRC funded project on Recovery, Renewal, Resilience we committed to writing the international standard on Recovery and Renewal. We took another step to accomplishing this goal last week when an international ballot voted to accept and publish our international standard ‘ISO/TS 22393 - Guidelines for planning Recovery and Renewal’. ISO/TS 22393 provides a framework for how to assess the impacts of COVID-19 on communities, and address these by planning transactional recovery activities and transformational renewal initiatives. This briefing describes the background to our international standard and gives an insight to the content of this guideline.
An ISO standard aims to “give world-class specifications for products, services and systems, to ensure quality, safety and efficiency”. To so this, it collates the latest research findings, expert knowledge, recent experience from experts, and reaches consensus to provide a detailed, informative document that can be applied in different contexts because all the important aspects are considered. An ISO standard often describes best practice and how that can be achieved.
Follow the source link below to TMB Issue 39 to read this briefing in full (p.3-6).
Consider how COVID-19 has changed people’s future priorities for their communities
The National Lottery Community Fund ‘Community Research Project’ investigated how people’s attitude toward their communities has changed during the pandemic, and identified the priorities for their communities as they emerge from COVID-19. This report demonstrates the opportunity to foster the community resilience realised during COVID as a Local Resilience Capability (LRC). Additionally, the report echoes that although not everyone will want to contribute to building community resilience, there are people who do and they are looking for ways to do so. Consider that:
- “Tackling loneliness and supporting economic growth” are reported as the most important factors for community wellbeing in the next year. Most respondents felt that the crisis brought out the best in people. This was particularly felt by older generations, with a third of respondents reporting that they now feel more connected to (and supported by) their local community
- “Safe and accessible green spaces” are key priorities for communities going forward, with 40% of respondents reporting to have used local green spaces more than they usually would
- 30% of respondents plan to be more involved in their communities, with the most significant benefits being people’s ability to offer support to others in their community, and having people willing to help close by if needed
Consider how to transform public spaces to create more equitable and viable city centres
COVID-19 has seen cities and local areas rapidly change how public spaces are used. In an effort to improve the daily lives and wellbeing of communities during the pandemic cities have implemented changes that were previously thought to be “radical”. How these temporary measures can transition to permanent design is a key renewal strategy in Sydney which is focusing on the vision of a people-centred city that aims to tackle the various social, health and equity challenges that recovery will bring. Their recent study, based on international best practice and data tracking, explains how to look beyond “basic infrastructure and traffic to create a city that people want to live in, visit, work and spend time in”. Consider the renewal recommendations set out in ‘Sustainable Sydney 2050, towards a more attractive and liveable city’:
Create ‘a city for all’
- Co-produce the planning and design of public spaces with the community and stakeholder groups
- Collect “public life data” and evaluate this data to inform decision-making
- Provide welcome spaces, increase facilities for children, close streets off to traffic at lunch time, expand the use of community buildings and ensure free Wi-Fi across the city – to make public spaces “more attractive for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds”
- Support “public art and creative expression” to engage communities in the design of the city
Build a ‘green and cool city’
- Reinforce and drive action in “emissions control, waste, water and greening”
- Expand “tree canopies, biodiversity and the use of shade structures and awnings in public spaces”
- Upgrade transport links between the “city, parklands and the harbour” to improve mobility in and around public spaces
Protect the ‘heart’ of the city
- Transform the currently “traffic-dominated streets to people friendly streets”
- Capitalise on the “Metro, train and light rail infrastructure as the most efficient modes of transport for people”
- Increase walking space and pathways across the city
- Improve the connection of cycle networks to other transport networks (Metro/train) to promote cycling
The strategy also includes long-terms plans for four new “green avenues” which are “arterial roadways identified for transformation with reduced traffic, increased tree plantings and space for people”. A key message in the strategy is that partnerships between “all levels of governments, businesses and the community” is key to transforming cities.
Consider policies that will support recovery and help to build resilience in the small and medium sized enterprise (SME) sector
Support for SME recovery is critical in the aftermath of COVID-19, as SMEs constitute the backbone of economies across the world and “account for two-thirds of employment globally” (UNCTAD, 2021). COVID-19 has exacerbated existing problems and created new ones for SMEs. The OECD report finds that SMEs are disproportionately represented in sectors of the economy that have been most severely impacted by COVID-19 (e.g. retail, accommodation and food services). “Constrained cash flows and weaker supply chains” contribute to SMEs tending to be more financially fragile and more susceptible to supply chain disruptions. Many more examples of the challenges faced by SMEs can be found both in this OECD report and others (e.g. a recent McKinsey report). The OECD report presents 15 lessons on effective policy design, including:
- Prompt delivery of SME and entrepreneurship policy support. This can be supported by strengthening digital delivery systems at both the national and local levels
- Develop start-up policies to drive innovative start-ups for recovery
- “Ensure support mechanisms are inclusive and accessible for vulnerable segments of the SME population” (e.g., minority and women entrepreneurs)
- Focus on the digitalisation of SMEs and start-ups, e.g. incentivise/provide targeted financial support/grants (local governments can sign-post local entrepreneurs and SMEs to support services e.g. Business in the Community/FSB UK)
- Establish measures to consult with entrepreneurs and owners of SMEs, to understand their needs, their priorities, and co-produce recovery and renewal plans with them
Consider “social innovation” in health as a critical component of health emergency response
Social innovations in health and care are “inclusive solutions that meet the needs of end users through a multi-stakeholder, community-engaged process to address the healthcare delivery gap”. They concentrate on local community needs and priorities, strive to establish “low-cost solutions” and build upon the pre-existing strengths in a community. This paper produced by the LSHTM demonstrates how social innovation during COVID-19 has mobilised local communities, adapted existing health services at rapid pace and developed partnerships between local government and civil society. Consider the following international examples of social innovations in health during the pandemic:
- Peru mobilised communities by adapting their ‘Mamás Del Río’ programme which “selects and trains local people as community health workers”. This project adapted during COVID to both ensure the “continuity of maternal and neonatal health services” while also educating and training local people on COVID-19 prevention
- Malawi’s existing free hotline created by local people to provide health advice was scaled up nationally during the pandemic. The government then capitalised on the capabilities of this local service to “triage people with COVID-19 symptoms, identify and refer people at risk of domestic violence, provide health information to the public and gain a greater understanding of local needs”
- The Philippine’s multi-sectoral partnership brings together the “strengths and resources from the private sector, academia, local government and communities”. COVID-19 response was strengthened by these partnerships which enabled rapid deployment of a “hunger management campaign, the establishment of a call centre to manage returning resident’s and a role out of local testing teams”
Social innovation initiatives have proven a “powerful means of mobilising communities to respond to emergencies that can complement and extend government and private sector responses, and in turn build more resilient communities”.
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)
Consider strategies to address core humanitarian issues
The British Red Cross recently shared a report ‘Communities of Humanitarian Thought: The Case for Change in a Time of Crisis’. The report considers the next steps on the following prominent humanitarian issues: Displacement & Migration; Health Inequalities, and Disasters & Emergencies. The report highlights the need for real change for people experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, crisis across various priorities:
- ‘Eliminate the gaps in health and social care’, by employing a person-centred approach to reduce access barriers and prevent people from “falling through the gaps between services”. The inequalities in health and social care exacerbated by COVID-19 require a more integrated approach, along with investment in care and support at the community level
- ‘Ensure humanitarian needs are met in emergencies’, by clearly defining the statutory responsibilities of national government and emergency response organisations, to ensure that they “fully meet the humanitarian needs of their communities”
- Review social protection infrastructure to learn lessons from the pandemic and best practice across the world, e.g. ‘Cash-based assistance in emergencies’, which has shown to deliver a more “dignified response” and enables people to rapidly access the resources they need during crisis
- ‘Provide safe and legal routes for people seeking asylum’, by reviewing domestic policy to ensure that the “end-to-end experience of a person in the asylum system is efficient, fair and humane”. The Sovereign Borders Bill presents an opportunity to evaluate and take action to improve the entire system
- ‘Uphold international law and principled humanitarian action’, by committing to humanitarian action and support for the most vulnerable communities across the world
- Recognise how young people and civil society drive climate action, e.g. the Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change, which strives to amplify youth voices and engage young people in an open and transparent dialogue on climate action
Consider the lessons learned from the inclusion of refugees in social protection systems during COVID-19
A current research project, by the Overseas Development Institute, is examining social protection (SP) measures employed during the pandemic in LMICs. The project is producing a series of working papers. One paper examines the inclusion of refugees in government-led SP and the “alignment and integration of cash assistance to refugees and government social protection”. The paper evaluates the effectiveness of social protection responses across four countries in terms of: “Timeliness; coverage adequacy; and level adequacy (value of benefit)”. It also offers the emerging lessons from the study and initial policy recommendations. Consider:
Lessons on the drivers of effective government social protection response
- The maturity of SP systems and pre-existing local and state capacities directly impacted how effectively SP programmes met the needs of refugees during COVID
- Targeting criteria that evaluates eligibility based on risk of vulnerability could be more effective, timely and suitable during a crisis rather than traditional criteria such as length of residency or status
- Benefit levels of government systems are unlikely to be sufficient for refugees’ needs, as these are typically higher than those of nationals and require very careful consideration. The main challenge identified when setting benefit levels which include refugees during the pandemic is that governments are “faced with two competing objectives: (1) preventing social tension and unfairness between population groups” (by varying benefit levels between refugees and nationals); and (2) “ensuring that everyone can meet their basic needs”
Policy recommendations for protecting refugees during a crisis
- Conduct a national socio-economic survey, to include data on refugees’ needs, to develop an overview of the needs of the population across the country. This can enable more effective social protection programme design that effectively meets the needs of everyone
- A review of registration processes can highlight barriers to access for refugees (e.g. in terms of the documents required to register for programmes). Where this is not possible, governments can “draw on international/national/local humanitarian actors’ databases of refugee populations” to swiftly target them with support during crisis
- Hosting governments could consider “integrating refugees into social insurance” (e.g. those with work permits) which may reduce political or public opposition as those receiving benefits will be contributing to national insurance
- Careful consideration of benefit levels and trade-offs between “politically greater acceptability but possibly lower effectiveness” in terms of meeting refugees needs is essential
Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs)
Congo, Democratic Republic of the,
Consider approaches to co-production which ensure the process is equal, fair and successful
We discussed co-production in TMB Issue 33 and detailed three barriers to co-production during COVID: Pace, Distance and Complexity. The Centre for Loneliness Studies recently developed a toolkit for co-production organised around a cycle of: "Co-commissioning; Co-design; Co-delivery and Co-evaluation/co-governance". This toolkit supports those who want to begin a journey of co-production. It is based on research on co-production with older people who experienced isolation and loneliness. The principles are transferable and useful to anyone thinking about how to do co-production. Consider:
- That co-production can apply to a broad range of contexts (e.g. co-producing service delivery for a city/region/on a national level or co-producing care delivery for an individual). Depending on the context, those involved should agree on what co-production means based on their context. This can be done by:
- Define what co-production means e.g. to your organisation/to the group of people delivering a service/to those using a service
- Agree a statement about what co-production means, to manage expectations and provide clarity on the direction of co-production activities
- Understand individual and group co-production values. This can help to direct work and activities and influence decision-making
- Empower each person involved by working "with people rather than for them"
- Promote equality, e.g. use the term 'stakeholders' to describe all of those involved in co-production to position all participants on an equal footing
- Seek to understand and make use of the skills, knowledge and experience of all stakeholders
- Ensure a diverse group of stakeholders are involved in co-production by considering:
- Which stakeholders should be involved? (including those who represent current and potential future users of services)
- What skills, experience, knowledge and resources are required to support co-production? (e.g. conduct an asset mapping exercise to understand needs)
- How best to ensure a wide variety of stakeholders are included?
- What resources might stakeholders require to keep them engaged?
- How to fairly share power and influence for co-production, e.g. hold regular deliberation meetings so that all stakeholders are heard, use voting systems, and feedback questionnaires
- Following each phase of the cycle:
- Reflect on the experiences of each stakeholder and achievements of the group
- Explore what worked well, the challenges that presented and how learning can be applied in future cycles of co-production
- Identify any skills, knowledge, experience or strengths the group and co-production process could gain from and how to bring those into the process in the future
Consider approaches to strengthen inclusive resilience to disasters at local levels
The Sendai Framework Voluntary Commitment (VC) initiative calls for enhancing governance, including local governance, for disaster response, rehabilitation and reconstruction. A recent commitment on the Sendai VC ‘Strengthening inclusive Resilience to Disasters, boosting sustainable Development’, by the Province of Potenza (PPZ), Italy, is focused on re-assessing, monitoring and reviewing the level of resilience of its 100 Municipalities Network. Consider the following objectives and actions in the PPZ commitment:
- Encourage communication between local governments by maximizing on the ‘Making Cities Resilient (MCR) Campaign’
- “Share on the development and implementation of comprehensive urban disaster risk reduction plans”
- Showcase the value that the Human Security approach adds when implementing the Sendai Framework for disaster risk reduction at local levels
- Highlight local activities that are working to identify and implement innovative measures for disaster risk reduction and are striving to achieve SDGs
- Identify and introduce creative approaches to cooperation on different topics at local levels
- Implement the project using the new Resilience Scorecard through a “city-to-city peer review, based on a multi-stakeholder and holistic approach to disaster risk reduction”
- Collect data for a review and evaluation process of the Sendai Framework at the local level through strategic alignment to local indicators
- Share learning based on cities’ disaster risk assessments, and design a Resilience strategy
- This project is said to have achieved an “inclusive approach to strong community involvement” and developed “a governance-accountability system as a powerful mean for creating the conditions that contribute to change towards resilience”.
You can contact the team working on this project to find out more here
Consider early lessons from the UK government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic
This case study extracts some key points from the UK's National Audit Office report 'Initial learning from the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic'. Read this case study in full (p.13-14) in TMB Issue 38 by following the source link below.
Consider how communities can inform their own local recovery
The city of Napier, New Zealand conducted a wellbeing survey to understand how the community was feeling about the pandemic, its impacts, their concerns and expectations for the future. This survey was then used to inform planning for recovery, renewal and other Council programmes. The Napier Recovery Plan identifies five key initiatives which can address issues for recovery and opportunities for renewal:
- “Support and Celebrate Napier” by launching a “We are Team Napier” campaign which focuses on promoting innovation and achievement in the local economy and within communities, e.g. “Environmental restoration of green spaces” comprising of a community-led partnership with the Council, land agencies and other relevant stakeholders
- Investment in local infrastructure and community facilities, e.g. “3 Waters projects supporting the renewal of Napier’s water supply and strategic water services”, to ensure everyone in the community has access to safe drinking water
- Establish a coordinated approach to housing and accommodation to ensure everyone has access to safe housing, e.g. “Continue partnerships established during Alert Level 4 to provide emergency accommodation” and establish “public-private partnerships to repurpose city centre visitor accommodation for transition and/or permanent residential accommodation”
- Introduce a targeted ‘Jump Start Innovation Fund’ to promote innovation in business and not-for-profit sector. Other initiatives include: Appointing business support liaisons to assist and advise on Napier Council regulations and initiating a “redeployment scheme” for SMEs
- A focus on advancing sustainability within the tourism sector, e.g. establishing a partnership with the Art Deco heritage trust to drive domestic tourism
Consider how COVID-19 could re-shape food supply chains and markets
The pressures placed on the global food system during COVID-19 activated various policy responses across the world to manage supply and demand. Sub-Saharan African countries rely heavily on food imports. This means that international agricultural policy responses to the pandemic in markets on which Africa relies, directly affect the region’s food markets. Potential impacts include “commodity price volatility the availability of supplies and farmers’ planting decisions”. Consider how to address the impacts of COVID and build food system resilience for the future with regard to countries that rely on food imports:
- Design more “holistic policy interventions” which tackle bottlenecks in the vast span of “value chain actors” e.g. suppliers and transporters, traders and retailers, to advance resilience of the entire supply chain
- Invest in market infrastructure, e.g. cold storage systems, to strengthen supply chains of perishable goods
- Establish and increase social protections for particularly vulnerable groups e.g. “urban poor, informal workers and resource-poor smallholder farmers"
- Advance regional and local trade agreements that enable greater food market integration – with the aim of developing resilient domestic and regional food systems, lowering the reliance on importing, and increasing local domestic economic growth
Consider: Recovery and renewal of community resilience: Recovery reinstates preparedness; Renewal enhances resilience
The focus of this week's Manchester Briefing (Issue 38) is the role of the individual in relation to crises and the benefits of public involvement in emergency planning. We discuss how recovery reinstates preparedness, while renewal enhances resilience and consider how Local Resilience Capability can be understood, sustained and enhanced by local government.
Follow the source link below to read this briefing in full (p.3-6).
Consider the early policy lessons for employment
Before the pandemic, the Philippines saw a prolonged period of economic growth and job expansion, with employment increasing, and large numbers of people moving from precarious jobs to more secure employment. COVID-19 reversed these gains, as it did in many other countries that experienced positive labour market growth and expansion. The Asian Development Blog offers five global best practices to address lower employment rates which are predicted to persist even after economies begins to grow again (known as "hysteresis in employment after an acute shock"). Consider the early global policy lessons that have supported people to make labour market transitions:
- Evidence shows that wage subsidies have been the most successful mechanism for protecting employment
- Hiring subsidies should replace wage subsidies, to support the reallocation of displaced workers into secure employment
- Skills funding schemes (e.g. Kickstart UK) are helping to upskill the workforce (e.g. Skillnet Ireland provides local or sectoral networks of at least 30 employers with annual matching grants to fund their short-term training of workers)
- Establish apprenticeship councils to guide and peer review changes to "industry-led apprenticeship programs". The changes suggested include:
- Introducing "progressive salary scales"
- Extend apprenticeship programmes from "6 months to 2-4 years"
- Expand apprenticeship programmes into new industries and "service occupations such as legal, finance and communications"
- Provide unemployment insurance to give income stability and help people transition to new employment. For example:
- Malaysia has a "national pooled insurance fund" which employers and employees make monthly contributions. The government funds "financing gap" which workers qualify for if they are made involuntarily unemployed
- In Chile, employers and employees contribute monthly to "an account in the name of the employee". This is supplemented by the Solidarity Unemployment Fund, which supports employees if they diminish their personal savings accounts. The Chilean scheme doesn't "create contingent fiscal liabilities".
Consider the future of work and how to transform to hybrid working
Working from home became the new normal for various sectors during the pandemic. However, this “pandemic-style” of working from home may not translate smoothly to post-pandemic working. A recent McKinsey survey of 100 executives across various industries and locations found that 90% of organisations intend to adopt a hybrid model of working (a combination of remote and on-site working). However, many organisations have only just begun to consider how this new approach will be integrated into organisational practice, resulting in employees feeling uncertain and anxious. Consider:
- Be transparent and open from the start with employees. If still in the planning stage, communicate the uncertainty of plans for remodelling current working practices
- Be clear on the current expectations of employees considering that their personal circumstances may have changed during the pandemic, and they may not be able to make a swift return to the office (e.g. consider a phased-in approach)
- Support and encourage “small moments of engagement”, which can include coaching, mentoring and co-working
- Reimagine the leadership process in your organisation. Train managers on “remote leadership” and re-evaluate current performance metrics so these represent how employees might succeed when working from home
- Develop new codes of practice (e.g. for online meetings) so that employees don’t always feel they must be available and don’t have to go from one meeting to the next, relentlessly
- Establish new ways of monitoring and evaluating employee attendance and productivity, so that employees don’t feel they need to be constantly logged into their computers to prove they are working. Focus on the work output, and assess if employees have the tools and skills to succeed, before assessing how many hours they spent logged in
- Pilot a hybrid approach that suits your organisational context and is tailored to the needs of specific teams and roles (e.g. evaluate what roles require on-site working)
- Develop new ways of monitoring employee wellbeing
Consider the lessons learned on the role of communities in local pandemic preparedness and response
There has recently been a new spotlight shone on the impact that communities have had on their local response. A key message from the UK’s Integrated Review was the need to build whole-of-society resilience through enhancing capabilities in local resilience (see a recent TMB case study). TMB has often highlighted the renewal of community resilience through building a Local Resilience Capability (TMB Issue 30, as well as Briefing A in this current issue). Communities are being seen in a new light in local resilience.
This has been further identified in a paper by the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, titled ‘Centering communities in pandemic preparedness and response’. This paper emphasizes the importance of community involvement in tackling disease outbreaks and advises of the need to:
- Establish partnerships to work with communities to design, plan, implement and monitor local and national pandemic preparedness and response, for example:
- In Sur, Oman, the city government developed an intervention of response in partnership with civil society (e.g. community sports clubs, the Omani Women Association, youth groups and voluntary organisations). These groups supported activities to “arrange, maintain, and supervise” pandemic response activities
- Improve community engagement through “clear structures and sustained funding”, recognising that continuous effort is needed (not just a one-off effort during crisis). This can help to develop trust between communities and official service providers
- Recognise that risk communication is key to community engagement, and one part of local resilience capabilities: two-way, bi-directional and co-produced communications are essential to understand needs, communicate responsibilities, and gain feedback (see TMB 37 ‘Risk communications as part of the Local Resilience Capability’)
- Community resilience requires a “sustainable framework for community empowerment and recovery”, including:
- “Invest in civic mindedness” to establish a culture of social connectedness and empower communities to take responsibility through co-production to understand risk preparedness, response and recovery
- Establish partnerships between governments and community-based groups/voluntary organisations/businesses to integrate communities into the planning and leadership of interventions that enhance their local resilience
- “Invest in social and economic wellbeing, and in physical and psychological health” to ensure access to health services
Tanzania, United Republic of,
Consider how cities can build resilient infrastructure
A 2019 report ‘Lifelines: The Resilient Infrastructure Opportunity’, published by the World Bank and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), highlighted the net benefits of investing in resilient infrastructure in developing countries (which could save “$4.2 Trillion”). Accelerating resilient infrastructure has recently dominated discussions about recovery from COVID-19 across the world and how this can improve health, education and livelihoods. The report included five recommendations for advancing resilient infrastructure:
- ‘Get the basics right’, through regulation and procurement law to improve management and governance to build resilient infrastructure
- ‘Build institutions for resilience’, to tackle wider “political economy” issues. Identify critical infrastructure assets to inform how resources are allocated
- ‘Create regulations and incentives for resilience’, to account for disruptions to infrastructure and encourage service providers to go further than just meeting their obligatory standards
- ‘Improve decision making’, through improved data, tools and skills (e.g. “digital elevation models” which are crucial to informing investment decisions in urban areas)
- ‘Provide financing that is targeted and timely’, focused on preparedness and prevention to improve resilience and reduce the likelihood of needing to spend billions to recover and renew from the impacts of an emergency
A recent webinar, organised by the World Bank and Resilient Cities Network, builds on this report and discusses resilient infrastructure: what it is, how it can be identified and how cities can advance resilient infrastructure so that it achieve multiple goals. You can watch this webinar here.
Consider how different countries are stimulating a 'Green Recovery'
CarbonBrief have developed an interactive grid where you can explore and track the progress of how different countries across the world are implementing green recovery and renewal plans which aim to cut emissions in the aftermath of COVID-19. Below, we offer some examples of diverse initiatives from across the world:
- France allocated funding to “promote and support environmental performance” in their food and agricultural sector, e.g. funding to support farmers to adapt their farming systems to lower their impact on the environment. France have also allocated funding to create over 1,000 “eco-responsible restaurants in rural communities”, along with investment in “energy efficiency of public and private buildings, social housing, insulation and low-carbon heating”
- Sweden allocated investment to raise the “energy performance of Sweden’s housing stock and to support improvements in rental properties”
- Finland plan to “phase out oil heating in both households and public buildings” and allocated funding to the “wood constriction programme which promotes the use of timber by enhancing industry expertise, developing legislation and building regulations, and providing factual information”
- Chile have committed to plant trees on 24,000 hectares of land and invest in better fire management as part of its “mitigation and adaptation commitments related to forests and biodiversity”. Chile will also have invested in modernisation and irrigation projects for farmers, as part of the COVID-19 budget response
Consider how previous local development plans can underpin COVID-19 recovery
Tauranga, in New Zealand, centred their 2018 city plans around four themes:
- "Improving the ability to move around the city
- Resilience and safety
- Increasing environmental standards
- Land supply (for housing and employment) and urban form"
These themes have been carried forward and underpin the council's 2021 recovery from COVID-19 plan. Tauranga's economic recovery projects and activities focus on:
- Fostering innovation, through training and courses in partnership with the University of Waikato which aims to harness and drive new opportunities for employment in Tauranga and the Western Bay
- Working with those driving the "Groundswell Festival of Innovation" to highlight local innovation and the "YiA Innovation Awards" to encourage young people towards innovative problem solving and critical thinking
- Seeking "shovel ready" infrastructure projects to generate jobs through projects which will benefit the Tauranga community socially, economically and environmentally
- Targeted investment in projects which will support small and medium-sized enterprises to recover, specifically those in the construction industry
Consider how to build public support for transformational environmental policies
The ‘Going for Growth 2021: Shaping a Vibrant Recovery’ (OECD) report argues that structural policies can deliver a “stronger, more resilient, equitable and sustainable COVID-19 recovery”. Key to building resilience will be policies that transform environmental policies to drive the ‘Green Transition’. A challenge which lies ahead will be public perception and acceptability of environmental policies, specifically those which are market-focused (e.g. carbon tax). These have the potential to raise public concerns on the implications of such policies for employment security and cost of living - due to their impact on certain sectors (e.g. mining). The report offers strategies that can build public support of environmental policies. To illustrate the report uses the change to carbon pricing as an example:
- A phased-in and transparent approach (e.g. gradual raising prices) to give households sufficient time to adapt to the change as necessary
- “Revenue recycling”, which can fund universal transfer payments, reduce taxes, and provide targeted support for communities and households impacted by the change
- Communication with the public and education campaigns on the change, which promote the benefits of carbon pricing and counter misinformation
- Policy naming and branding which does not imply taxation (e.g. “Levy”), to mitigate the development of mistrust of the change amongst the public
Consider local funding to build community resilience
Local people and organisations are vital to delivering change, however, many face barriers and lack the resources to undertake resilience building activities. In the USA, Community Development Financial Institutions work to promote economic revitalization and community development in low-income communities through ‘values driven, locally informed and locally targeted investments’. Consider:
- That investment in community resilience can mitigate the impacts of shocks and stresses caused by crises and accelerate recovery from crisis
- When investing in community resilience, it is important to consider the life span of projects to ensure all communities have the opportunity to achieve their resilience goals
- That all people and communities should have equal access to the ability to build resilience and some may require additional or targeted support
- Engagement of all stakeholders is critical, to ensure that investment will benefit all people in the community
United States of America
Consider preventing pandemics through a global reform of pandemic preparedness and response
The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response recently issued a report calling on the international community to employ a package of reforms to transform the global pandemic preparedness and response system to prevent a future pandemic. The report finds that the current system is unfit to prevent another novel and highly infectious disease from developing into a pandemic. The report recommends a transformational reform of the existing pandemic prevention, preparedness and response system, including:
- Form a “Global Health Threats Council” to ensure political commitment to pandemic preparedness, prevention and response. In the Council:
- Assign responsibility to key actors through “peer recognition and scrutiny”
- Establish a ‘Pandemic Framework Convention’ in all countries within the next six months
- Introduce an international surveillance system to:
- Enable the WHO to share information about outbreaks of concern, and
- Rapidly deploy experts to investigate such outbreaks
- Immediate investment in national preparedness by:
- Reviewing current preparedness plans
- Allocating the required financing and resources to ensure readiness for another health event
- Make The Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) a global platform to transform the current market model to one targeted at delivering global public goods (vaccines, diagnostics, supplies)
- Establish a funding model for the WHO to increase its agency and financing
- Develop an “International Pandemic Financing Facility” to:
- Fund ongoing preparedness
- Enable immediate finance support for response if a pandemic is declared
- Adopt a political declaration which commits to transformative reform of global pandemic preparedness and response
Consider Renewal of Community Resilience: Developing a new local resilience capability
We demonstrate that in order to establish community resilience as a permanent local resilience capability, we are required to sustain what has already been created by communities, local government, small business, neighbours, individuals, social enterprises, the voluntary sector, and so many more hidden networks.
Read this case study in full by following the source link to TMB Issue 37 (p.13-14).
Consider Risk Communications as part of the Local Resilience Capability
Risk communications as part of the Local Resilience Capability is our focus in this briefing. We explore the communication of risk before and during emergencies, and identify how two-way communications are central to local resilience capabilities. Follow the source link below to TMB Issue 37 (p.3-6).
Consider the challenges generated when reforming public health systems
Public health has taken centre stage throughout the pandemic. Pre-existing fragilities have been exposed, but opportunities for reform and renewal have also presented. The White Paper ‘Integration and innovation: working together to improve health and social care for all’, recently presented legislative proposals for a health and care Bill in the UK. A recent briefing by the NHS recognises an opportunity for change, which lies in reform of “how population health is prioritised and resourced in the future”, to not only recover from the pandemic, but to renew systems so that they prepare for (and protect against) future public health risks by building resilience.
The White Paper is a complex and intricate document which is hard to summarise. Discussions of it with a health professional may help to illuminate its main implications for civil resilience. We identify a few lessons from it, but there are others that you may find. We focus on the challenges that lie ahead as part of a restructure of public health functions. Some challenges include:
- How to retain existing expertise:
- Taking into consideration that responsibilities will change hands, such as those for health improvement functions, those which Public Health England are currently responsible
- Continuing to fulfil local and national leadership responsibilities
- Investment to “make up significant shortfalls over recent years”
- Ensure effectiveness in health improvement functions moving forward
- The sustainability of public health services given budgetary pressures:
- “Robust and long-term investments in public health services”
- Acknowledging the critical role they play in building resilience to crises is crucial
- The potentially reduced agency and disempowerment of local government and local partners:
- By considering that they are positioned most effectively to tailor services and communications to the needs and priorities of the communities they serve
- Strategic partnership working between NHS organisations, local government and the voluntary sector is essential to promote empowered and flexible working at the local level
- Ensuring that local authorities are involved in resource discussions to locally distribute health improvement responsibilities
- Improving the commissioning arrangements for public health services to address the vulnerabilities exposed by funding cuts and resource shortages
Consider ways to celebrate the efforts of volunteers
Voluntary, community and social enterprise sector
This week (1-7th June 2021) marks Volunteers Week in the UK, an opportunity to celebrate and thank volunteers and recognise their significant contributions to communities. Volunteers make an immense difference to their communities and have played a key role throughout the pandemic. There are many ways to celebrate and show appreciation for the work of volunteers, consider:
- Say thank you by recognising their impact in local communities, by:
- A thank you email or through social media (you can use the hashtag #VolunteersWeek to join the online community celebrating volunteers this week)
- Community funded gift baskets which could include vouchers or discounts from local businesses
- Collect stories from volunteers and those that they supported during the pandemic and share them through local newspapers, local radio, social media etc.
- Setting up virtual online gathering of local volunteers and:
- Distribute awards to volunteers to recognise their efforts
- Create a space for volunteers to share their experiences of volunteering during the pandemic. This type of event can also introduce local volunteers to each other and create an greater sense of being part of a local volunteer communit
- Create public displays of recognition (e.g. a park bench dedicated to local volunteers)
- Encourage community involvement e.g. “The Big Lunch” which is being held on Sunday 6th June
- Allocate a day to celebrate volunteers annually e.g. "Power of Youth Day" which celebrates the contributions of young people to communities
Consider an international trade recovery strategy to harness opportunities in the aftermath of COVID-19
New Zealand has developed a trade recovery strategy to protect jobs, increase employment and drive economic recovery. The strategy is shaped by three key priorities:
'Retooling support for exporters':
- Provide intensive support to exporters through tailored mechanisms to build capabilities and "connect with overseas markets and global partners"
- Strengthen online tools and services for exporters, e.g. "make trade barrier portals more user-friendly for exporters facing challenges offshore"
- Expand tools and services to SMEs through 'NZTE's Regional Business Partner network'
Refreshing key trade relationships:
- Provide current "free trade agreements with greater 'in-market' and 'to-market' support for exporters" - ensuring better support to an increased number of markets
- Intensify the existing trade diversification strategy and leverage New Zealand's reputation as a trusted trade partner
- Further the progress made on free trade agreements, through new negotiations e.g. with the UK
- Expand on the 'Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership'
Reinvigorating international trade architecture:
- Support the World Trade Organisation and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation to protect the multilateral rules-based system, develop consensus on policies to support recovery, and "push back against protectionism"
- Similarly, "pursue new 'plurilateral' negotiations, e.g. The Digital Economy Partnership Agreement and the Agreement on Climate Change, Trade and Sustainability"
Consider approaches that visually communicate risk
The complexity of COVID-19 has meant that the risks have often been difficult to predict and understand, thus creating uncertainty and a challenge for those responsible for public risk communications. "When scientific uncertainty appears in public settings, it could reduce the perceived authority of science" (Zehr, p.11). Effective communication of uncertainty is essential, to ensure that individuals and communities are well-informed, are better able to make decisions about their well-being and respond to/mitigate the impacts of risk. Consider:
- Create a visualization of risk, to generate a deeper and more relevant understanding of the facts and insights often concealed in abstract data, e.g.; 'The risk characterisation theatre', a visualisation approach using a seating chart (like those used when booking seats in a theatre) which "visually displays risk by obscuring a share of seats that correspond to the risk" (see example below)
- This approach generates a visual of the likelihood of the risk, and enables a visual communication of rare risks that are often challenging to represent and communicate effectively
- This approach also enables an individual to relate a risk with a level and within a context that they can naturally associate to. By not stating exact figures, this approach tackles the "big issue" of uncertainty in risk
- Other examples of visualizations of risk include; displaying the impact of "long COVID" as places in a bus, e.g. "a figure such as 22% of patients discharged from hospital after COVID-19 reporting hair loss could be depicted as 11 individuals on a bus full of 50 people who have left hospital after receiving care for the virus". This is a scenario that anyone familiar with a bus can easily imagine. The data becomes immediately less abstract.
You can view a visualization of this concept in the last page of this article here..
Reference: Rifkin, E. and Bouwer, E. (2007) The Illusion of Certainty: Health Benefits and Risks. Boston, MA: Springer US.
Consider 'Innovative Experiences of Cities on environmental Sustainability and Climate Actions'
Cities are central to addressing climate change and promoting environmental sustainability. Floods, droughts, storms and rising sea levels are impacting infrastructure, livelihoods and human health across the world. In particular, urban activities contribute significantly to "climate change and environmental degradation". The UNOSSC, in partnership with UN Habitat, have launched a call for submissions on cities' innovative experiences on environmental sustainability and climate action through South-South and triangular cooperation. They call for examples of innovative environmental sustainability and climate solutions in cities that fulfil the following criteria:
- Include South-south or triangular cooperation approaches
- Are scalable and replicable
- Involve a local government or municipal authority
This call for submissions offers an opportunity to:
- Feature as a case study in the upcoming joint publication by UNOSSC and UN-Habitat
- Join UNOSSC's cities thematic clusters network which offers an opportunity to share experiences and learn about knowledge-sharing and pilot project opportunities
Submit initiatives/projects by June 5th 2021 (please note that this submission date has now expired).
United Nations Office for South-south Cooperation (UNOSSC)
United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat)
Consider measures for social care service recovery
The health and social care system is complex, spanning a broad range of services delivered by both statutory and third sector organisations. COVID-19 has had a significant impact on society and on health and social care services. A recent impact assessment ‘Health and Social Care in Wales COVID-19: Looking Froward’ presents “high level expectations” for NHS and social care recovery. It also identifies the challenges and constraints ahead, and priorities for each part of the system. Social care services are one of the key priorities, recognising the critical role that social care workers (including unpaid carers) have played in frontline responses to COVID. Consider:
- Learn lessons from the pandemic. Assess and identify the “hidden harms” caused by COVID-19 and implement services that can mitigate the longer term impacts of COVID on communities and individuals
- Facilitate opportunities for families to “identify and own solutions to challenges brought about or exacerbated by COVID”, to support families to remain together
- Identify and address the impacts of ‘Long COVID’, work to understand the effect of this on people who receive care and support, including unpaid carers and the social care workforce
- Introduce strategies that tackle the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on unpaid carers, focusing particularly on challenges related to “respite and support for carers”
- Recognise that the Local Authority Hardship Fund has been central to the continuity of many critical social care organisations during the pandemic. “Ensure that commissioners of care and support services, in local authorities and health boards, use this financial support in ways that enable them to match the provision of services to changing population need” as the full impacts of the pandemic play out
- Introduce the ‘Real Living Wage’ across the social care sector, to support wellbeing and mental health
- “Build on and improve the collaborative working that has been evident across the health and social care sector throughout the pandemic”
Consider priorities for recovery and renewal
The European Union recently set out Europe's priorities for recovery, which aim to create a "greener, more digital and more resilient Europe". The latest budget will focus on:
- "Research and innovation, via Horizon Europe;
- Fair climate and digital transitions, via the Just Transition Fund and the Digital Europe Programme;
- Preparedness, recovery and resilience, via the Recovery and Resilience Facility, rescEu, and a new health programme, EU4Health;
- Modernising traditional policies such as cohesion and the common agricultural policy, to maximise their contribution to the Union's priorities;
- Fight climate change, with 30% of the EU funds;
- Biodiversity protection and gender equality"
France recently set out the key measures within their recovery plan, complementing the priorities set out by the European Union. France is investing largely in:
- Accelerating the greening of the economy, with investments in "energy performance renovations for buildings, in "green infrastructure" and mobility, to reduce the carbon-intensity of manufacturing processes, and in the development of new green technologies" (hydrogen, biofuels, recycling)
- Economic resilience through "reductions in production taxes, the provision of support for equity capital funding for business, investment in industrial innovation and support for exports"
- A focus on financial support and digital transformation of voluntary sector enterprises and small-medium enterprises
Consider the measures required to support people living in rural communities
The Rural Lives project examined the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns on individuals experiencing financial hardship and vulnerability in rural areas, and the responses to address those impacts. It investigated the contributions of "societal processes, individual circumstances, and various support sources (e.g. markets, state, voluntary/community organisations, and family and friends)". The study finds that lockdowns delivered an acute shock to rural economies and societies, many of which rely heavily on tourism and hospitality, and that the pandemic amplified the impacts of digital exclusion. Pre-COVID, a substantial proportion of rural residents were found to be financially vulnerable. This study suggests that many more will be at risk of financial hardship in the coming months and years as "the full impacts of the pandemic play out and sources of support become more constrained". The study suggests future actions to support people living in rural communities:
- Diversify rural economies and support "good work" to offer people a fair and secure income, e.g. by providing targeted funding and support to help people to establish small businesses that increase the strength of other sectors (outside of those currently relied upon) and provide rural residents with "less precarious employment opportunities"
- Establish business support networks/signpost people to business advisory services to mitigate the negative effects of necessity entrepreneurship (e.g. people may lack confidence and/or knowledge about what is involved in setting up a viable business)
- Define and support the role of rural Voluntary and Community Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector, who have the potential to be a key actor when tackling the rise in rural youth unemployment
- Reinstate and support the expansion of mobile and outreach face-to-face services for the most vulnerable, especially those who may be more isolated due to physical distance from services, lack digital literacy or face mental health challenges
- "Continue partnership working and flexible funding" between service providers and VCSEs so that they can continue to play a joined-up signposting role, connecting rural communities to information, advice and services
- Integrate VCSEs into strategic planning to create effective partnership structures
- Explore the "rural potential for social care provision" review the experience of social care and carers during the pandemic to learn lessons. E.g. "deliver a more personalised and joined-up approach via informal cooperation between health and care workers, learning from more flexible work practices adopted during the pandemic"
- Enable communities to take a more active role in commissioning social care, and enable community groups to deliver care in their communities
- Co-produce service design with communities, pilot integrated ways of working with VCSEs and the community, and take locally-based approaches to service delivery that prioritise local community outcomes and individual needs/priorities
- Consider a combination of "person-based and place-based" social protection and welfare measures at national policy level
Consider the role of young people in reducing and responding to disaster risk
A recent study found that the Canadian disaster news media framed young people in five different ways: “1. the vulnerable status of youth; 2. youth as passive bystanders; 3. children as a burden on adults; 4. youth as active agents; and 5. youth as a ‘legitimizing criteria’ in disaster response” (where certain response and recovery resources/actions are prioritized to enable young people to “bounce back” following crisis). The findings of this research highlight a need to shift the narrative and change how young people are framed in emergencies, to recognise their assets and potential roles in disaster risk reduction, emergency response and recovery efforts. Consider:
- Meaningful, inclusive, collaborative and creative strategies to engage young people in all stages of disaster risk and risk management, e.g. Colombia: The school of our dreams where young people create music videos to teach others about the value of protective and protected schools:
- Enable “Self-driven participation” (youth-owned and led engagement) where young people take ownership and identify risks, and manage the process and outcomes, supported by adults when necessary
- Establish “Collaborative participation” (adult-owned and youth-led engagement) where adults establish collaboration and invite young people to support the identification of issues. Partnerships are established between adults and young people in a form of “inter-generational collaboration”, a partnership which allows young people to increase their levels of self-directed action over time
- In the Philippines, children are participating in “school-watching programmes” where they gather information about risks that can be addressed by local school authorities. The children create hazard maps which can be shared to educate other students on risk and safety information
- Recognise the role of young people in creating resilience in communities, e.g. Injuv (The National Youth Institute in Chile) who focus on ways in which young people can be involved, activated and mobilised in emergency response during crisis. They have been working to establish and ecosystem of permanent local youth volunteers, and connect young volunteers directly with voluntary organisations through an online volunteer platform (Transform Country Network)
- Utilize the media to amplify the voices and efforts of young people as catalysts for change in their communities, to create a platform through which young people can share their ideas, opinions and concerns
Consider The Sendai Framework Voluntary Commitments Initiative, UNDRR
Our Recovery, Renewal, Resilience project has recently been recognised by UNDRR (United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction), joining the global Sendai Framework Voluntary Commitments initiative for disaster risk reduction. This initiative was developed in response to the General Assembly resolution 68/211 (2013) to support the development of partnerships at all levels to implement the Sendai framework. The Sendai Framework VC initiative provides specific encouragement to academic, scientific, and research entities in regards to their contribution to disaster risk reduction. The Voluntary Commitment highlights our projects 'Sendai Priorities for Action' including:
- "Understanding disaster risk;
- Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk;
- Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience;
- Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response, and to 'Build Back Better'"
The Sendai Framework Voluntary Commitment platform showcases a wide range of work from different organisations and groups across the world, all working to build resilience. The platform serves as a "mechanism to mobilize, monitor and take stock of commitments from multi-stakeholders for the implementation of the Sendai Framework until 2030". You can explore the various projects from across the world or register your own project on the platform here.
Consider vaccine passports
TMB Issue 30 discussed the potential ethical issues associated with varying restrictions on individual liberties based on possession of a vaccine certificate. Digital vaccination passports have generated a complex debate across the world, as understanding of the COVID-19 virus and the effectiveness of current vaccines is still developing and digital vaccine passports are an “evolving science”. Introducing infrastructure that has the potential to create “segregation and risk scoring at an individual level, enables third-party access to health information, brings profound risks to individual rights and concepts of equity in society” .
The Ada Lovelace Institute recently released ‘Checkpoints for vaccine passports’ which strives to support governments and developers to work through the important steps to examine the evidence available, understand the design choices and the societal impacts, and assess whether a roll-out of vaccine passports could navigate risks to play a socially beneficial role. Below we replicate content from that report which explains their six vaccine passport system requirements:
Scientific confidence in the impact on public health
As scientific knowledge on the effectiveness of current COVID-19 tests, vaccines and antibodies is still developing, governments and public health experts should:
- “Establish scientific pre-conditions’, to include the level of reduced transmission from vaccination that would be deemed acceptable to permit their use;
- Create a model and test the behavioural impacts of different digital vaccination passport programmes (e.g. in combination with or in place of social distancing);
- Conduct a comparative analysis of different vaccine passport schemes to other public health measures in terms of necessity, benefits, risks and costs;
- Develop and test public communications with regards to what certification should be understood to mean in terms of uncertainty and risk;
- Set out the permitted pathways for calculating what constitutes lower risk individuals, including vaccine type, test types, antibody protection and duration of reduced risk following vaccination, testing and infection;
- Outline public health infrastructure requirements for successful use of a passport scheme, which may include access to vaccine, vaccine rate, access to tests, testing accuracy, or testing turnaround
Clear, specific and delimited purpose
To mitigate the potential risks of vaccine passports (e.g. barriers to employment, stigma and discrimination), the following measures should be considered:
- “Specify the purpose of a vaccine passport and clearly communicate the specific problems it aims to address;
- Conduct a comparison of alternative options and existing infrastructure, policy or practice to evaluate if any new system and its overheads are proportionate for specific use cases (e.g. care home visitations);
- Clearly define where certification will be permitted and set out the scientific evidence on the impact of these systems;
- Clearly define where the use of certification will not be acceptable, and whether any population groups should be exempted (e.g. children, pregnant women or those with health conditions);
- Consult with representatives of workers and employers, and issue clear guidance on the use of vaccine passports in the workplace;
- Establish clear aims, measures to assess success and a model for evaluation”
Ethical consideration and clear legal guidance
Ethics and law relating to the permitted and restricted uses of vaccine passports, and mechanisms to support rights and redress and table illegal use should be considered:
- “Publish and require the publication of, impact assessments – on issues including data protections, equality and human rights;
- Offer clarity on the current legality of any uses, specifically laws regarding employment, equalities, data protection, policing, migration and asylum, and health regulations;
- Create clear and specific laws, and develop guidelines for all potential user groups about the legality of use, mechanisms for enforcement and methods of legal redress for any vaccine passport scheme;
- Support cooperation between relevant regulators that need to work cooperatively and pre-emptively;
- Make any changes via primary legislation, to ensure due process, proper scrutiny and public confidence;
- Develop suitable policy architecture around ay vaccine passport scheme, to mitigate harms identified in impact assessments – which may require employment protection and financial support for those facing barriers to work on the basis of health status”
Sociotechnical system design, including operational infrastructure
Consider how the vaccine passport system design will function in practice and link with other systems:
- “Outline the vision for any role vaccine passports should play in COVID-19 strategies, e.g. whether developing own systems or permitting others to develop and use passports;
- Outline a set of best-practice design principles any technical design should embody – including data minimisation, openness, ethics by design and privacy by design – and conduct small-scale pilots before further deployment;
- Protect against digital discrimination, by creating a non-digital (paper) alternative;
- Be clear about how vaccine passports link or expand existing data systems (in particular health records and identity);
- Clarify broader societal issues relating to the system, including the duration of any planned system, practical expectations of other actors in the system and technological requirements, aims, costs, and the possible impacts of other parts of the public health system or economy informed by public deliberation;
- Incorporate policy measures to mitigate ethical and social risks or harms identified"
Public confidence in vaccine passports will be crucial and consideration should be given to local contexts:
- “Undertake rapid and ongoing public deliberations as a complement to, and not a replacement for, existing guidance, legislation and proper consideration of issues;
- Undertake public deliberation with groups who may have particular interest or concerns from such a systems, e.g. those who are unable to have the vaccine, those unable to open businesses due to risk, groups who have experienced discrimination or stigma;
- Engage key actors in the successful delivery of these systems (business owners, border control, public health experts)”
Protection against future risks and mitigation strategies for global harms
Consider the longer-term effects of vaccine passport systems and how they might shape future decisions or be used by future governments:
- “Be up front as to whether any systems are intended to be used long term, and design and consult accordingly;
- Establish clear, published criteria for the success of a system and for ongoing evaluation;
- Ensure legislation includes a time-limited period with sunset clauses or conditions under which use is restricted and any dataset deleted – and structures or guidance to support deletion where data has been integrated into work systems for example;
- Ensure legislation includes purpose limitation, with clear guidance on application and enforcement, and include safeguards outlining uses which would be illegal;
- Work through international bodies like WHO, GAVI and COVAX to seek international agreement on vaccine passports and mechanisms to counteract inequalities and promote vaccine sharing”
Consider ways in which the private sector can support an equitable COVID-19 vaccine programme
Global distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine is essential to ensure that all lives are protected. As a result of vaccine shortfall, people in many parts of the world may need to wait up to three years to get the vaccine, during which time COVID-19 will continue to mutate and spread. In addition to protecting human life, global distribution of vaccines is required to protect the economy, which could be "deprived of up to 9.2 trillion dollars" if not (International Chamber of Commerce). Low and middle income countries are reliant on the work of COVAX to provide global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. However, mobilising the necessary support from donors is a challenge. "Greater public-private sector collaboration is required to ensure rapid and fair distribution". Many private sector companies are looking for ways to support the global vaccination effort but are unsure as to how exactly they can do this. The World Bank advises to consider:
- Aggregate funding to mobilize donors, e.g. introduce a pool fund or matching commitments, which can establish a coordinated approach from public and private donors and increase the number of and size of donations from diverse co-funders
- Establish "concessional financing" to support local businesses to develop and improve their service delivery and supply chains to better meet the needs of local vaccine programmes (e.g. small and medium sized businesses in disadvantaged sectors and locations)
- Introduce "results-based finance to improve accountability and outcomes per dollar spent on the vaccination support, as traditional grant funding is tied to inputs, not achievement of outcomes"
Consider an inclusive participatory approach for climate change adaption strategies
COVID-19 presents an opportunity to address climate change impacts and improve disaster risk management. Tonga is highly exposed to natural hazards and the effects of climate change. In an effort to develop a ‘resilient Tonga’, an inclusive participatory approach has been employed that is based on strong governance and the development of knowledgeable and proactive communities. A broad range of goals, strategies and projects have been identified within Tonga’s ‘Joint National Action Plan 2 on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management’ (CCADRM), including:
- The introduction of new policies and projects (e.g. National Forest Policy, Land Use Policy, Tonga Ridge to Reef Project) to improve governance for CCADRM
- Increase information, education and understanding of CCADRM by initiating awareness programmes and the establishment of a climate change data management system
- Improvement of analysis and assessments of vulnerability to climate change impacts and disaster risks through coastal assessment and protection projects (E.g. Lifuka Island vulnerability assessment and adaptation to sea-level rise community project (p69))
- Investment in public infrastructure (e.g. schools and community halls) to increase their ‘structural resilience to climate impacts and the construction of evacuation roads to increase community preparedness and resilience to the risks and impacts of disasters’
- Design and delivery of renewable and energy efficiency projects to increase the technical reliability, economic affordability and environmental reliability of energy. E.g. Outer Island Renewable Energy Project which aims to provide a ‘secure, sustainable and environmentally-sound source of electricity’ to Tonga’s outer islands
- The establishment of collaborative forums to include non-governmental organisations, charities and community committees to enhance partnerships, cooperation and collaboration between national and local government agencies, civil society, NGOs, the private sector and the public
Consider how to improve social protection programmes so that they are disaster-responsive
Social protection (SP) is critical to help poor and vulnerable households to cope with sudden shocks. Recovery from COVID-19 can aim to better understand and reduce the vulnerabilities that are exposed during crises, and to reinstate preparedness for and resilience to future events. Consider reviewing SP programmes to improve their capacity to respond to disasters:
- Assess the institutional capacity for improving disaster-responsive SP by identifying:
- The key actors who are engaged in, or are responsible for, social protection (e.g. national/local government agencies, NGOs, civil society) and other core actors from relevant sectors (e.g. health, education, infrastructure). Define the roles, responsibilities and mandates of key actors
- What the current capacities are (e.g. "knowledge and/or experience" on disaster-responsive SP) and what are the "surge" capacities in staffing (including the "re-deployment capacities of government staff from non-affected areas" and the civil society supports available)
- If the current policy and legislative framework for SP, climate change adaption and disaster risk management recognises the roles of all key actors and whether adjustments are required to advance SP to effectively respond to disasters (In Myanmar, "a legal mandate is in place for the restoration of livelihoods to pre-disaster levels")
- Review information systems to ensure accurate data is available that will trigger a social protection response to disasters:
Consider incentive programmes for volunteers
Retention and continued engagement of those who have offered their time, knowledge and skills to support response efforts will be crucial to ensure the valuable resources and capabilities are available for recovery and renewal activities. Recognising the enormous efforts of volunteers over the last year is integral to their retention. Consider:
- Recognise and thank volunteers for their efforts through personal letters or less personal approaches such as via social media
- Develop accredited certification programmes to officially recognise volunteer skills and knowledge
- Establish a service awards programme for volunteers based on length of service
- Introduce a tax credit programme for volunteers. E.g. The Search and Rescue Volunteers Tax Credit (SRVTC) represents "federal recognition" of the important role played by search and rescue volunteers in Canada. There are conditions and criteria that are required to be met in order for volunteers to qualify for tax credit (e.g. volunteers who perform in excess of 200 "eligible hours" in a year). Appropriate recruiting, screening and management of volunteers helps to ensure people are not joining for the wrong reasons
Consider increasing investment in Universal Health Coverage and stronger health systems
A recent UN policy brief identified the significant gap in health coverage as a core reason for COVID-19 having such devastating impacts on people's lives. Universal health coverages means that all people and communities can access the health services that they need, with three key priorities; "equity in access, sufficient quality and no undue financial risk". Consider:
- Establish universal provision for "COVID-19 testing, isolating, contact tracing" and treatment
- Ensure protection of essential health services during the critical phases of the pandemic (e.g. services for sexual and reproductive health)
- Through international partnerships, ensure future COVID-19 vaccines are a "global public good with equitable access for everyone, everywhere"
- Protect and invest in core health systems functions that are critical to protecting and promoting health and well-being, known as "Common goods for health"
- Suspend user fees for COVID-19 and other essential health care; reduce financial barriers to service use
- Strengthen local, national and global pandemic preparedness and aim for healthy societies for the future through a whole-of-society approach
Consider strategies to recover the tourism industry and local hospitality businesses
TMB Issue 33 discussed examples of how Australia and Rwanda are working to recover tourism through the promotion of domestic tourism. In Ireland, the next phases of their "Business Continuity Scheme" include targeted recovery strategies for Tourism Transport businesses, local tourism and hospitality businesses, and attracting international tourism. Consider:
- Partner with national/local tourism agencies (e.g. Failte Ireland/Tourism Ireland) to collaborate on the development and administration of tourism recovery schemes
- Provide funding and grants to tourism transport operators such as car rental companies, chauffeur, limousine, local taxi firms and escorted tour providers, to support their future operations and business continuity
- Set up a "Travel Trade Event" to bring international tourism partners, local governments and local tourism businesses together. Irish tourism businesses met virtually to sell "the best of Ireland" to 216 top international tourism buyers from across the world
- Seek funding to develop and build permanent outdoor infrastructure to increase dining capacity locally, to support local hospitality business as they re-open
Ireland, Republic of
Consider targeted infrastructure investment to stimulate recovery.
Infrastructure investment has been found to effectively stimulate economic activity. Project prioritization and methods of financing are two key policy and investment questions, noted by the International Transport Forum (OECD). Consider:
- Projects which deliver jobs, stimulate growth in the short- and medium-term should be prioritised
- Those projects that are already in the pipeline with cleared planning and environmental approval should be the focus
- "Interventions should be Timely, Targeted and Temporary: the IMF's TTT principle"
- Local projects should be accurately estimated and the life-span of projects should be effectively forecasted
- Incentives or stimulus packages should be based on aims to drive "decarbonisation, social equity and resilience"
Consider that recovery and renewal plans for high street and town centre development for local growth should be support by robust evidence
The pandemic has accelerated the change to shopping habits, triggered economic downturn and changed how people live their lives (e.g. working from home). Evidence provided by "what works centre for local economic growth" prompts thinking as to what types of investment and interventions are likely to be most beneficial when designing recovery plans. The report considers that:
- "Supply side" investments (e.g. shop front renovations) should be supported by investments and policies that target increasing consumer demand
- Education and training to improve the skills profile of local communities can positively impact residents average wages, which will increase spending power and demand for local goods and services
- There is little evidence to support thinking that large department stores/supermarkets ("anchor stores") are of more value that other shops, meaning that balanced and equal support should be provided to protect business continuity of all shops
- Increased levels of working from home is unlikely to instigate large population shifts away from towns and cities and "proposals that are based on the assumption that housing supply and population density will change significantly should provide robust evidence to underpin those assumptions"
- Recovery and renewal proposals/plans which state that "physical or cultural regeneration initiatives will also delver economic growth" should also provide robust evidence as little evidence has shown that investment in new community assets/improved housing quality will deliver local growth
Consider the principles for engaging citizens in deliberative processes for recovery
Involving citizens in the recovery planning and development process can lead to more effective policy outcomes and build trust and a two way dialogue between citizens and government. COVID-19 has had diverse impacts on the lives of individuals and communities, and their involvement in deciding the routes to long-term recovery following the pandemic is crucial. Consider the good practice principles for deliberative processes offered by the OECD, which will support the achievement of "high-quality processes that result in useful recommendations and meaningful opportunities for citizens to shape public decisions":
- Clearly define the issue as a question that is aligned with the concerns and challenges faced by different communities
- Invite people to make recommendations for addressing the issues that affect them, respond to recommendations in a timely manner, and monitor and feedback regularly to people on the progress of their implementation (e.g. Scotland's Citizens' Assembly)
- Ensure the process is inclusive and representative of all people in the community, e.g. stratified random sampling to select a participant group which fully represents a community's demographic profile
- Make information easily accessible through public communications. Include the purpose, design, methodology, recruitment details, experts, recommendations, the response, and implementation follow-up
- Establish a mechanism through which people can request additional information, ask questions and keep up to date on progress of activities
- Appoint a liaison person who can feed information in from and out to the community
- Take time to reflect on and evaluate deliberative processes, to ensure learning, help improve future practice and understand impact
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Consider a post-pandemic paradigm for public leadership
Stephen Brookes, University of Manchester and Umer Khan, Greater Manchester Police, explore public leadership to create public value recovery and renewal - including the role of local community policing, partnerships, and 'consequentialist leadership'.
Follow the source link below to read this briefing in full (p.3-6).
Consider a review of risk communications to improve disaster management response at pace
Effective risk communication is central to public health risk management, so that people can make informed decisions and take the correct actions to "prevent, mitigate and recover from emergencies". It enables real-time access to, and exchange of, reliable information. However, the sheer scale and pace of COVID-19 led to an uncoordinated overload of sometimes inconsistent information, so people were unsure about the severity of risk, and therefore behaved according to their individual perception. There has also been a surge of misinformation throughout the pandemic, which has undermined national and local health responses globally.
- A review of risk communication strategies employed during the pandemic, to identify what worked and what could be improved for future emergencies
- Build risk communication capacity by appointing dedicated risk communicators at national and local levels, to maintain consistency in communications and develop a sense of familiarity among the public, which can build trust
- Identify the stakeholders in disseminating risk information (e.g. media) and assess the strength of the relationships with stakeholders. Identify how collaboration and coordination can be enhanced so that the information disseminated is ‘timely, accurate and transparent’
- Tailor risk communications to the specific risk and needs of diverse communities
- Engage with the community to co-develop risk communication support structures and establish accountability of community members for required behavioural change
- Use social media to track (through data analytics) and counter misinformation, and develop a narrative of solidarity through crisis (UN Sri Lanka)
- Establish a central risk management coordination platform that consolidates risk information and forecasts other potential risks (e.g. concurrent emergencies such as severe flooding). This can enhance capacities and capabilities to provide strategic interventions, and minimize further social and economic impacts (Dominican Republic)
- Acknowledge and communicate uncertainty in clear and unambiguous language to avoid misinterpretation, e.g. use scientific evidence to estimate the likelihood of COVID-19 case resurgence as precisely as possible, and avoid language such as ‘probably/possibly’
- Regularly gauge and monitor the public perception of risk, through surveys and consultations with public bodies such as police, to inform timely action to prevent lax or panicked behaviour
- Evaluate and update risk communications regularly to account for developments (e.g. vaccination)
Consider how to facilitate community participation in recovery, renewal and resilience building activities
Recovery and renewal strategies require community co-production to be influenced by the knowledge, skills and experience of communities. Participation depends on a number of factors. VFL find that time and convenience are crucial when it comes to community participation in recovery, renewal and resilience plans and actions. Measures to facilitate community participation should address the needs of all community members, so as to ensure accessibility, and not reinforce inequalities. Consider whether:
- Local planning and government meetings, forums and workshops are conveniently located and accessible:
- Select locations and venues that facilitate access for all members of the community. Consider access constraints affecting disadvantaged groups, which may be physical, geographic, economic, or faith related. E.g. provide online access, transport, refreshments, accessibility for people with disabilities
- Select venues/online forums where different groups within the community already congregate (e.g. different religious groups, women)
- The timing of activities fits with the commitments of the community members who will be participating. For example, work schedules, household responsibilities, school timetables of children and parents (particularly women), farmers' seasonal calendars:
- Carefully consider people's time, and seek feedback from the community on times that are suitable
- Draw on appropriate local volunteers to offer childcare where physical meetings are held
- Socio-cultural issues which might prevent some people from participating have been considered:
- Identify potential barriers related to language, literacy levels, ethnicity, gender discrimination, etc.
- Provide expert facilitation and translation services, or organize separate meetings with women, people with disabilities, specific ethnic minorities and other groups to facilitate their participation
- Report back to participants on the outcome of their community participation and how thinking/planning has changed as a result of their contribution
Views from the Frontline,
Consider how to support ethnic minority-owned businesses to recover and renew
Ethnic minority-owned businesses play a vital role in the UK economy, the FSB reported that 'ethnic minority businesses (EMBs) contributed 25 billion pounds to the UK economy in 2018'. The entrepreneurial characteristics of diverse communities will be crucial for economic recovery. The impacts of the pandemic on EMBs is significant, as they account for a large number of businesses within the sectors closed during national lockdowns (retail, health and social care and hospitality). Consider:
- Invite ethnic minority business owners to discuss how best local government can support and facilitate entrepreneurship and growth post-COVID
- Targeted support programmes for ethnic minority-owned organisations and businesses that provide advice and support for applying for financial assistance, IT and tech support so that they are equipped with the skills and tools needed to recover and renew
- Create an 'inclusive matrix of support, including grants, wage subsidy and micro-loans for small ethnic minority-owned organisations, start-ups and new businesses'. Those businesses that may not have qualified for government financial support schemes introduced during the pandemic
- Go beyond the restricted lens of the 'Business Rate System' and broaden the understanding of how local economies function. This can be done by including 'all sectors, including homeworkers, night time economy, responses to local transport needs and the retail sector, to provide a comprehensive picture of local businesses and economic activity'. Use this to introduce support systems that promote sector diversity, good practice in sustainability, growth and cooperation in economic recovery
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