Lessons for Resilience
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 the impact of COVID-19 on commuter behaviour
Although home-based working has become the norm for a large percentage of the population, many workers have had to be physically present in their usual workplace. Many who have had to travel to workplaces during the pandemic have changed their mode of transport due to potential infection risks, delays and inconvenience due to cancelled or reduced public transport - i.e. they have changed their commute from public transport to private cars or bicycles. This has reduced their travel time, especially as traffic volumes are below pre-pandemic levels. Consider:
- That traffic congestion and the demand for parking space could increase dramatically as restrictions ease and more people opt for private transport, which may lead to increases in:
- Infrastructure maintenance costs on roads and motorways
- Negative environmental impacts, e.g. pollution
- Road traffic accidents and increased risk to cyclists and pedestrians, plus loss of public space, which may reduce the number of people who choose to cycle or walk
- Costs and challenges for freight and delivery services
- A travel awareness communication campaign, prior to an ease of restrictions:
- Raise awareness of the benefits of sustainable travel for improving air quality and reducing pollution
- Promote the health and well-being benefits of 'active transport' such as cycling
- Communicate the stringent safety measures in place on public transport to increase confidence and encourage people to travel by bus/train
- Draw on learning from previous crises to predict likely behaviours and inform policies that are fit for purpose, e.g. following the 2008 economic crisis, increased traffic increased congestion (Madrid, Spain)
- Expand and improve cycling and walking space and infrastructure around workplaces
- In cities, reduce speed limits to allow pedestrians and cyclists to be more confident and allow for social distancing
- Promote and expand schemes such as 'Cycle2Work' by removing spending caps and allowing people to by bikes through the scheme that are appropriate and relevant for them (see TMB Issue 7):
- Introduce a reimbursement scheme to reward cycling commuters, e.g. Netherlands offer 0.19 cent (euro) per kilometre cycled to work, or interest-free loans to purchase bikes
- Trial an e-bike hire scheme in cities, e.g. Leicester (UK)
- Review congestions charge policies and assess if they are appropriate for post-COVID activity
- Introduce new policies, e.g. workplace parking levy, a charge on employers who provide workplace parking (Nottingham City Council, UK)
Iran, Islamic Republic of,
Consider digitizing museums, archaeological sites and parks, libraries, archives, cinema and music catalogues
Engaging with art and culture can contribute to well-being, serenity and intellectual stimulation, and can help build resilience in the community. Consider:
- How to digitize as many cultural assets as possible to maintain public engagement with arts/culture
- That some organisations may have been negatively impacted financially and could benefit from operating online
- Providing national and local lists of available online arts and culture content
- Promotion of smaller independent venues, artists and collections
United States of America
Consider how to manage cultural heritage during COVID-19
Public sector support mechanisms
A number of countries and regions rely on a tourism industry to support cultural heritage and the arts. The closure of borders and internal movements within a country has disrupted tourist businesses such as accommodation facilities, travel agencies, tourist guides, service industries, and the arts. Consider how to:
- Encourage the enjoyment of cultural heritage in a way that is compatible with restrictions
- Create a dedicated website that lists all available arts and culture in the country or region such as Italy's "Culture does not stop" site
- Curate online exhibitions by gathering contributions from art historians, archaeologists, archivists, librarians, restorers, architects, authors, writers, actors, musicians, etc.
- Employ online guides or experts to provide 'tours' of cultural sites, museums, etc.
- Ensure content is regularly updated in the same way physical cultural experiences are
Consider how to effectively implement local or 'smart lockdowns'
Recently, European Union countries have begun enforced lockdowns in smaller regions in response to new outbreaks of COVID-19, rather than bringing the entire country to a halt. 'Smart lockdowns' have been undertaken in Germany, Portugal, Italy, and the UK where local governments have declared local lockdown where cases of COVID-19 could not be contained.
Special consideration should be given to the identified causes of spikes in transmission. Localised COVID-19 outbreaks in Europe and the USA share a number of similarities. In most cases, overcrowded living conditions, poor working conditions, cultural practices, and/or limited socio-economic capital point to increased risk of infection and transmission. In Warendorf (Germany) and Cleckheaton (England), outbreaks were attributed to abattoirs and meat factories , which often employ migrant workers in poor working conditions on low-paid contracts. While the outbreak in Cleckheaton does not seem to have spread into the community, the fallout from the abattoir in Germany resulted in the lockdown of the city of Warendorf. Similar patterns are being witnessed in the USA, where workers from meat processing plants in Georgia, Arkansas and Mississippi, who are predominantly migrant workers or people of colour, have died from the virus or have become infected.
Conversely, in Marche (Italy) and Lisbon (Portugal) outbreaks originated in migrant communities that were living in overcrowded quarters or experiencing unsafe working conditions. Similarly, this week in Leicester (England), a local lockdown has been enforced. Possible reasons for the spike in cases shares stark similarities to the local lockdowns that have gone on elsewhere.
Reportedly, in Leicester some garment factories continued to operate throughout the crisis and forced their workers to work despite high levels of infection. Wage exploitation of the largely immigrant workforce, failure to protect workers' rights in Leicester's garment factories (a subject of concern for years), and poor communication of lockdown rules with Leicester's large ethnic minority community have all contributed to a resurgence in the disease.
Secondly, the East of the city, suspected to be the epicenter of the outbreak, has extreme levels of poverty, is densely packed with terraced housing, and has a high proportion of ethnic minority families where multi-generational living is common.
These patterns barely differ from the spike in cases in Singapore in May 2020 in which Singapore's progress on tackling COVID-19 was halted as tens of thousands of migrant workers contracted the disease due to poor living conditions and being neglected by testing schemes as their migrant status and relative poverty meant they were overlooked by the government.
Implementing smart lockdowns requires:
- Outbreak control plans for the COVID-19 partnership to be developed, written, and communicated to wider partners, specifying their role in the outbreak response
- Collaborate closely across the public sector to understand possible at-risk communities e.g. minority groups, migrant workers, those in poor or insecure housing, those in particular occupations
- Identify new cases early through rapid testing and contact tracing and sharing timely data across agencies
- Decide the threshold at which a cluster of new cases become an outbreak
- Decide the threshold at which an outbreak triggers the lockdown of an area, and how the size of that area is determined
- Collaborate closely with the public sector to communicate and enforce local lockdowns e.g. the police, the health and social sector, local leaders
- Ensure there is capacity in local-health care systems to respond to the outbreak
- Collaborate with citizens to ensure good behavioural practices are understood and adhered to e.g. hand washing, social distancing at work and in public areas
- Ensure the parameters of the local lockdown are clear. For example, in a UK "local authority boundaries can run down the middle of a street" which makes it different to differentiate what is appropriate for a city or region, and to understand how a local community identifies with the place and boundaries in which they live
Local outbreaks, whether in migrant worker accommodation, meat factories or impoverished areas of a city, clearly underscore the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on minority, migrant, and poor communities. Increased engagement with, and attention to ethnic minority groups, marginalised people and impoverished communities is key to staving off local and national resurgences of COVID-19. Strong multi-organisational partnerships are required to account for varying needs and concerns with certain communities including addressing their living and working conditions and the risks this poses to public health.
To read this case study in its original format (including source links and references, follow the source link below.
Consider environmentally-friendly strategies that can support job creation
This could include:
- Retrofitting programmes to make buildings more energy-efficient
- Mass tree planting
- Investment in solar and wind power
- Building infrastructure required for increased consumption and use of electric cars such as improved electricity networks, and public and personal capacity for charging stations
Additionally, due to lockdown these measures may not be as disruptive to people's daily lives compared to, for example, offices being retrofitted while in constant use.
This lesson was conributed to by Chief Resilience Officers in Italy and Australia during project data collection, along with the source link below.
Korea, Republic of,
United States of America
Consider how to continue to benefit from reduced traffic as a result of lockdown
Cities such as Milan, Italy are developing strategies to retain street space from cars, providing 35km (22 miles) of transformed streets to accommodate an experimental citywide expansion of cycling and walking space to protect residents as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. The Strade Aperte plan includes low-cost temporary cycle lanes, new and widened pavements, 30kph (20mph) speed limits, and pedestrian and cyclist priority streets. The locations include a low traffic neighbourhood on the site of the former Lazzaretto.
Similar plans for investments in bicycle-friendly infrastructure is being considered in the Netherlands, with a focus on expansion of the programme in cities and suburbs.
Reference: Chief Resilience Officer, Netherlands
Consider compensating freelance workers for lost payments
Consider how empty, habitable buildings can be designated to house vulnerable people who need to isolate
Consider prioritising the threat to cyber security given that many services have or will move online
Hacking may have a cascading effect, for example, a cyber-attack on a trucking company could impact food security. The disruption could affect weekly food deliveries to supermarkets. In turn, the loss of revenue would weaken the business sustainability of distributors and producers.
- Hackers crashing Zoom meetings, disrupting conversations of government officials who conduct remote discussions (USA)
- False emails from the US Department of Health and Human Services are targeting supplier companies. They request protective equipment described in an attachment infected with malware. (USA)
- A cyberattack on Italy's social security system (INPS) has revealed Personally Identifiable Information to applicants as they were attempting to claim benefits (Italy)
Consider communications which will enhance well being
Local government should, in their communication with the public, enhance the welfare and happiness of the entire community including those who are healthy. This can involve communicating digitally and providing virtual services during extended periods of isolation e.g. the virtual opening of art galleries and museums.
Reference: Chief Resilience Officer, Italy
Consider delivering local services online
Local government should continue moving their services to online delivery where possible to help those who are working from home, by strengthening digital infrastructure, network coverage in their areas and should consider developing cyber security campaigns. Out city "is trying to design a new digital routine, shaping work, events, meetings and initiatives on new online formats" for foreseeable future.
Reference: Chief Resilience Officer, Italy; and the American Red Cross, USA
Consider local tax breaks
Consider offering a 'Mutual Aid Fund' to support charities and other community organisations
Local government should offer a 'Mutual Aid Fund' to help those charities and other community organisations that are in financial difficulty and support the comeback of the economy through city activities. This should receive donations from all aspects of society including, individuals, organisations, and others.
Reference: Chief Resilience Officers, Italy & UK
Consider reimagining the use of green spaces
Consider strategies to tackle spikes in gender based violence
Local government should identify strategies to tackle spikes in gender based violence as a result of isolation, social distancing and quarantine measures. They should consider requirements for increased social and legal support for elongated/reoccurring lockdowns, and holistic partnerships with the voluntary sector to support and protect those at risk and educate both men and women.
References: Professor from the International Center for Collaborative Research on Disaster Risk Reduction; Hospital Executive; Chief Resilience Officer; UK Local Resilience Forum