July 27, 2016
The workshop kicked off with an opening ceremony led by Khairun University, Hope Worldwide, and the University of Hawaii. The Rector of Khairun, Dr Husen Alting, highlighted the early successes and future vision of the Disaster Research Center. Charles Ham, the Global Disaster Response Coordinator of Hope Worldwide also opened with remarks about the importance of changing to a paradigm of prevention – to begin looking for ways to reduce risks before disasters happen.
The Head of Khairun’s Disaster Research Center, Ridwan Lessy expressed his enthusiasm about the event and his high hopes for expanding the network of knowledge on disasters. He described his vision of action research to support local needs and planning efforts. Dolores Foley, at the Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (DMHA) program at the University of Hawaii Department of Urban and Regional Planning also talked about the partnership and vision that allowed for this workshop to come together. Both PSB and DMHA share the same goals of developing curriculum, training up local stakeholders, creating a community of research and practice, and exploring what it means to build resilience.
The introduction of the workshop focused on key global development challenges and describing the System’s approach, a move away from single sector issues to understanding the many elements that interact to create risk: the agents, processes, institutions, places and assets.
The workshop also detailed the science behind climate change. How do we know it is happening? What are the global level science and processes behind it, how do scientists arrive at these conclusions, and furthermore, what trends are we seeing locally? Numerous stories emerged about seasonal changes affecting crop systems; unprecedented ocean dynamics causing livelihood challenges for those dependent on the sea.
A lively discussion ensued on how to interpret climate impacts locally. Issues were raised about the importance of data, making the issues understood in local terms, and influencing local leadership to champion these efforts. The participants were tasked with persuading local elected officials with the importance of incorporating climate change into local planning processes.
Tomorrow we will shift to the institutional and legal frameworks that support Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA). We will also be discussing the science behind the most common disasters affecting the region, namely: floods, landslides, and coastal processes.