Disasters affect people in the society differently. For example, women, girls, boys and men, youth, elderly, people with disabilities, and ethnic and religious minorities all have different needs, vulnerabilities and priorities in disasters. The ability to prepare for, withstand and cope with disasters are therefore not equal for all.
- At the core, a gender and human rights perspective in Disaster Risk Management is about making sure that we, as DRM actors, carry out our work in a way respond to the needs and realities of the people we seek to serve, that we include them and listen to them. If we think about the diversity of needs, experiences, and priorities that we find in a population, it’s quite easy to see that a one-size-fits-all approach is likely to fail, says Jenny Molin, Gender Advisor to the PPRD East 3 programme.
Disasters cause more damage to marginalized groups in society
Marginalized groups in a society already experience a challenging situation before a disaster. When disasters strike, their situation typically gets worse and they are disproportionately at risk and vulnerable. To address how existing social inequalities shapes the impacts of disasters and to make sure no one is left behind in DRM efforts, a gender and human rights perspective is a the centre of all work in the EU funded PPRD East 3 programme.
The work is part of a broader approach in the programme to integrate gender, human rights and environmental perspectives as cross-cutting issues (CCIs) into to all phases and parts of the programme. The work is rooted in and seeks to contribute to the achievement of global and EU commitments and frameworks for DRM, including the Sendai Framework for DRR, and the European Framework for DRR. - Biological factors play a role in determining who is affected. For example, we may experience a specific vulnerability due to our age. But more importantly, we see that social norms and pre-existing inequalities in the society, and especially gender inequality, strongly shapes who is affected and in what way, says Jenny Molin.
The programme seeks to systematically apply and mainstream a gender and human rights perspective in the planning, implementation, and follow-up of programme activities, and within all the thematic areas of the programme. The work is a shared responsibility for the whole team and especially, the key experts working on the different thematic areas of the programme have an important role to play.
Showing the value to have a gender and human rights oriented perspective
Lia Romano at CIMA Research Foundation works as Risk Management Capacity Expert for PPRD East 3 and she explains that the majority of the governmental counterparts in our programme are men. This shows that Disaster Risk Management is still a field dominated by men, which implicate a unique point of view in reducing disaster risk. Being women, we show the value to have a different perspective, gender and human rights oriented, which helps to a better planning.
-Even though disasters don't select a certain gender to impact, they have a worse impact to women and the most vulnerable people, due to their physique, because they are often voiceless and have less access to information, says Lia Romano.
-This is a reason to continue to underline the importance to disaggregate data of the population, into gender, age and disability, which help to unpack the differentiated impacts of disasters and lead a more effective response capacity, she continues. Motivating young girls to become decision makers to increase the resilience to natural disaster
Within the PPRD East 3 programme, we encourage women participation to trainings and events, to promote gender equality, develop women's potential and improve the quality of public decisions and policies. It's undeniable an increasing of women working on disaster risk at national level, which are changing the way the government collaborate with the civil society. We hope the women participation and leadership could get down to the rural communities where the gender gap really is. Through our examples, we would like to motivate young girls to be women leaders and seats at the table of decision makers, to increase the resilience to natural disaster.
Suppporting our partner countries towards a more inclusive, efficient and flexible Civil Protection system
Chiara Gorni, Emergency Planning and Preparedness Officer - Italian Red Cross, shares her thoughts about the approach in the programme.
1. What is it like to work with a gender and human rights perspective as an expert in the programme?
-The work as Red Cross Planning and Preparedness expert in the PPRD EAST 3 programme includes mapping the existing capacity, and advising solutions and best practises to enhance this capacity. Moving the focus from response to prevention and preparedness in order to #BreakTheCycle and protect people before determined events can occur. The territorial capillarity that the Red Cross has in the partner countries is essential in regards to vulnerability assessment under many aspects throughout all phases of the emergency cycle, and both for planning and operations. For us, working with a gender and human rights perspective has always been part of every action, and every single part of the planning process, and that is why having our humanitarian organization within the consortium is a real added value.
2. Can you give concrete examples of how you are working with these perspectives?
-DRR starts from giving everybody the possibility to stay safe and protect their loved ones, and our work aims to plan at 360 degree with the above mentioned perspective, to inform and train people, in order for them to feel more prepared in the event of a disaster. We believe that an inclusive approach can help people feel part of the system, maintain best behaviors before and during emergencies, and help them switch from being possible victims to becoming a strength of the Civil Protection system.
We continuously use a Protection, Gender and Inclusion (PGI) approach that sets minimum standards during emergencies, therefore it could not be possible to avoid integrating it in our Planning Guidelines. All our activities and training have been enhancing the participation of men and women, and of the whole society focusing also on developing volunteer management and inclusion.
Our National Emergency Planning Guidelines, and all the annexed documents, include in fact particular attention to a broader stakeholder analysis, mapping of vulnerable categories and exposures, and practical advice to work on preparedness and on all the steps of planning with this perspective and without leaving no one behind.
3. What kind of effects do you expect to see from this work; in the partner organizations, DRM system and/or the population at large?
-Our work within the PPRD East 3 project aims to strengthen the capacities in emergency planning and response, including early warning and anticipatory action, updating existing emergency plans accordingly to the analysis of risks and vulnerabilities in order to reduce the possible impacts of disasters engaging the whole civil society and volunteer-based organizations.
This foresees a change of mindset which includes a new analysis of the stakeholders who can become part of the existing system to cover new needs and pick up different challenges, their collaboration, and an inclusive approach of the population through information and training events. We wish our work can support the partner countries towards an always more inclusive, efficient and flexible Civil Protection system.
To support the work, a Gender Advisor is tied to the programme and several guiding tools have been developed, such as the Practical Guidelines for integrating gender, human rights and environmental issues in DRM.
For more information on how the PPRD is working with cross-cutting issues in the programme, visit the CCI page in the website.
More information about the international day for disaster risk reduction: https://iddrr.undrr.org/
Protection, Gender and Inclusion | IFRC https://pgi.ifrc.org/resources/minimum-standards-protection-gender-and-inclusion-emergencies