♦ Summary by Aliya Sartbayeva Peleo
The Disaster Risk Reduction and Management: People-to-People Perspectives on Social Resilience Workshop was held on November 27th 2017 at the Risk Society and Policy Research Center, National Taiwan University in Taipei, Taiwan. The workshop was organized jointly by the RCEIAC, Center for Southeast Asian Studies of the National Sun Yat-sen University, and Risk Society and Policy Research Center of the National Taiwan University.
The Philippines is geographically and climactically closest to Taiwan amongst the Southeast Asian countries, thus sharing similar natural disaster risks such as typhoons, earthquakes, flooding and mudslides. Therefore, there is a social benefit for both countries from people-to-people engagement regarding the natural disaster risk prevention, management, recovery and overall social resilience among vulnerable population. Although both societies are located similarly at the hazardous ‘Rim of Fire’ of the Western Pacific, the governments of Taiwan and the Philippines, as well as the societies of people in Northern Luzon and Taiwan aspired to and attained different levels of disaster-related preparedness and operability. This workshop aim was to understand the similarities and differences in disaster preparedness, management and recovery between societies in Taiwan and Northern Luzon in the Philippines.
The Filipino participants of the workshop included Professor Leah Enkiwe-Abayao, Director of the Cordilera Studies Center, Professor Alejandro Jr. Nievares Ciencia, Chair of Department of Economics and Political Science and Professor Cecilia Fe Sta. Maria-Abalos, Chair of Departmnet of Communications from the University of the Philippines (UP) Baguio from Northern Luzon. The University of the Philippines (UP) Baguio is located in Baguio City, Cordillera Administrative Region and hosts the Knowledge and Training Resource Center (KTRC) for Disaster Management. Also, the UP Baguio campus is the geographically closest among other UP system units to the Southern Taiwan region.
Professor Leah Enkiwe-Abayao shared her work experience with the local multi-ethnic and multi-lingual indigenous communities in the Cordillera Administrative Region to prevent and manage natural disasters in her presentation entitled ‘Building Resilience in the Philippines’ Highland Communities’.
▲Prof. Leah Enkiwe-Abayao
Professor Alejandro Jr. Nievares Ciencia shared his project findings and lessons learnt from the disaster management training activities of the Knowledge and Training Resource Center (KTRC) established jointly with the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in UP Baguio.
▲Prof. Alejandro Jr. Nievares Ciencia
Professor Cecilia Fe L. Sta. Maria-Abalos shared her presentation from the disaster communications perspective about ‘Learnings, Ideas and Challenges on Communicating about Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) with Multiple Audience/Recipients.
▲Prof. Cecilia Fe L. Sta. Maria-Abalos
The Taiwanese participants were represented by the distinguished professors and researchers from the Risk Society and Policy Research Center of the National Taiwan University, Center for Southeast Asian Studies of the National Sun Yat-sen University, Institute of Sociology of the Academia Sinica, Science and Technology Center for Disaster Prevention and Reduction of the National University of Kaohsiung, Climate Change Division of the National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction, and Technology Policy Research and Information Center of the National Applied Research Laboratories. The workshop discussion was led and moderated by Professor Kuei-Tien Chou, Chief Director of the Risk Society and Policy Research Center, National Taiwan University and Professor Hung-Jeng Tsai, Director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, National Sun Yat-sen University.
The discussions included the issues of natural disaster prevention, management and recovery such as for example, (1) inconsistency in the language use by the national policy-makers and local government communities; (2) weaknesses in the coordination protocols among the stakeholders of disaster management; (3) difficulties in communication of the science-based evidence to the local communities; (4) the context of cultural and ethno-linguistic diversity in the Northern Luzon communities results in different mind-set and trust levels among scientists, government officials, first responders and indigenous communities; (5) incremental improvement in the disaster prevention, management and recovery ; (6) sustainability of the improvement efforts by international donors and other external actors to the Cordillera region; (7) interaction and coordination among engineers, natural scientists, social scientists, media/communication and management professionals who work on disaster prevention, management and recovery.