Equity and Fairness in Community-Based Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction

In Disaster Risk and Management under Climate Change
Book Chapter
cover image

Equity and fairness have a high significance in Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation as it is evident that disasters affect communities differently depending on their developmental levels, and social status. Any public policy or intervention on disaster risk reduction deals with communities that are at different ‘starting lines’ in terms of their disaster vulnerabilities and hence should ensure that all can reach an identical ‘finishing line’ of reduced risks as an outcome of the intervention. To this effect, the paper presents a review of pertinent literature on how and to what extent the CBA and CBDRR approaches can achieve equity and fairness outcomes. In India, it was observed that disasters could trigger solidarity and altruistic motivations that could help in recovery from disaster. In Japan, equity and fairness issues were addressed through several policies. The discussion reveals that these approaches may not automatically result in equity and fairness and that there is a need for conscious efforts to ensure such outcomes even in participatory approaches. Hence, it is not merely the participation alone but also the level of participation and nature of participation that determines the equity and fairness outcomes of interventions. The practitioners and policy makers need to ask questions such as who is at risk, who is vulnerable, how the vulnerabilities are assessed, who assessed the vulnerabilities, how inclusive the process is, and if the process satisfies various aspects of equity and fairness. The paper lists important questions and indicators that help in assessing the extent to which a risk reduction intervention can achieve equity and fairness outcomes.