Thursday, June 10, 2010

Role of Governance in Preparing for Disaster

Riyanti DjalanteGreetings from the Australian National University Canberra, where Riyanti Djalante is presenting on "Promoting resilience to disasters and climate change impacts in coastal cities in Indonesia". Climate change is likely to result in more extreme weather in Indonesia. Rather than wait for disaster to strike and then try to clean up, the UN suggests "resilience", with infrastructure and the social fabric strengthened in advance, so that effects are lessened.

The idea of resilience has some synergies with sustainable development. As an example, a local renewable energy source might be used to reduce dependence on imported fossil fuel and carbon emissions. However, it will also increase resilience, in the face of destruction of the power grid in a disaster.

Resilience was first applied to engineered systems such as buldings. But the term is also now being used for social structures. In terms of government and governance, it would be interesting to see how Government 2.0 (that is the application if advanced web systems to government) could be applied.

There is the risk that Gov 2.0 will increase the effects of disasters, by centralising functions and creating a single point of failure. Previously local government agencies would have local paper or computer records which could be used in a disaster. If the records are moved to "the cloud" and stored remotely in a national system, or in another country, the records may not be available when needed.

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