Citizen and Community Leadership in Natural Disaster Preparation,
Response and Recovery
Call to Action
Why do we need a National Community-led
· Currently there is a gap between the stated goal of governments in
wanting to give communities a pivotal role in emergency management, and the
skill and capacity of citizens and communities in assuming this
· There are not only real opportunities for community-led decision-making,
there is an urgent need through all stages of the disaster cycle.
· Governments are big, and bound by bureaucratic procedures. As such, they
are slow to adapt and can struggle to action desired strategies.
· Disaster recovery processes tend to reflect ‘Business as Usual’ rather
than embracing the opportunities inherent in disaster-impacted communities
· Community leaders and active citizens are desperate, because of their
experiences or interest, to have a lead role and a strong voice in managing the
risk. However, at present there are no avenues available to facilitate this.
· There needs to be a fundamental change or shift in the relationship
between citizen, community and Government. There is a crisis in governance and a
disaster brings this crisis in to clear relief.
· This shift needs to build on the passion, local knowledge and self-organising
capacities of communities and should signal a shift away from tier upon tier
decision-making to peer to peer collaboration.
· Deliberative and participatory stakeholder-inclusive processes initiated
as disaster preparedness strategies and then formally enacted as
disaster-response and disaster community renewal decision-making processes are
· The amalgamation of smaller local governments into larger Councils has
meant that in the aftermath of a disaster there is an absence of a local
authorising environment or agent at the township level. This creates
significant challenges in community preparedness, and in the response, personal
and community renewal after a disaster.
What could such an initiative do?
Focussing on preparation, prevention, response and renewal after disaster,
· Provide strong advocacy and direct representation of community interests,
and ideas and alternative strategies and approaches to emergency management
agencies and government departments.
· Provide input into and feedback on government, non-government
organisations, peak bodies, corporations and businesses emergency management
policy and strategy developments.
· Be proactive in advancing the issues experienced and identified by
communities to government, non-government organisations, peak bodies,
corporations and businesses.
· Provide a space that encourages and allows free and frank discussion
about issues arising from living with the risk and consequences of disasters,
outside the confines of government, NGOs and business.
· Resource, support and enable community groups and citizens
· Encourage and enable independent, citizen led, community participatory
action research and impacted community reviews of disaster events.
· Ensure grants and resources are accessible for community members and
groups to encourage initiative, diversity and local solutions to local issues.
· Connect community groups and citizens with common interest in disaster
resilience, community leadership and encourage trans-localism (the direct
sharing of experiences and learning between and across local communities)
· Be informed and directed by the issues arising at the community level
· Provide a channel/outlet for local community members who have developed
an interest and experience in community disaster responses and preparation.
· Foster a change in the disaster recovery paradigm from a government and
funded agency led approach focussed on individual and family welfare to a
community-led approach that is based on holistic community dynamics.
· Identify and seek investments and interventions to combat post-disaster
community dependence and decline.
· Explore socially innovative and entrepreneurial approaches to these
CLICK HERE to
register your interest in participating in the development of a National
Community Disaster Initiative.
PO Box 159 Yarraville Vic 3013
03 5629 8400
0425 722 890