Exploring Disaster Recovery: Stakeholder Interfaces, Goals and Interdependencies

University dissertation from Lund University

Abstract: Popular Abstract in English Disaster risk management has seen the importance of coordination at various levels of planning and implementation, ranging from preparedness to disaster response, and in planning for long term recovery and sustainable development. There is a need to develop a deeper and analytical understanding of stakeholder coordination for disaster recovery. The thesis is based on case studies from the mega –disaster of the Indian Ocean tsunami that affected India in 2004 and one case-study from repeated flooding in the Western Cape in South Africa. The key question addressed is related to the factors affecting coordination for sustainable disaster recovery. The thesis presents factors identified as affecting coordination for sustainable disaster recovery. They are (1) Variety of stakeholders, and differing levels of participation; (2) The meaning of coordination; (3) Values; (4) Goals and Mandates; (5) Role of the Government; and (6) Interdependencies between stakeholders. Firstly, it sets the platform by understanding the major differences of coordination during disaster response and recovery. The main identified differences relate to stakeholders, information, engagement with activities in response and recovery, and the type of coordination itself. Interdependencies are identified as having crucial linkages in coordination for sustainable disaster recovery. Coordination in disaster recovery entails an engagement of different stakeholders from across sectors, disciplines, government and non-governmental organisations. Coordination is affected by the values, goals and mandates of different stakeholders. The starting point to working with interdependencies is to acknowledge its presence as a prerequisite for attaining disaster recovery. While there has been a discussion about recovery being a non-linear process with activities that cannot be undertaken by a single entity, there has not been much in dealing with these interdependencies in disaster recovery. Despite, repeated learning, coordination has always been a contested space in disaster risk management. Also, it raises the need for disaster governance debates to explore coordination as a challenge and engage with practical realities. As highlighted earlier, coordination has always been difficult to achieve in practice given a host of reasons explained above. Further, this thesis reiterates that coordination goes beyond information sharing and exchange of ideas. Collaborative efforts acknowledging interdependencies are highlighted as a key area that needs to be focused in recovery coordination.