Civil society can play a number of important roles in supporting local and national governments in the development and implementation of resilience policies, standards and plans. However, civil society is often characterised by multiple low-capacity organisations often working in an isolated and uncoordinated manner. There are weak institutional capacities for collaboration and supporting broader public participation; limited trust and political space for engagement in government decision-making processes; agency competition for access to adequate and sustainable financial resources; and underdeveloped vision, leadership and strategic intent for integrated approaches.
As a result, GNDR is working hard to enhance the ability of civil society organisations and the people they represent (particularly marginalised high-risk groups) to work together and with other actors in a collaborative and coordinated manner. The network has a vision for a vibrant, active, collaborative civil society supporting people and their communities to forge partnerships and work with their governments and other relevant stakeholders to strengthen the resilience of communities and nations.
In order to achieve this vision, this 3-year GIZ-funded project aims to enhance collaboration capacities of civil society and cooperation with other stakeholders. Through strengthening GNDR’s governance and communications systems, assessing capacities of organisations and networks, and providing trainings, workshops and platforms for members, it will create the space for and strengthen the collaborative capacities through which civil society organisations and national and regional networks and platforms can interact, cooperate, build trust and constructive relationships, establish alliances and reduce isolation through association.
Establishment of Regional Advisory Groups
Regional Advisory Groups (RAGs) have been established as a new layer of governance to improve the representative governance structures at the regional and national levels. Depending on the region, the RAGs are composed of 7-15 national members from different countries, as well as one representative of GNDR’s Secretariat and the respective Global Board regional representative. The national focal points are appointed by GNDR members in each country to focus on members’ needs at the country level.
The RAGs last met between November and December 2018. The agendas focused on deciding priorities and actions for the next year, increasing members’ awareness of what’s happening across the network, and strengthening accountability within the RAG structure, along with agreeing on Terms of Reference. The RAGs meet annually and will be trained on skills relevant to the implementation of our strategy. RAG members will also be supported to travel to meet members in their country to enhance their knowledge of who they must represent. Regional-specific information from these RAG meetings can be found below:
- West & Central Africa
- Eastern Africa
- Latin America & Caribbean
- South Asia
- South East Asia & East Asia
The role of the RAGs is not executive, but to facilitate communications with members from the same country/region and provide support to our Regional Development Coordinators in the development of national networks with both GNDR members and other stakeholders.
Strengthening of communication and collaboration systems
GNDR’s Community Platform (running on Salesforce) is now up and running and offers a wide range of benefits to our members, including funding opportunities, opportunities to participate in campaigns, and space for members to collaborate, discuss thematic issues, share problems and crowdsource solutions, and connect with each other. This Community Platform is available to all GNDR members.
GNDR recently recategorised its membership in order to have a clearer picture of our membership and ensure that members are committed to working together to achieve GNDR’s vision. We now offer 3 types of membership: Full members are civil society organisations; Affiliates are individuals affiliated to a full member organisation; and Associates are individuals with a personal interest in being part of GNDR who are not affiliated with a full member organisation. As a result of this recategorisation process, we can confirm that our membership includes over 950 active civil society organisations.
Capacity assessment of GNDR members
In November 2018 the GNDR Secretariat sent a capacity assessment survey to its members. We received an excellent response rate to this survey, with over 200 organisations responding. Some of the key learnings were:
- Our membership is varied, with very varied capacities, sizes, confidence in different areas and funding. This means that addressing their needs and strengthening their capacity may prove challenging, and may require a tailored approach, with tailored trainings available at different levels.
- Members have quite high expectations of the Secretariat and its role in delivering capacity-strengthening opportunities. In order to meet these expectations, the Secretariat may need to secure additional funding.
- Members expect the Secretariat to support them in more than just DRR technical expertise. They expect us to also build their capacity as DRR actors – which may involve supporting their organisational development.
- This includes strengthening capacity on fundraising as members clearly state that it is inhibiting their ability to carry out their work on DRR.
- Although some members have expressed that they have partnered with other members, there is clearly substantial room for us to do more in this area and to foster more collaboration.
The Secretariat has already carried out a number of actions in response to the survey, and more information will be shared with members in due course.
National, regional and global collaborative workshops to build capacities
GNDR is constantly working to improve collaboration both within civil society and with other stakeholders, particularly government agencies and the private sector. This includes trainings and capacity-building workshops with members.
6 regional collaboration workshops were held in November and December 2017. These meetings aimed to promote the exchange of ideas and dialogue, allow the development of linkages across disciplines and practices, craft systems-wide perspectives and identify opportunities for collaboration.
The West and Central Africa workshop was held in Mali from 11th-13th December. Entitled ‘Stronger Together for a resilient development’, the workshop encouraged participants to share their DRR experiences, particularly with regards to increasing community resilience. The workshop provided updates on GNDR’s membership in West and Central Africa, along with discussions surrounding GNDR’s governance systems and the role and responsibilities of the Regional Advisory Groups (RAGs). During the workshop, GNDR’s membership recategorisation process was discussed, providing participants with the opportunity to raise questions or concerns. There were also sessions in which project partners were able to share information about activities and impact of the Frontline programme and introduce the Institutionalising Sustainable CBDRM programme. In order to help build the advocacy capacity of members, a training session in advocacy and lobbying was held, highlighting the differences between and principles of the two. Both during and after the workshop, areas of collaboration among GNDR members both within the region and more widely were identified.
The Caribbean workshop was held in the Dominican Republic from 13th-15th December. The workshop provided an opportunity to introduce GNDR’s new regional governance structure and promote the benefits of sharing knowledge and best practices at the regional level. Sessions included discussions surrounding GNDR’s ongoing membership recategorisation process, along with a fundraising strategy being developed to support members in applying for funding. The workshop also aimed to identify appropriate ways in which members can work together in order to enhance their disaster management and advocacy capacities. During the workshop, participants also explored the concepts of sustainable and institutionalised community-based disaster risk management (CBDRM).
The Central America workshop was held in El Salvador from 5th-7th December. It aimed to (i) increase the capacity of members to provide disaster relief and community support; (ii) share GNDR’s new regional governance structures; (iii) enhance the advocacy capacity of members in international DRR policy-making; and (iv) share members’ experiences working in CBDRM.
The South America workshop was held in Colombia from 20th November-1st December. It aimed to (i) share experiences and build knowledge around CBDRM and networking; (ii) increase awareness of the programmes being implemented by GNDR; and (iii) introduce the new regional governance structure to reflect challenges facing the region and arising from the membership recategorisation. Sessions included the discussions surrounding GNDR’s Institutionalising Sustainable CBDRM programme and the promotion of case studies highlighting the success factors of CBDRM, in addition to networking opportunities and discussions surrounding GNDR’s new governance and membership structures. The workshop also identified priorities for the region and ways in which the Secretariat can support members.
The South East Asia, East Asia and Pacific workshop was held in Indonesia from 4th-6th December. It aimed to expose members to the severity of a relatively less common but intensive disaster (volcanic eruption in this case) and to orient members with the National Advocacy Toolkit GNDR developed to support members in conducting advocacy and campaign initiatives. During a field visit, participants were exposed to the harsh realities surrounding and learned about the new economic opportunities (mining, tourism) that arose after a major volcanic eruption in 2010.
The South Asia workshop was held in Nepal from 19th-21st December. It aimed to facilitate learning, networking and capacity building among GNDR members. The workshop included a field visit to observe and learn from a government-led construction initiative that GNDR member and workshop host NSET has been facilitating since the Gorkha Earthquake in 2015. The workshop also included and an orientation to GNDR’s National Advocacy Toolkit – a compilation of tools and techniques that can be used for developing advocacy initiatives at different levels. During this session, participants were walked through the toolkit and provided with an opportunity to practice using some of these tools.
National Coordination Meetings
In response to feedback from members, GNDR has recently facilitated a number of coordination meetings at the national level to bring members together and encourage them to think about joint advocacy and partnership activities. Meetings have already been held in:
- Latin America and the Caribbean: Colombia, Peru, Honduras
- West and Central Africa: Gambia, Benin, DRC, Nigeria
- Eastern Africa: Burundi, Somalia, Uganda
- Asia Pacific: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam
More National Coordination Meetings will be happening throughout 2019, so watch this space.
We held our biennial Global Summit with our members in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 22nd-25th May 2018. This summit brought 100+ civil society organisations, UN agencies, governments and development partners together to increase collaboration and knowledge to reduce disaster risk. With a theme of Stronger Together: Connecting Communities, this year’s Summit aimed to:
- Improve understanding of GNDR
- Facilitate collaboration between GNDR members and a wide range of stakeholders
- Enhance accountability of GNDR’s governance structures and advisory bodies
- Empower members to share knowledge and experience
The 2018 summit had a strong focus on being member-driven. For the first time, members were given the opportunity to lead sessions, better enabling them to share their experiences and expertise with each other.
Partnership Brokers Association Training
The Partnership Brokers Association Training teaches participants how to initiate and manage partnerships. This training has been undertaken by our regional staff and was offered to all Global Summit participants.
Words into Action Guide on How to Build Resilience Collaboratively
GNDR has been asked by UNISDR to develop a guide on How to Build Resilience Collaboratively. This will act as one of UNISDR’s guides to accompany the SFDRR and disseminated to governments. GNDR is seeking some extra support staff to help with this large project, and will work collaboratively with other actors to develop the guide, incorporating lessons from our ongoing project – Institutionalising Sustainable CBDRM.