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Lesson 2: Integrating risk into formal and informal disaster risk governance

The demonstration of the significant impact made by the cluster approach to managing specific areas of governance during TC Pam’s response phase needs to be translated into effective mechanisms for long term recovery or development planning and implementation. Importantly the clear allocation of roles and responsibilities between cluster specific or traditional development focused agencies will be vital in all aspects of the disaster risk management cycle. This essentially needs to entail emphasis on risk integration’ into cluster activities especially cluster agencies or sectors outside the cyclone season as well. Whilst the cluster system was more prevalent at the national level, strengthening cluster approach and humanitarian development synergies at the provincial level is similarly required. Investing in capacity at the provincial level is crucial given that this is often the level of formal governance closest to the people. By the same token, at the community level there is need to make best use of and strengthen existing traditional governance configurations where disaster governance is concerned. Clear allocation of roles is essential for effective disaster risk governance: if similar event was to occur in the future, knowing who to contact for each sector and activity is likely to increase the speed of coordination and implementation of recovery efforts.

Lesson 3: Integrating multiple knowledges for effective DRR

Additionally the established role of traditional knowledge relative to cyclone preparedness and response cannot be disputed (Government of Vanuatu 2015b). However, the utility of appropriate traditional knowledge requires strengthening and advocacy. This is particularly the case for food preservation before and after a cyclone, and the use of traditional cyclone resistant housing styles. The onset of El Nino has moreover pushed a number of communities to rely on traditional coping mechanisms for both water management and use. These practices need to be further studied and where necessary encouraged to be incorporated within broader cluster led preparedness messages in future.

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