1st Annual Roundtable Canada's Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction

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Table of Contents

Letter from the Advisory Committee

As the Advisory Committee for Canada's Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, we are pleased to present you with the final report for the inaugural National Roundtable on Disaster Risk Reduction which took place in Fredericton, New Brunswick on October 26, 2010. This report summarizes the welcoming remarks made by the provincial and federal ministers; the keynote presentation made by Dr. Sálvano Briceño and presentation by the Platform' interim Advisory Committee; the deliberative dialogue discussions and, most importantly, identifies key themes for advancing Canada's Platform.

We were pleased to see so many people attend the launch of the Platform and participate in the discussions at the Roundtable event. Canada's Platform endeavours to build a safer and more resilient Canada through the reduction of risks and leveraging of capacities and opportunities across all levels of government, non-governmental organizations, private and academic sectors, and the general public. Building a resilient Canada requires a joint commitment across all sectors to take appropriate risk management and risk reduction steps well in advance of potential disasters. The Roundtable served as an excellent opportunity to bring these sectors together for a meaningful and productive first dialogue to begin advancing this vision.

We would like to thank everyone who attended and participated in this Roundtable event, contributing your thoughts and discussions to the implementation of Canada's Platform. To be effective in reducing risks in Canada, we need to strengthen out ability to work collectively, in an integrated manner, to support and advance disaster risk reduction activities at all levels. With the circulation of this report, let us collectively commit ourselves to exploring strategies to address the suggestions for action and to committing ourselves to advance these actions in our respective areas of influence.

We look forward to seeing you at the 2nd Annual Roundtable to be held in Ottawa, Ontario in October 2011, where we can take stock of where we have been and continue our discussions on where we are going.

Sincerely,

Canada's Platform Advisory Committee

Serge C. Beaudoin (co-chair)
Ernest MacGillivray (co-chair)
Mark Baker
Gordon McBean
Francis Bradley
David Day
Louise Geoffrion
Ron Kuban
Laurie Pearce
David McCormack

Executive Summary

In January 2005, 168 Governments, including Canada, adopted the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), under the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR). The HFA is a non-binding international guidance tool which seeks to reduce the human, social, economic and environmental costs of disasters.

In June 2009, as part of its commitment to deliver on the HFA, Canada announced the establishment of a National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction to build multi-stakeholder coordinated leadership in Disaster Risk Reduction. Canada's Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction has been organized to comprise four interconnected components: an Advisory Committee; General Membership; Working Groups; and a Secretariat, which is housed at Public Safety Canada. The four components of Canada's Platform convene annually at the National Roundtable on Disaster Risk Reduction. Canada's Platform objectives are to raise awareness, provide strategic advice to policy makers, and enhance stakeholder collaboration on domestic and international disaster risk reduction activities.

On October 26, 2010, Canada launched the Platform and held its inaugural Roundtable, in Fredericton New Brunswick, at the Delta Fredericton Hotel from 13:00 – 20:00. Over 70 participants attended the Roundtable from across public, private, academic, volunteer and non-governmental sectors.

The Roundtable featured a keynote address delivered by Sálvano Briceño, the Director of the Secretariat of the UN/ISDR, and was facilitated by John Neily and Brenda Chartrand with the Conference Board of Canada. Minister Trevors, Government of New Brunswick's Ministry of Public Safety, officially opened the Roundtable. Minister Toews, Public Safety Canada, was unfortunately unable to attend and wrote a letter to delegates, which was read by Associate Assistant Deputy Minister Daniel Lavoie (Public Safety Canada), in his stead.

The purpose of the Roundtable was to bring together the general membership of Canada's Platform in an open, inclusive, equitable forum. The objectives of the Roundtable were:

The Roundtable began with welcoming remarks and the keynote address, and was followed by a presentation made by the interim Advisory Committee's co-chairs (Public Safety Canada and the Government of New Brunswick). Following a health break, participants were moved into a breakout room where they participated in a deliberative dialogue process involving three discussion groups which rotated every 40 minutes.

Discussion groups focussed on the following three questions:

  1. In recognition of the Platform's vision, what do you believe is currently working well that could support that vision?
  2. What are the:
    • Gaps in our capabilities to address this vision?  
    • Priority areas?
    • Actions required?
  3. How do we address / achieve leadership and engagement on each of the priorities identified?

The deliberative dialogue was facilitated by the Conference Board of Canada, with each group having their own facilitator (Conference Board), note-taker (Roundtable participant) recorder (Public Safety Canada), and discussion anchor (Roundtable participant). At the conclusion of the deliberative dialogue process, participants moved back to the plenary room for dinner. The note-taker, facilitator, discussion anchor and recorder for each session came together for a quick reporting session to inform the wrap-up and next steps.

Advisory Committee members were elected over the course of dinner, and participants were invited to make concluding remarks upon the conclusion of the evening, offering comments on how they felt they could individually advance objectives of the Platform over the coming year.

Key themes and priorities which arose over the course of the plenary and deliberative dialogue sessions include:

Things that are currently going well that support the Platform's vision:

Gaps in our capabilities to address the Platform's vision:

Priorities and proposed actions:

To advance the priorities, Roundtable participants flagged four key thematic areas:

Moving forward from this first Roundtable event requires the ongoing support and commitment of all components of Canada's Platform – the Advisory Committee, the General Membership, Working Groups and the Secretariat. These priorities belong to the Platform as a whole to advance, with each component and member responsible for doing what they can to continue strengthening disaster risk reduction efforts in Canada. Over the coming months, the Advisory Committee will be working with the key themes from this Report to develop an Action Plan for the Platform to present to the General Membership at the next Roundtable to be held in Ottawa, Ontario in October, 2011.

Background

The Hyogo Framework for Action: 2005-2015

In January 2005, 168 Governments, including Canada, adopted the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters (HFA), under the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR). The HFA is a non-binding international guidance tool which seeks to reduce the human, social, economic and environmental costs of disasters.

In identifying the concepts of disaster risk reduction, the UN/ISDR describes disaster risk reduction as a conceptual framework consisting of ways and means to minimize disaster risks by reducing the degree of vulnerability and increasing resilience capacity; and to avoid (prevention) or to limit (mitigation and preparedness) the adverse impacts of natural hazards as a sustainable development approach1.

In setting out the objectives for the HFA, the UN/ISDR articulates five (5) priorities for action:

  1. Governance – Ensure that disaster risk reduction is a national and local priority with a strong institutional basis for implementation;
  2. Risk Identification – Identify, assess and monitor disaster risks and enhance early warning;
  3. Knowledge – Use knowledge, innovation and education to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels;
  4. Reducing the underlying risk factors in various sectors (environment, health, construction, private sector as examples); and
  5. Strengthen disaster preparedness for effective response.

Canada's Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction

In June 2009, as part of its commitment to deliver on the HFA, Canada announced the establishment of a National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction to build multi-stakeholder coordinated leadership in Disaster Risk Reduction.

A National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction can broadly be defined as an assembly of interdisciplinary stakeholders brought together by their shared interest in reducing the risks posed by disasters. A National Platform seeks to build a sense of national, cross-sectoral ownership in the disaster risk reduction process through coordinated leadership and action. National ownership is built through an inclusive, participatory process used to help guide National Platforms.

National Platforms bring together stakeholders from a broad cross section of society including the public sector, the private sector, academia, non-governmental organizations, professional associations, and Aboriginal groups.

Canada's Platform consists of four interconnected components:

  1. Advisory Committee: A committee consisting of representatives from key disaster risk reduction sectors guides, sets priorities, and supports the development, implementation and operation of Canada's Platform.
  2. General Membership: Interested stakeholders may belong to Canada's Platform through participation in existing sectoral fora, or through individual membership. The National Roundtable brings together all disaster risk reduction stakeholders at an annual plenary meeting (the National Roundtable).
  3. Working Groups: Interested Platform members can assemble working groups based on specific issues or priority activities.  Working Groups are connected to Canada's Platform via the Advisory Committee.
  4. Secretariat: A secretariat located within Public Safety Canada supports the ongoing activities of the Advisory Committee and the National Roundtable.

Canada's Platform objectives are:

  1. To work in an integrated manner to reduce risk, vulnerability and impacts of natural and non-natural disasters to Canadians;
  2. Provide a coordinating mechanism for disaster risk reduction across sectors and using our existing networks; and
  3. To support stakeholders with relevant knowledge and information.

Within the Platform's operating processes, the four components of Canada's Platform are to convene annually at the National Roundtable on Disaster Risk Reduction.

Annual National Roundtable

On October 26, 2010, Canada launched the Platform and held its inaugural Roundtable, in Fredericton New Brunswick, at the Delta Fredericton Hotel from 13:00 – 20:00. Over 70 participants attended the Roundtable from across public, private, academic, volunteer and non-governmental sectors. Appendix B shows the breakdown of participants and the types of organizations / sectors represented.

The purpose of the Roundtable was to bring together the general membership of Canada's Platform in an open, inclusive, equitable forum. The Roundtable serves as a venue for Canada's ongoing national dialogue on disaster risk reduction, the administrative annual general meeting for the Platform, and an opportunity for deliberative dialogue among disaster risk reduction stakeholders. The objectives for the Roundtable were:

  1. To launch Canada's Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction;
  2. To discuss the vision for Canada's Platform and identify key priorities for action and areas for collaboration;
  3. Enable inclusive, horizontal and participatory dialogue with disaster risk reduction stakeholders across Canada; and
  4. To identify and confirm Canada's Platform Advisory Committee.

The Roundtable was facilitated by John Neily and Brenda Chartrand with the Conference Board of Canada. Participants engaged in a deliberative dialogue process following opening remarks and keynote address made by invited dignitaries and experts.

Deliberative dialogue is a structured facilitation process that engages stakeholders in a way that helps draw out important values and trade-offs associated with pursuing a particular strategic policy direction. Through a shared exploration of different perspectives, participants thoughtfully discuss a complex issue in potentially new ways that tend to break away from habitual positions or “stuck” and pre-determined solutions.

The Roundtable deliberative dialogue process was facilitated by the Conference Board of Canada, with each group having their own facilitator (Conference Board), note-taker (Roundtable participant) recorder (Public Safety Canada) and discussion anchor (Roundtable participant). Three groups were formed and asked to reflect on and discuss a specific question for 40 minutes, rotating to new groups for each of the following questions:

  1. In recognition of the Platform's vision, what do you believe is currently working well that could support that vision?
  2. What are the:
    • Gaps in our capabilities to address this vision?  
    • Priority areas?
    • Actions required?
  3. How do we address / achieve leadership and engagement on each of the priorities identified?

At the conclusion of the deliberative dialogue process, participants moved back to the plenary room for dinner. The note-taker, facilitator, recorder and discussion anchors for each session came together for a quick reporting session to inform the wrap-up and next steps.

Advisory Committee members were elected over the course of dinner, and participants were invited to make concluding remarks upon the conclusion of the evening, offering comments on how they felt they could individually advance objectives of the Platform over the coming year (see Appendix A for list of personal commitments made by Roundtable participants).

The Co-Chairs concluded the evening, remarking that following the review of the Roundtable results, they would provide a report and an action plan back to the General Membership.

Written feedback provided by participants of the Roundtable indicated that over 88% were satisfied that the meeting achieved its stated objectives (see Appendix C for summary of evaluation results).

There were significant documents and background materials provided to registered participants prior to the meeting and upon arrival at the Roundtable. This included a copy of all presentations and relevant background reference materials. For a copy of the Participant Workbook and/or the electronic reference documents, including presentations, please contact the DRR Secretariat by email at: ps.drr-rrc.sp@canada.ca

Greetings by Minister of Public Safety New Brunswick

As the Provincial host for the Roundtable, the Honourable Robert B. Trevors, Minister of Public Safety New Brunswick, opened the Roundtable by welcoming participants to Fredericton, New Brunswick. He stressed the vital role we all play in helping to support safer and more resilient communities, further noting how proud he is of the variety of initiatives that are underway by federal-provincial-territorial governments in the support of emergency management in Canada.

Minister Trevors spoke about recent disaster events in the Province of New Brunswick, most notably the spring flood of 2008, with damages approaching $100 million. Minister Trevors said, “New Brunswick residents have first hand knowledge of the damage that spring floods and severe storms can cause. We can count on the public to support the governments' efforts to reduce the risks before disasters strike, but governments cannot do this alone. The National Platform enables government, non-government and private sector organizations to work together to reduce risk and make Canada and our communities safer.”

Greetings by Minister of Public Safety Canada

The Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety Canada wrote a letter to delegates, which was read by Daniel Lavoie, Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Public Safety Canada. “As Minister of Public Safety, I am very pleased to extend greetings to all of you in attendance at the launch of Canada's Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction,” wrote Minister Toews, “Unfortunately, I could not be
with you today. But I am very proud of the work that has gone into making this day a reality and want to offer my deepest appreciation to everyone.”

Minister Toew's letter to the participants at the Roundtable spoke about Canada's commitment to advancing the objectives under the Hyogo Framework for Action, and Public Safety Canada's support for Canada's Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction. The Minister stressed that each participant has a role to play in disaster risk reduction and that the Platform will play a key role in reducing disaster risk in Canada.

Keynote Address

Dr. Sálvano Briceño
Director of the Inter-Agency Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction

Dr. Sálvano Briceño was appointed the Director of the Secretariat of UN/ISDR in June 2001. His career spans over several decades and has focused on the management of environmental and sustainable development programmes at the United Nations, the World Conservation Union and the Government of Venezuela.

At the Roundtable, Dr. Briceño presented on global data, trends and economic perspectives on natural disasters; provided an overview and background on the UN/ISDR and the HFA; and spoke in detail about climate change as a main disaster reduction issue.

In referring to the paradigm shift that is needed to understand and deliver on disaster risk reduction, Dr. Briceño spoke of the widely accepted perception that disasters are inevitable due to their reference as 'natural' which encourages the avoidance of responsibility at many levels in actively preventing/ mitigating hazards. He stated that in reality, disasters are increasing as a direct result of individual and collective vulnerabilities, not because there are more hazards. In making that point, he emphasized that disasters are not natural in isolation; they only become a disaster when there is human vulnerability.

Risk reduction is one of six principles of sustainability, requiring that acknowledgement of the wider challenges of risk reduction be taken into consideration within the context of sustainable development. Governments and national organizations are starting to prepare for the next Earth Summit in 2012, where a focus will be placed on the integration of sustainable development with risk reduction and disaster resilience.

A World Bank-led study on the economics of disaster reduction notes that investment in prevention reduces costs to society. Dr. Briceño encouraged Canada to recognize itself as an existing leader in this area, especially given the example of the country's support for the construction of the Manitoba Red River floodway.

Dr. Briceño spent time discussing the important role of individual citizens in disaster risk reduction, as well as that of the private sector. He noted that the private sector can play a key role by integrating disaster risk reduction into policies and programs aimed at business continuity and corporate social responsibility. Dr. Briceño also noted that the media is often most influential in shaping attitudes and changing behaviors through supporting awareness and public education.

In applauding the initiative to create the Canadian Platform and the approach that was being taken, Dr. Briceño reinforced that the primary function of these platforms as a multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder consultation mechanism linked to higher levels of authority for advice, facilitation of risk reduction processes in a country, city, province or town. He closed by emphasizing that each participant in Canada's Platform has an opportunity to contribute to the Platform and its important objectives.

Co-Chair Address, Canada's Platform Advisory Committee

Serge C. Beaudoin, Director General, Public Safety Canada and Ernest MacGillivray, Director, Public Safety New Brunswick

Serge C. Beaudoin, Director General, Public Safety Canada and Ernest MacGillivray, Director, Public Safety New Brunswick addressed participants on behalf of the interim National Platform Advisory Committee. They provided context for disaster risk reduction in Canada by speaking about the Canadian hazardscape, provided the background and context for the establishment of Canada's Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, overviewed the governance model and organizational chart for Canada's Platform, and spoke about the Roundtable – articulating the objectives for the day and providing a sense of where we are headed post Roundtable.

The Co-Chairs built upon the highlights of the keynote presentation. They stated to the participants that it was their view that emergency management requires a cross-sectoral, integrated and comprehensive approach. The Co-Chairs spoke of the desire of the Advisory Committee to foster ongoing dialogue and activity through the establishment of working groups, and pointed to the recently formed Working Group on Science and Technology as an example of how working groups may be formed.

Results of Deliberative Dialogue

Results of Question 1

Question 1: Based on your sphere of influence and in recognition of the Platform's vision, what do you believe is currently working well that could support the vision?

Initiation of cultural shift towards disaster risk reduction
There was recognition among participants of the need to evolve beyond the traditional short-term preparedness and response based approach to disaster management towards a more sustainable disaster mitigation and risk reduction based approach. Participants felt that this cultural shift is beginning to take root at many levels across Canada. Community resilience initiatives like the District of North Vancouver's 'Making Cities Resilient' nomination through the UN/ISDR were referenced as evidence of the beginning of this cultural shift.

Many of the components required to build a disaster resilient Canada already exist
Participants reported that many of the components required for building a disaster resilient Canada already exist. In support of this, participants noted that Canada benefits from a high standard of living, including strong social service, community planning, building codes and emergency response capabilities. Many of the domestic governments, organizations and networks are already involved in disaster risk reduction activities; they simply need to be better integrated. Additionally, international support through organizations like the UN/ISDR is also available to support Canada's Platform.  

Equitable and collaborative stakeholder relationships 
Participants reported that the most effective stakeholder relationships are those in which all parties are engaged in a participatory and collaborative manner. In order for these relationships to remain active and relevant, participants highlighted the importance of inclusivity, regular engagement and ongoing work. Intergovernmental engagement among Federal, Provincial and Territorial governments on issues of emergency management was cited as an example of an equitable, collaborative network that was seen to be working well.

Lessons from previous disasters are being integrated into planning
With the increasing focus and accessibility of disaster information, both during and after an event, participants reported that many of their networks are integrating specific lessons learned from previous disasters into their new planning processes. The accessibility of “after action” reports from organizations like the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the United States, the UN/ISDR and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies contribute to improved planning and decision making.

Broad participation in Canada's Platform
With respect to Canada's Platform itself, participants reported that the inclusive governance and open membership model of the Platform facilitates broad stakeholder participation.  Participants said that the inclusion of existing networks, the international community and any other interested parties is a good approach.  It was also noted that while the foundation and many mechanisms are in place to realize the Platform's vision, broadening participation should continue to be sought across all sectors.

Results of Question 2

Question 2: (a) What are the gaps in our capabilities to address the Platform's vision? (b) What are the priorities and (c) what actions are required to close the gap?
NB: Sections (b) and (c) have been combined below for clarity.

(a) What are the gaps in our capabilities to address this vision?

Lack of financial support for mitigation and disaster risk reduction
One of the gaps reported is the availability of dedicated national financial support for disaster mitigation and risk reduction activities.  Participants noted that despite the recognition of the importance of supporting disaster risk reduction, there is not yet a comprehensive means for communities to access the support mechanisms to establish and maintain these proactive, long-term risk reduction initiatives.

Silos remain across many disaster risk reduction disciplines
Participants also spoke about the silos that continue to exist across many disaster risk reduction stakeholder disciplines.  Participants noted that while the field of emergency management has experienced success in breaking down silos across jurisdictions and disciplines, groups not traditionally integrated in the emergency management system (e.g. municipal planners, insurance providers, private sector, etc.) need to be systematically engaged and included in disaster risk reduction communications and related initiatives.

Difficulties related to evidence-based planning and decision making
Many disaster-related planning and decision making initiatives were described by participants as being reactive to past disasters and not rooted in research or best practices. A number of possible contributing factors were reported that could help account for this:

Challenges in accurately measuring progress and effectiveness of resilience building measures
Participants reported that no consistent, accurate means of measuring the performance of resilience building measures are in use across Canada.  The inability to implement consistent metrics was reported as a challenge to both stakeholders looking to create disaster risk reduction programs and end-users of related programs.

Inconsistent capabilities across jurisdictions, especially across the urban/rural divide  
Expectation management regarding assistance in times of disaster was identified as a gap.  For example, some forms of messaging, like the “72 hour” campaign, imply that all Canadians will have access to some level of response within 72 hours of a disaster event, whereas participants emphasized that rural and remote Canadians likely faced the prospect of varying levels and timelines for response.

(b) What are the priorities and (c) what actions are required to close the gap?

Results of Question 3

Question 3: How do we address/achieve leadership and engagement?

Strengthening national level leadership for disaster risk reduction
Participants said that in recognition of the cultural shift towards disaster risk reduction, there is a need for concerted national level leadership in supporting disaster risk reduction across emergency management engagement fora. This includes reviewing national policy documents such as An Emergency Management Framework for Canada, which sets out Canada's approach to emergency management, with a view to integrating disaster risk reduction across the four components of emergency management.  Additionally, participants noted the importance of funding to support disaster risk reduction and prevention/mitigation activities. Finally, it was noted that the Platform needs to advocate that these discussions include all sectors, empowering all stakeholders to share responsibility in advancing disaster risk reduction to ensure that issues of long-term sustainability are not overshadowed by uncoordinated reactions to the most recent high profile disaster. 

Continuing to engage disaster risk reduction stakeholders as equal partners
Participants reported that much of the strength of Canada's Platform model was derived from the inclusive, collaborative governance and membership structure.  By engaging all stakeholders as equal partners, traditional disaster risk reduction stakeholders, including governments and first responders, are demonstrating their understanding and commitment to shifting to a disaster risk reduction approach to managing disaster.  Equitable engagement facilitates both increased engagement and demonstrates leadership among traditional disaster risk reduction stakeholders.

Increasing the engagement of the media as partners in disaster risk reduction
One group that was identified by participants who should be engaged and invited to play a more prominent role in Canada's Platform is the media.  Participants highlighted the important role that the media plays in emergency communications, as well as in bringing important issues to the attention of the general public.  Members of the media who participate in Canada's Platform would benefit from the opportunity to speak with a broad cross section of disaster risk reduction stakeholders to help inform their work and help build relationships which could expedite access to information during disasters.

Increasing the engagement of the private sector as partners in disaster risk reduction
Participants also identified the need to engage with the private sector in disaster risk reduction. Numerous elements of the private sector including critical infrastructure sectors, insurance companies, banking sector, retailers and others were all mentioned within the context of international best practices.  Participants also reported that they would value an opportunity to engage with the private sector through the Platform, as they are a non-traditional, but very important group, who are not always adequately represented on disaster issues.

Owning the accountability for disaster risk reduction
Numerous and diverse stakeholders and disciplines share a vested interest in disaster risk reduction. In light of the complex intersections of mandated roles and responsibilities, participants suggested that members of Canada's Platform should demonstrate both institutional and personal commitments to the concept of disaster risk reduction.  Through living and embodying the tenets of disaster risk reduction, members become agents of change, increasing the resilience of Canada through their mandated professional roles, and also as family members and community leaders.  To this end, participants spontaneously decided to close the Roundtable proceedings by each providing a personal statement of affirmation to the Platform which outlined one contribution that they intend to make to disaster risk reduction before the second Roundtable in 2011. These statements can be seen in their entirety in Appendix A.

Way Forward and Conclusion

Way Forward

This section seeks to highlight a synthesis of some of the proposed forward-looking themes which emerged from the deliberative dialogue process at the National Roundtable. The themes in this section will be used to help inform the forthcoming National Platform Work Plan to be developed by the Advisory Committee.  

Strengthening National Leadership for Disaster Risk Reduction
Moving forward, Canada's Platform is in a unique position to provide interdisciplinary national and international guidance and support in disaster risk reduction policies and activities.  Exploring resourcing options, capacity building and collaborative engagement opportunities would strengthen and advance national disaster risk reduction issues and address identified gaps in this area.  This could include activities such as exploring funding options for disaster prevention/mitigation, integrating disaster risk reduction into national emergency management sectoral fora and activities, and including Canada's Platform components in national and international policy activities and discussions.

Increasing the Engagement of Disaster Risk Reduction Stakeholders
Given the overwhelmingly positive response to the inclusive, collaborative approached adopted by Canada's Platform and the National Roundtable, it is important that this model is maintained and supported across disaster risk reduction sectors.  This includes expanding participation in Canada's Platform to include non-traditional disaster risk reduction stakeholders, including the private sector, the media and community level actors.  Sustainable societal resilience is built not by single events like the National Roundtable, but by the daily actions of individuals, communities and organizations to reduce disaster risks.   Through Canada's Platform, members will have access to resources and expertise to assist in advancing disaster risk reduction in their respective areas of professional, community and personal responsibility.  As a starting point Canada's Platform could explore interest in establishing a working group on community resilience.

Fostering Disaster Risk Reduction Research and Knowledge Exchange
The discipline of disaster risk reduction is still growing in Canada.  As such, continuing research and knowledge in this field could benefit from ongoing engagement and support from Canada's Platform. Recent disasters around the world have highlighted the importance of implementing research based policies in order to reduce the impacts of disaster risks.  The establishment of Canada's Platform's first working group in the field of science and technology is a good first step in the growth and integration of disaster risk reduction research and knowledge in policies, programs and practices.  As Canada's Platform continues to advance, the Science and Technology Working Groups links with the international community through the International Council for Science's Integrated Research on Disaster Risk program should serve to help align the scientific work of Canada's Platform members with other regional and international projects, while providing important Canadian specific content. Activities to enable this could include supporting domestic research and education activities and Canadian case studies in the impact of mitigation and disaster risk reduction.

Demonstrating Value and Accountability in Disaster Risk Reduction
The most effective disaster risk reduction measures employ structural and non-structural initiatives over a sustained period, making it difficult to pin point the efficacy of individual contributions.  In order to help clarify the benefits of disaster risk reduction actions, such as hazard prevention and mitigation, Canada's Platform should explore the development of an evidence based value proposition for disaster risk reduction.  This value proposition could benefit national engagement and contribute to international good practices.  It would benefit Canada's Platform to also quantify its own efficacy in reducing disaster risks for Canadians.  Through a performance measurement framework, Canada's Platform would be able to better understand and monitor its performance and value.   

Conclusion

Canada's inaugural Roundtable on Disaster Risk Reduction was a success.  For the first time, disaster risk reduction stakeholders from all disciplines were invited to participate in an open, inclusive forum. The results of this collaborative event are a clear direction for Canada's Platform and an immense up swell of enthusiasm and optimism for the future of disaster risk reduction in Canada.  The onus is now on Canada's Platform Advisory Committee, Working Groups, General Members and the Secretariat to build on the momentum and energy of the Roundtable to make real improvement in disaster risk reduction in Canada.

It is important to note that the General Membership, which is to say – all Roundtable participants and stakeholders interested in working collaboratively to advance disaster risk reduction in Canada, plays a crucial and central role in continuing to expand and action the Platform's vision.  Canada's Platform has been designed to enable and support activity at any and all levels – and is built upon the premise that its General Membership is rich with experience, knowledge and expertise to be leveraged and augmented through opportunity and engagement.  The Roundtable in Fredericton, while successful in its achievement of objectives to launch the Platform and bring people together for the first time to begin discussions about supporting national disaster risk reduction, is only the first in a series of many steps along the way.  There is much to be done to continue moving the bar forward in this field and moving this bar requires the ongoing support and commitment from all components and all members.

It is hoped that this report inspires interest to continue connecting to others working in this area, to envision new ways to work together, to take advantage of the networks that have been established, and to go further and in new directions. Canada's Platform is your Platform – directed by the General Membership and advanced by the work of the General Membership. If you want to become more actively engaged, contact the Secretariat to share your ideas, connect to work that is ongoing and discuss how to create new opportunities.

Working Groups are an excellent way to get involved in specific areas of interest, and may be created at any time by anyone, so long as they are sponsored by an Advisory Committee member.  If you are interested in joining an existing Working Group or creating a new Working Group, contact the Secretariat or one of the Advisory Committee members.

Canada's Platform has benefitted from an inclusive approach to developing the Platform model and Roundtable format. Moving forward it is crucial that this in inclusive approach be maintained.  The more stakeholders who are involved in Canada's Platform, and who are given the opportunity to shape its structure and activities, the more sustainable and the resilient the Platform becomes. Through this collaborative and integrated approach, we can together, work towards creating a safe and resilient Canada.

Appendix A

Individual Commitments Provided By General Membership

Below are statements written on the individual documents presented to the facilitators:

Based on the vision, and today's discussions, my contribution will be…

  • Reflect on what we are currently doing in partnership with other groups to facilitate the development of local and regional nodes aligned with the objectives of the national objectives and reflects the local needs.
  • Universities have a role to play regarding education and communication – more outreach – we can do a lot more than we do to promote this work.
  • To be an advocate and supporter within my sphere of influence – federal agencies, municipalities, provincial government departments.
  • To take forward this initiative to my students and to advocate for the integration of disaster risk reduction in all levels of government and within all projects within my sphere of influence.
  • Energizing the networks that we deal with in my sphere of control to propagate the knowledge and others see where their contributions can be.
  • A personal implementation in preparation for family relocation in Ottawa; engage department in optimizing contribution programs for disaster risk reduction in support of the Canadian platform.
  • To participate actively in Canadian disaster risk reduction and to promote disaster risk reduction in my area of work and organization and with my family and community association and other sectors where I may have influence. As a citizen of the world, I want to commit to promote the Canadian experience and inform about the Canadian experience in other parts of the world.
  • To stay engaged and persevere. If I hit a roadblock, do not give up. Keep forging ahead.
  • Je vais m'impliquer au sein du comité consultatif afin de faire avancer ce qui a découlé des discussions d'aujourd'hui.
  • To update our policy document to reflect current language used for disaster risk reduction in Canada.
  • Support efforts to broaden disaster risk reduction initiatives beyond governments to include non-governmental stakeholders.
  • Continue working to develop a credible business case for mitigation funding investments.
  • To lobby /influence leadership for change.
  • My contribution will be to take the information shared and provide it within my networks while also seeking out additional knowledge from people I've met and creating new networks.
  • Contact other like-minded organizations and bring as many as possible into the process.
  • I will participate within the board of the Canadian Risk and Hazards Network, in a strategic planning session (on Saturday) to define our role and contribution to the 'Platform'.
  • I will continue to promote the Platform and advance its objective of dialogue and collaboration.
  • My contribution will be to work towards improving public understanding of their role and responsibilities in disaster management and to reduce vulnerability among small businesses and non-profit-organizations (NPOs).
  • Will support and implement inclusion of risk vulnerability into planning process associated with preparedness, prevention, response, recovery.
  • To engage Science & Technology efforts to develop metrics for vulnerabilities measuring resiliency.
  • Engage in any discussions surrounding capacity building in small isolated communities that come from working groups with the disaster risk reduction platform.
  • Raising awareness within the organization I work for of the concepts and work of risk reduction.
  • To inform and promote the Canadian experience in other parts of the world.
  • To participate actively in the Canadian disaster risk reduction platform, with my skills and capacities to promote disaster risk reduction in my area of work and organization and also with my family, community, associations and other sector [sic] in which I may have some influence.
  • Increase the awareness around me of the need for emergency planning based on vulnerability and involve as many people of all levels.
  • To further ensure that bridges are built and senior officials are further made aware of the importance of emergency management (EM) and disaster risk reduction.
  • My contribution will be to ensure that I communicate to my colleagues at the Canadian Emergency Management College (CEMC) the extra concepts and outcomes from today's event and highlight, explain its importance in emergency management (EM).
  • Encourage this as an area in emergency management (EM) that should be followed by others.
  • To explore how the Conference Board of Canada (CBoC) can help this Platform move forward into recommendations for action.
  • By working with my team and getting back to Public Safety Canada (PS) with some options.
  • To facilitate the development of local and regional nodes that are aligned with the principles and objectives of the national platform and that reflect the needs and operational requirements of individual communities and regions.
  • To share the vision amongst my peers and leaders to obtain support in establishing goals, priorities, standards, towards a common goal.
  • We need to change our nomenclature. We then need to extend influence.
  • Develop educated professionals by contributing to teaching the new generation of emergency managers.
  • Through research, increase our knowledge (understanding, so that we know better how to create a safer society).
  • Continue to be part of the 'Platform Dialogue'.
  • Providing 20 years' experience in trying to enhance emergency management in Canada to establish safe and resilient communities and safeguard the lives and property of our citizens from the PD out.
  • To take forward this initiative to my students and to advocate for the integration of disaster risk reduction initiatives at all of levels of government and in all projects within my sphere of influence.
  • Local guides to emergency housing.
  • Guides for land use decisions.
  • Best practices.
  • To help build and support a national working group on risk-based land-use decision support for disaster reduction and integrate that with the National Risk Reduction Platform.
  • To continue to be a thorn in the side of the process, asking the 'what ifs' and challenging the obvious, to bring more rigour and more clarity to the development of useful risk reduction.
  • Energize the networks (public safety and security and science & technology) we work with to promulgate the knowledge and vision of the platform so they see within it where they can contribute.

Appendix B

Participant Representation

Participant Representation

Of the participants who attended the Roundtable, 35% were from federal government; 29% from provincial or territorial governments; 12% from academia; 8% from non-governmental organizations; 7% from regional government; 6% from associations or agencies; 1% from industry; 1% listed as independent; and 1% international representation.

Appendix C

Analysis of Roundtable Evaluation Forms

The following comments are extracted from the Roundtable evaluation documents that were submitted by participants.

Analysis of Roundtable  Evaluation Forms

The above pie chart shows, that among the participants who responded to the evaluation question, "Did the meeting achieve the stated objective?" 88% indicated yes, 6% indicated no and 6% indicated undecided.

Analysis of Roundtable Evaluation Forms

 

Highly Satisfied

Satisfied

Neither Satisfied or Dissatisfied

Dissatisfied

Overall Satisfaction

28.57%
(10/35)

57.14%
(20/35)

8.35%
(3/35)

2.81%
(1/35)

Networking

11

19

2

 

Keynote

19

12

1

 

Use of Time

7

23

2

1

Meeting Facility

12

17

3

1

Deliberative Dialogue

9

20

3

1

Facilitators

16

13

2

 

Footnotes

  1. 1http://www.unisdr.org/eng/library/lib-terminology-eng%20home.htm
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