Equity and Fairness in Community Based Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction

Chapter: 17
Book Chapter

Equity and Fairness constitute important aspirations that most governmental and non-governmental stakeholders strive to achieve in their interventions. Equity and fairness have high significance especially in the Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation as it is evident that disasters affect communities differently depending on their developmental levels, and social status. Any public policy or intervention on disaster risk reduction deals with communities that are at different ‘starting lines’ in terms of their disaster vulnerabilities and ensure that all are able to reach an identical ‘finishing line’ of reduced risks as an outcome of the intervention. Such an outcome is made only possibly by effectively considering the equity and fairness in how the risk reduction interventions are designed and implemented. Participatory approaches such as Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction (CBDRR) and Community Based Adaptation (CBA) have become a cornerstone of risk reduction interventions. It has been widely hypothesized that participatory interventions are successful and sustainable since they are able to satisfy the equity and fairness principles. However, very little evidence has been offered in the current literature in terms of how the participatory approaches such as CBA are able to achieve equity and fairness, if at all they achieved. To this effect, the paper presents a review of pertinent literature on how and to what extent the CBA and CBDRR approaches are able to achieve equity and fairness outcomes. In general, there has been very little evidence on the equity and fairness outcomes of CBA and CBDRR. The discussion reveals that these approaches may not automatically result in equity and fairness and that there is a need for conscious efforts to ensure such outcomes even in participatory approaches. Hence, it is not merely the participation alone but also the level of participation and nature of participation that determines the equity and fairness outcomes of interventions. It is important for the practitioners and policymakers to ask questions such as who is at risk, who is vulnerable, how the vulnerabilities are assessed, who assessed the vulnerabilities, how inclusive the process is, and if the process satisfies various aspects of the equity and fairness. The paper lists important questions and indicators that help in assessing the extent to which a risk reduction intervention can achieve equity and fairness outcomes.