1‘DISASTERS PASSED’: RESILIENT CARIBBEAN FUTURES VIA SHARED KNOWLEDGE OF RECENT DISASTERS
We all experience and understand hazardous events differently; it is at the intersection of these experiences that the most valuable knowledge for effective future disaster risk reduction is generated. On one hand, scientific responses have the potential to improve understanding of subsurface magma movement and anticipate volcanic impacts on communities and the environment. On the other, social and cultural responses have the potential to help communities learn, respond and adapt to eruptions. The aim of ‘Disaster Passed’ is to bring together and celebrate these different forms of knowledge on two Eastern Caribbean Islands. Here, we demonstrate key aspects of our interactive exhibits designed to convey the lived experience, scientific monitoring and cultural responses to past eruptions on St. Vincent and Montserrat. ‘Disaster Passed’ sought to entwine critical risk messages with lived experience, and in so doing further enrich everyone’s understanding. Throughout Disaster Passed, the design process has been dynamic, underpinned by collaboration between scientific bodies, governmental organisations and, critically, the wider community; the centrepieces are two volcano-shaped mobile exhibits (‘Soufrière Blow’ and ‘MountainAglow’) and a Mountainaglow website. Now exhibited at multiple festivals and events, primary schools of Montserrat have designed new panels and audio-visuals for MountainAglow to reflect their own learning about the volcano.
Prof Jennifer Barclay, Professor of Volcanology, University of East Anglia, UK and Dr Karen Pascal, Volcanologist, Montserrat Volcano Observatory, Seismic Research Centre, University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago.
2IUCN’S HOLISTIC APPROACH TO CLIMATE AND DISASTER RESILIENCE FOR HERITAGE
Natural and cultural heritage are inherently intertwined with climate change and disaster risk. The IUCN World Heritage Outlook 3 (2020) found that “climate change has become the most prominent current threat” to natural World Heritage sites. In the last five years IUCN has had over 100 projects focused on adaptation, resilience and disaster risk reduction. IUCN’s holistic approach to assessment and planning considers the landscape context and values the contribution of tangible and intangible heritage, such as in the form of traditional and local knowledge and ancestral practices. A Friends of Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) multimedia story on EbA and green recovery explored how communities around the world are more resilient to, and building back better from, the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to EbA initiatives such as the revival of traditional agroecological practices, conservation of local crop diversity including heirloom varieties, and reestablishment of traditional infrastructure such as water infiltration canals. Meanwhile, vulnerability assessments and hazard mapping tools, such as the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems, can help identify risks for individual heritage sites and broader landscapes, examine the capacities of local communities and institutions, and guide the design of targeted initiatives to reduce risks and build resilience.
Mr Ali Raza Rizvi, Programme Manager, Ecosystem Based Adaptation, IUCN and Annika K. Min, Programme Associate, Ecosystem-based Adaptation, IUCN.
3CO-PRODUCING METHODS TO EXPLORE THE SEISMIC
SAFETY OF KATHMANDU’S HISTORIC INFRASTRUCTURE
Kathmandu’s medieval cities are exceptional architectural and artistic achievements, but also form the fabric of everyday urban life. The 2015 Gorkha Earthquake was a humanitarian disaster that caused 9000 fatalities and changed Kathmandu’s iconic skyline in seconds, with monuments damaged across its UNESCO World Heritage site. Representing a key component of tourism in Nepal, their rehabilitation is key to reducing risk to lives and livelihoods. While overseas aid was pledged for reconstruction, there was little funding for researching why monuments collapsed. Many risk reduction strategies are demolishing historic monuments and rebuilding with modern materials, threatening their authenticity and intangible value, but also destroying evidence of traditional seismic adaptation. Local communities and craftspeople are frequently excluded from decision-making but the risk to them, and their livelihoods, remains. Our partnership integrated archaeology, geoarchaeology, architecture, 3D visualisation, geotechnical and structural engineering with community engagement to co-produce methodologies to explore the seismic safety of Kathmandu’s historic infrastructure. Analysing soil profiles, foundations and superstructures, we have reconstructed complex monument biographies, changing the understanding of the seismically adaptive properties of traditional materials and techniques. Aligned with SDGs 11 and 17, we are contributing to the nexus in which post-disaster reconstruction is renegotiated between experts, artisans, elected representatives and residents through the rebuilding of an exemplar, the Kasthamandap.
Prof Robin Coningham, UNESCO Chair in Archaeological Ethics & Practice in Cultural Heritage and Professor of Early Medieval Archaeology, University of Durham, UK.