The communites of Navatcholai and Sinnakulam in the district of Trincomalee in Sri Lanka have faced violent conflict and been subjected to resettlement and risks such as rising temperatures and rainfall, droughts and floods, strong winds, cyclones and elephant attacks. In response, the Organisation for Eelam Refugee Rehabilitation (OfERR), together with Christian Aid, supported a community-based disaster risk management (CBDRM) approach in the district. Its aim was to build the community’s capacity to prepare for and respond to risks, and to promote secure livelihoods. The project ran from 2006 to 2010, and built on a tsunami rehabilitation project which had started in 2005. After a mid-term review in 2008, it started to consider climate change issues. The communities themselves identified the risks and set up action plans with support from OfERR, mainly through Participatory Vulnerability and Capabilities Assessment (PVCA). The CBDRM methodology involved establishing five or six community sub-groups to implement the actions agreed in the PVCA on issues such as early warning, disaster preparedness, health, education, self help and peace-building. These groups liaised with the local administrative officials, mainly Grama Sevaka (GS), for support. They also involved the rest of the community in the activities. The process was guided by OfERR but managed by the community members. Monitoring and sharing of lessons learnt took place at different levels amongst the implementers and the community. Christian Aid made periodic visits with follow-up sessions, while OfERR met monthly to review progress and share information. In the community, each sub-group met weekly and the whole CBDRM group met monthly to discuss issues and share information. Pilot projects were added in the implementation strategy to demonstrate options for climate change adaptation (i.e. windmills/solar water pumping and an organic farm). OfERR staff also linked to the national disaster management process, and attended NGO coordination meetings as part of the CBDRM process. Christian Aid engaged in national level networking and advocacy for the integration of climate change DRM and livelihoods. This was all in the context of conflict and an emerging DRM and climate change adaptation policy involving the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) and Climate Change Secretariat (CCS). It was concluded that the impacts of climate change adaptation (CCA) are new concepts and the integration into development and disaster agendas requires greater advocacy, more structured capacity building and hands-on involvement by Christian Aid, its partners and the community working together. The OfERR interventions have set a foundation that can be built up. Recommendations to OfERR and Christian Aid to maximise the integration of climate change, DRM and development activities are given.
Ibrahim, M.; Fernando, K. Climate Smart Disaster Risk Management in Conflict Affected Areas: the case of Trincomalee District, Sri Lanka, SCR Discussion Paper 7. (2010) : 45 pp.