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Cordaid NL

Looking back, taking forward: ten years of Partners for Resilience and Cordaid

Ten years is not a long time when it’s about building defence against climate change – a Frankenstein created through decades of denial and exploitation. Last ten years, Cordaid, as a member of Partners for Resilience (PfR) worked on enhancing climate & disaster resilience among communities. As the programme ends in 2020, we look back to what we have done and what we are particularly proud of.

Partners for Resilience started in 2010. After the successful implementation of climate & disaster resilience measures in its first phase, it started its second phase in 2016. During this period, PfR mostly focused on building capacity within the communities and of civil society actors to influence enabling policies to be developed and implemented. In that way, communities could lead the resilience building process on their own. As part of its resilience efforts and under the PfR alliance, Cordaid joined forces with Civil Society Organizations in different countries. They led the resilience process, placing the communities at the heart of all their efforts.

Recently during the closing session of the programme, Cordaid-PfR colleagues around the world shared their moments of pride and left solid directions for further action on resilience.

Indonesia: “Unexpected positive outcomes”
Timely action and flexibility was essential in resilience work, stated Johan Santosa from Indonesia. In Indonesia, PfR worked on strengthening watershed management – starting with seven villages scaling up to 20 villages. They led advocacy to influence district and national policies to integrate Integrated Risk Management (IRM). These efforts contributed to the unprecedented increase of village funding for resilience practices from 11% to 49% of their total allocation.

However, it was not possible to achieve all of the pre-planned goals. But the programme enabled colleagues to identify and seize opportunities when they came along. It resulted in many unplanned positive outcomes while influencing the District and provisional governments.

Wondering what Integrate Integrated Risk Management (IRM) is? Enjoy this simple video explaining this complex approach:

The Philippines: “Others learned from us”
In the Philippines, PfR set an example of successful collaboration with the local actors. National government and donors learned from it and are replicating it. Anat Prag shared how PfR’s work increased the capacity of Local Government Units (LGUs) to develop IRM plans with a strong climate rationale. It increased the likelihood of and opportunities for LGUs to collaborate across political boundaries and understand commonalities in the climate impacts they face. In addition, this also enhanced collaboration among LGUs and local academia, and other local stakeholders. This served as a primary source of technical support for climate planning processes, both for adaptation and mitigation. Based on this learning, PfR produced a manual for application beyond the programme life. Green Climate Fund and many others endorsed it.

Kenya: “Closer to where decisions are made”
PfR in Kenya enabled changes in advocacy and investment trajectories. And they did it by bringing communities closer to where decisions were made. Zeituna Roba Tullu, from Kenya, demonstrated a number of cases how this was done. It was essential for communities to “do the homework: know what you want to achieve, and understand your government.” This led to joint implementation of the initiatives and ownership of the work. The video “Now You Hear Us” demonstrates how PfR Kenya capacitated the local actors and communities and enabled structured dialogue.

DRR Cee in front of their Solution Centre, Ethiopia.
DRR Cee in front of their Solution Centre, Ethiopia.

South Sudan: “Seeing helps believing”
PfR colleague working in South Sudan, Enkas Chau, narrated how bringing climate expertise and commitments to government policies was a long process of engaging the people who would make the transition possible. It took continuous and strong media activities to include climate change adaptation measures in national policies. Advocacy work needed to be supported by evidence – he emphasised. Promotional activities showcasing IRM practices like construction of energy saving cook stoves, waste management, solar-powered irrigation helped to create awareness on those issues and how they helped achieve climate resilience. Such evidences helped building bridges from recommendations to policies, and from awareness to action.

Paining delineating the process of Climate change bill, Uganda.

Uganda: “And that’s an achievement”
There were a number of major achievements in influencing policies, informed Rachel Kyozira, our colleague from Uganda. This included the Uganda Disaster Management bill, and wetlands policy and bill. These were the fruits of year-long, relentless advocacy work. The achievement that the team was most proud of, is the integration of IRM into the national Climate Change bill. 80% of PfR’s recommendations were adopted in this bill. This was the first step toward making the country ready for paving its way to climate resilience.

PfR Uganda is working on climate resilience in many different ways. Watch this video to know more!

Ethiopia: It’s possible if you try
Our colleague from Ethiopia, Ayichalim Zewdie, could not join us for the session. But he also had many proud moments to share. One of them was how PfR Ethiopia introduced IRM to the national Environmental and Social  Impact Assessment (ESIA)  Procedural guidelines to assess the positive or negative impacts of Ethiopia’s development and investment initiatives on the environment. National ESIA would set the foundation of how to make the country’s development activities nature, people and climate friendly. Bringing IRM perspective to it gave the impact assessment the right direction and strength it required. The team also successfully added IRM in the university curricula and convinced the Ethiopian government to join Ramsar convention on the protection and restoration of wetlands to take good care of the country’s water and natural resources. And all this was achieved against a backdrop of social and economic turmoil.

Cordaid Global: “How things link together”
PfR’s work and approach differ from place to place. While country office colleagues were creating ripples of long lasting changes in the local and national levels, Cordaid at the global level kept supporting those initiatives, and linking the dots, bringing the stories of local realities to the global audience. This has been done in two ways. On one hand, Cordaid global harvested the success stories and learnings from around the world and shared it with global advocacy platforms and different countries. On the other hand, it gathered the knowledge and expertise from all over the world to support and enable action at the local level. The knowledge, learning and communication materials they crafted brought the local and the global aspects of resilience together.

And the journey continues…
Practice makes us perfect. When it comes to building resilience, we are now definitely better and more skilled than when we started this journey. PfR programme enabled Cordaid and partners to establish local capacities and networks that will  keep the knowledge spreading and the process flowing. In addition, under the Eco-DRR programme the collaboration will continue. Therefore, though the programme is ending, the legacy of Partners for Resilience will go on.

Cordaid would like to thank all the colleagues from Civil Society partner organisations, from PfR alliance members and from its own offices who made this journey towards enhanced resilience possible through their dedication and cooperation.

For a full overview of PfR’s work, read this flagship publication here.