Thursday, October 19, 2017

From Diamonds to Despair: Crafting a New Fate for Developing Nations and Emerging Markets in the Advent and Aftermath of Hazard Events


Below is an excerpt from upcoming publication collaborative article from BEMA International.
Article will focus on regional approaches to disaster\crisis\emergency management development within the U.S., Caribbean, and Africa. 

CDS.  CEO BEMA International

From Diamonds to Despair: Crafting a New Fate for Developing Nations and Emerging Markets in the Advent and Aftermath of Hazard Events

Richard Hazel.
Charles D. Sharp, CEO Black Emergency Managers Association International
October 2017.


Political Landscape in Risk Decisions

Repetitive and increasing losses and costs of disasters cannot be wholly blamed on variability in cyclic climatic conditions, forces of nature, nor the divine wrath of any deity’s fury.  The destruction and despair facing these nations are direct consequences of risk decisions, non-decisions and deferrals made during times of plenty, by key institutions, leaders and stakeholders contemplating the question of how much time and effort should be expended towards mitigating pre-existing conditions and developing resilient communities in preparation for the coming times of need. The forces of nature have scant regard for electoral boundaries and voting blocks, but the usual suspects that adorn the political landscape often lack the intestinal fortitude to articulate, lead and craft a better fate or new normal for their populace. Comforting lies are easier pathways to landslide re-elections than hard - but truthful - conversations with their electorate.

The inconvenient truth for many small nations is that one or more years of little to no direct impact from hazard events, breeds contempt amongst elected officials for a continued budget investment in readiness, and response initiatives.

For too long there has been insufficient investment in tangible pre-disaster activities or initiatives to match continued post disaster cap in hand approaches.  Such hollow affirmations to potential donors betray a chronic pre-disaster posture demonstrating greater willingness to comingle or divert potential homeland security and emergency management funding towards more ‘significant and pressing’ fiscal concerns.  The ability of G20 countries to continually provide unprecedented levels of post disaster response assets and financial recovery assistance to developing nations will be severely tested.  Larger countries are themselves battling a multiplicity of natural and human adversaries unlike anything our hemisphere has seen in recent times.

It has been 12 years since Katrina, 7 years since Tomas and 5 years since Sandy.  If there was any lesson to be learned from these focusing events, one should have been abundantly clear to a region unable to reasonably absorb its own risks and that is far too often characterized for its seemingly complacent, easy-going approach: No more waiting for and blaming Superman – resilience is symbiotic and a shared responsibility.  In keeping with a whole community approach, individuals must be willing to accept the challenge of playing an active role in their own readiness and recovery planning.  Similarly, external agencies and elected governments must commit to crafting, implementing or revising policies in a way that better address and support improvements to the current state of readiness, response and recovery gaps.

IMF Resiliency Dividend

Institutions such as the International Monetary Fund which has a long and often negatively storied relationship with developing countries, also has a role it can play. When it comes to assessing developing county risks, the protracted ripple effect that exogenous events such as climatic forces have on the economies of developing nations, may warrant a re-examination of not just the amount of weight assigned to climatic shock variables; but also the weighting assigned to – and need for – the introduction of a counterbalancing resilience variable. Such an added variable could capture into the rating or scoring assessment any pre-disaster investments in focused risk reduction initiatives within education, industry and critical infrastructure arenas, and a factoring of the data analysis and reporting of defined, measurable outputs and outcomes of such project and programmatic activities.

There is need for targeted investment in disaster education initiatives and critical infrastructure. These areas can improve risk decision making and post-disaster recovery time objectives across market sectors, thereby driving investor confidence in the capacity and capability mechanisms within a nation to rapidly respond to such adversities. The economic variable is but one of six critical interrelated, macro-environment factors that spur productivity, business investment, stabilization and overall growth.

Countries with continued low to negative post disaster declines in operational recovery, falling investor and public confidence and exponential increases in repetitive losses over a specified period of time - despite multi-year donor investment initiatives designed to reduce such impacts - could potentially see an added increase in their resilience risk rating while those with demonstrable improvements in vulnerability areas, recovery time objectives and confidence levels could see a reduction in overall risk rating. Notwithstanding the persistent need for the IMF to advocate right-sizing of government, emancipation of industry sectors from their “death by a thousand regulations”, and significant cuts in tax burdens placed on the average individual; encouraging the preservation and advancement in pre-disaster mitigation focus areas should be part and parcel of the discussion when designing or proposing austerity measures and structural adjustment policies.

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