What should better preparedness mean after Covid-19

What should better preparedness mean after Covid-19
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Mumbai: The vulnerable are most severely impacted as the frequency of naturally-triggered disasters is increasing steadily due to the impacts of climate change and as the pandemic continues to present new social, economic and political reverberations.

In the face of these daunting challenges, the second 'Urban Resilience Asia Pacific' Conference (URAP2) addressed the critical themes of 'Readiness', 'Security' and 'Transparency' in Urban Resilience with a focus on Asia Pacific, the fastest urbanising region of the world.  The two-day conference was hosted online on 3-4 December 2020 by the Faculty of Built Environment at University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney, in collaboration with Australia Pacific Security College, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, ARUP Group and SEEDS (Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society).

Prof. David Sanderson from UNSW, asked critical questions such as How do you stay optimistic? What does resilience for all really look like? When is it best helpful and when is it best avoided? and How comfortable are we to talk about corruption?

One of the several striking themes was led by Dr. Ronak Patel, Director of Urbanization and Resilience at Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, on the intersection of disasters, corruption and the built environment. He stressed, “Benefits of corruption are enjoyed by those in power and the consequences are largely born by the vulnerable. It is not only a financial crime but an important social justice issue.”

Over 65 speakers across eight countries represented the academia, research think-tanks, NGOs, international development organisations and government agencies. They explored a wide range of subjects including disaster related nomenclature, construction capacities in conflict regions, energy resilience, urban displacement, technology applications and financing of resilience.

Prof. Meg Keen, Director, Australian Pacific Security College, emphasised on socio-political readiness across the breadth of topics. Kirsten MacDonald from the ARUP Group pushed for area based approaches to find the right pathways ahead. Dr. Anshu Sharma, Co-founder SEEDS, stressed on the uncertainty ahead, noting the evidence that we cannot project the needs of the future based on the trends from the past.

The conference presented a range of solutions that will help the participating organisations and others collaborate towards addressing disaster risk challenges with a systems approach that are comprehensive yet customizable.

It was broadcasted on UNSW’s YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYM_dqT3Fcshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EoL5bDoUBl4) with 1,000+ viewers attending live. Use #URAP2 for social media updates.