Addressing capacities of local communities in a changing context in Nepal

Community-based approaches to disaster risk reduction have been the subject of attention for practitioners and scholars in the humanitarian and development sector for many decades. One of the core elements of the concept is the notion of inherent capacities of communities that get examined after every disaster. However, communities’ capacities face an ever-increasing challenge of keeping pace with the changing world. Despite the relative influence of various factors being unknown, development, globalisation and the effects of climatic changes can inevitably affect these communities directly through prevalence and predictability of hazards or indirectly through, e.g. population growth, change of land use patterns and influence from outside. Therefore, it can be assumed that there can be an increased effect on people’s lives and livelihoods.

This paper approaches this question of capacities for DRR in a changing world with findings from fieldwork in Lapsibot in Lamjung district in Western Nepal. The authors critically examine the sufficiency of inherent capacities in local communities. While there is absolutely no question of strong capacities at the community level, this paper appeals for a more in-depth investigation of an extended notion of capacities, where the effects of the rapid changes and increasing impact of the outside world are taken into consideration. Further, it is argued that communities, in fact, need new and extended capacities, rather than only relying on inherent capacities, which is usually the main subject of capacity development in rural communities.

This paper is a contribution to the 2019 edition of the Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR 2019).

The Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction 2018, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 3-6 July 2018 The Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction 2018, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 3-6 July 2018.
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