AUICK First 2010 Workshop
AUICK held its First 2010 Workshop in Kobe, Japan, from 6 to 12 June, with the support of Kobe City Government and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). As a follow-up to the Second 2007 Workshop on the same theme, its title was "Maternal and Child Health Care (including Family Planning) in Natural Disasters - Stage II". Participants were senior city government officials and academic experts from each of five AUICK Associate Cities (AACs).
is now international acknowledgement that efforts to
reduce disaster risks must be systematically integrated into
policies, plans and programmes for sustainable development and
poverty reduction, and supported through bilateral, regional and
international cooperation, including partnerships."
At the beginning of 2010, a huge earthquake devastated Haiti, taking the lives of an estimated 230,000 people. Prior to this, Asian countries were hit by disasters such as the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake, the 2005 Kashmir Earthquake and the 2004 Sumatra Earthquake Tsunami. Kobe and its surrounding areas were struck in 1995 by the Great Hanshin- Awaji Earthquake, which claimed the lives of 6,434 people.
Between January and November 2009, there were 245 disasters in the world, which affected 58 million people, killing 8,919, and causing US$19 billion in economic damages. Asia is the most vulnerable continent to storms and floods, which affected 48 million people there in 2009.*
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) believes that the concept of disaster-risk reduction is based on the recognition that disasters will occur, but that informed and committed societies can anticipate them and their effects, thereby minimizing loss of life and property, and accelerating recovery efforts. It is critical to consider the kinds of gender differences that make women disproportionately vulnerable in disasters, and that sometimes lead to discrimination against them in the recovery process. Women and their children must be visible to responders, to ensure the success of postdisaster recovery, and they must have a say in the formulation of disaster risk-reduction plans. Immediately after disasters occur, it is necessary to ensure safe childbirth and reestablish maternal health services where they have been devastated, and to provide basic services including water, sanitation, food, health and protection, and also psychosocial support to survivors. It is also important that appropriate family planning services are continuously provided in such conditions.
* United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) Secretariat
AUICK Workshops aim to increase the capacities of city planners and administrators in Asian medium-sized cities to address population and development issues. Secondstage Workshops are conducted for senior officials of AUICK Associate Cities (AACs) who have attended previous Workshops, to return to Kobe together with local academic experts. There, they share information and best practices, and receive on-site training related to their AUICK Workshop formulated Action Plans, at the facilities of Kobe City Government.
At the Second 2007 Workshop, senior city officials of AACs in charge of maternal and child health care or crisis management each developed concrete Action Plans for improved MCH services and disaster preparedness, which they implemented in their cities in cooperation with colleagues and academic experts from local universities. The First 2010 Workshop provided training toward the re-formulation of the Plans by five participants of the Second 2007 Workshop, with academic experts.
The Workshop incorporated not only North-South (Kobe-AAC) training at Kobe City programmes facilitated through cooperation among private, public and academic sectors, but also South-South (AAC-AAC) sharing of information and knowledge among participants, toward the revision of their Workshop Action Plans. Ultimately, it aimed to foster lasting collaboration between city administrations and the academic community, to solve population-related issues in the urban setting.
Participants of the First 2010 Workshop were senior officials and academic experts of five AUICK Associate Cities (AACs), including Chittagong (Bangladesh), Weihai (China), Chennai (India), Olongapo (Philippines) and Danang (Vietnam).
The participants included the following (in alphabetical order by country):
AUICK Associate City (AAC) Government Participants
Mominur Rashid Amin
Academic Expert Participants
Subash Chandra Roy
The President of AUICK, Dr. Hirofumi Ando, welcomed the participants of the First 2010 Workshop to Kobe on behalf of his colleagues, Mr. Tatsuo Yada (Chairman and Mayor of Kobe), Mr. Toshihiko Ono (Executive Director), Mr. Shoji Temba (Deputy Executive Director) and Mr. Toru Fujiwara (Manager). Dr. Ando explained that the Workshop would focus on the provision of maternal and child / reproductive health care in disaster situations, and that the participants would re-formulate Action Plans made at the Second 2007 Workshop (on the same theme) with academic expert partners. These Plans would be improved based on the experience of their implementation since 2007 (such as problems encountered and solutions found), as well as knowledge obtained through the First 2010 Workshop, advice from academic partners and best practices shared among Workshop participants themselves.
The AUICK Workshop format is designed to promote North-to-South (Kobe to AAC) and South-to-South (AAC to AAC) collaboration, which increases the sharing of information on issues related to each theme covered. As it is seminar based, the success and results of the Workshop depend on the active involvement of its participants. The theme of the First 2010 Workshop was chosen because of the need to prepare for unpredictable natural disasters to which urban areas are vulnerable, and the importance of providing reproductive health services to women, who are often neglected in disaster planning and management.
Dr. Ando finished by underlining his hope that effective Action Plans would be taken back to each city, and expressing the appreciation of AUICK to both UNFPA and the City of Kobe, for their active support to its Program over two decades.
Gayl D. Ness,
Professor Emeritus, Univeristy of Michigan; Chairman, AUICK
International Advisory Committee (IAC)
Yoko Saito, Researcher, United Nations Centre for Regional Development
(UNCRD) Hyogo Office, Japan
Yuki Suehiro, Deputy Representative,
UNFPA Bangladesh Office
Takaaki Matsuda, Manager, International Department, Office of the
Mayor, kobe City Government, Japan
Ms. Akemi Ozaki,
Manager, Maternal and Child Health, Child Rearing Support
Department, Public Health and Welfare Bureau, Kobe City Government,
Assifi, Deputy Regional Director, UNFPA Asia and the Pacific
Regional Office; UNFPA Representative in Thailand
4.3. Site Visits
As part of the program of the AUICK First 2010 Workshop, its participants visited some of Kobe’s facilities for maternal and child health care provision and disaster prevention and preparedness. Sites included Kobe Minatonomori Park, the Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution and Kobe City Medical Care Center General Hospital.
4.4. City Reports and Revised Action Plans
During AUICK Workshops, the participants of AUICK Associate Cities (AACs) formulate Action Plans to implement the lessons they have learned as policies to improve their cities' service provision. The First 2010 Workshop participants were given guidelines to revise Plans made at the Second 2007 Workshop, based on each city's requirements in disaster management planning and maternal and child health care provision.
Firstly, each Plan should specify the problem or issue it aims to address. Then, the government department(s) and personnel to oversee the Plan's implementation and its stakeholders are specified. The Plans should detail each type of support to be achieved for their implementation, in terms of political, financial, community, academic, NGO or faith based organization assistance. The local media also often plays a role in mobilizing citizen participation, an important component for projects to be successful.
In many cases, a Plan's first step is its advocacy to senior political officials, including the city mayor and relevant government department heads. Many Plans begin as pilot community projects, achievable within the capacities and resources available to each Workshop participant. These are then expanded city-wide, or further, and can also be duplicated upon their successful completion.
Monitoring and implementation progress reporting then assist the Plans' implementation, as well as AUICK's assessment of its Program. A timeframe lists each Action Plan's actual steps, and the period of the steps' sequential or simultaneous / overlapping implementation, which usually amounts to around 18 months to two years .
Following guidelines and advice on the re-formulation of their Action Plans, Workshop participants were given time to draft, present and revise the Plans formulated at the Second 2007 Workshop and implemented in five AUICK Associate Cities (AACs). The results are shown on the following pages:
by Mr. Mominur Rashid Amin and Dr. Subash Cahndra Roy
Throughout the First 2010 Workshop, participants provided feedback as an assessment and guide to AUICK on its Program. They commented that the Workshop presentations "opened new attitudes to disaster management" and were "useful in understanding health issues". In sharing experiences in disaster management and maternal and child health care (MCH), lectures gave "guidelines to face disasters", and were deemed "excellent", "well assessed" and "very informative". The site visits to Kobe's facilities for MCH and disaster preparedness were noted for their citizen participation, and were "very useful" in providing lessons to the AUICK Associate Cities (AACs) to duplicate. Presentations by representatives of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) both "shed light on MCH care in natural disasters" and provided stimulus to increase education and training on MCH in the AACs. The UNFPA Seminar's sharing of knowledge was described as both "active" and "well organized".
Overall, participants commented that the sharing of Kobe's "noteworthy experiences in MCH" and the "chance to get experience of other countries" gave "fruitful lessons to implant in the AACs". They assured that lessons learned would be shared with government colleagues and put into practice as policies through the Action Plans formulated at the Workshop, which will also lead to increased collaboration between the AAC Academic institutions and governments represented. They also proposed that information sharing workshops be held in the AACs themselves.
The AUICK Secretariat highlighted the importance of participants keeping UNFPA Country Offices informed on the progress of their project implementation, and the role of the Action Plan system as a concrete way for the lessons of the Workshop to be implemented by the participants, as the persons who know best how to effectively apply the Plans in their cities.