Under the framework of the Courting Catastrophe? Humanitarian Policy and Practice in a Changing Climate research project, the seminar addressed the connections between development, climate change and disaster preparedness. The event brought into question the effects of natural hazards such as droughts, cyclones, and floods on people’s livelihoods as well as communities, governments and humanitarian agencies capacity to respond to such catastrophes.
The seminar’s main speaker, Terry Cannon, presented key areas of work that overlap between development, climate change and disaster preparedness and discussed these in relation to three myths. The first myth is that people give priority to severe natural hazards, and that this is the same outlook as that of outsider disaster managers. The second is the myth of the community. Does it actually exist, or do we pretend that it is there in order to enable us to do our work? The third myth relates to whether governments actually care about their people. In all this, the missing element is any consideration of power relations as the major determinant of what does and does not happen.
Note: The seminar’s report, edited by NMBU and including further details on the event’s topics and participants, can be read in full here.