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Inclusive Resilience: Inclusion Matters for Resilience in South Asia

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Climate change and natural disasters are some of the biggest threats confronting South Asia. Global evidence, including studies carried out by the World Bank and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), indicate that these climatic and disaster events create disproportionate impacts on the poor and the marginalized. This publication contributes to this body of knowledge by analyzing the specific challenges marginalized groups and communities in South Asia experience in disaster contexts due to their social backgrounds and identities. The publication also builds on the World Bank’s analytical work and expertise in social inclusion and sustainability, applying the methodology adopted in the flagship report, “Inclusion Matters: The Foundation for Shared Prosperity,” in the context of disaster risk management (DRM).

The analytical work reveals the absence of statistics and documented evidence about social exclusion in the DRM context even though there are patches of personal experience and stories shared in various forms. There may be many more untold stories. The availability of information is just a starting point: This can help understand and identify and implement effective practical methods and actions to ensure inclusivity. These can also help build the resilience of the communities we serve—aptly encapsulated by the term ‘inclusive resilience.’’ By critically examining the vectors of exclusion in DRM projects in South Asia, this report presents practical actions that can be taken to enhance resilience and inclusive outcomes through our interventions.

The year 2020 was a year the entire world was reminded of the importance of social inclusion and continued challenges posed by climate change and natural disasters. While the global pandemic impacted the whole world indiscriminately, we recognized the disproportionate impact and challenges experienced by the poor and the vulnerable. While the pandemic continues to hit hard on people’s lives, we were also reminded that climate change does not stop, and natural disasters continue to affect our lives. We also recognized the persistent systemic racism affecting our society around the world. We have also learned that disaster preparedness outcomes can be useful for a pandemic emergency (e.g., repurposing evacuation shelters as isolation facilities and customization of standard operating procedures for natural disasters for health emergencies).

This publication is a contribution to the World Bank’s efforts to make resilience truly for all. At the World Bank, Disaster Risk Management and Social Sustainability and Inclusion units have worked together to advance the agenda of Inclusive Resilience in South Asia. This publication shares practical recommendations for practitioners and policy-makers who design disaster risk management activities based on our expanding experience and analysis. We hope this publication encourages many practitioners to take proactive actions to ensure resilience is indeed for all, including people who often tend to be excluded.