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The First BGR-CCOP International Training Course on Risk-Sensitive Spatial Planning

The ‘First BGR-CCOP International Training Course on Risk-Sensitive Spatial Planning in CCOP Member Countries’ took place from 20 February to  2 March 2017 in Bangkok, Thailand and was organized by the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR, Germany) in cooperation with CCOP Technical Secretariat (CCOPTS).

This training course activity consists of three training courses that are funded by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and are conducted by the two BGR experts Dr Dirk Balzer and Dr Dirk Kuhn. The training courses represent a capacity building measure for professionals of mandated authorities in the fields of Disaster Risk Management (DRM) and Spatial Planning. It aims to support the requirements and future challenges of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR), strengthen disaster risk governance to manage Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and to promote the dialogue and cooperation among the relevant authorities and thereby support risk-sensitive spatial planning. During the course, the participants are familiarized with the concepts and dimensions of disaster risk and are trained in the elaboration of pre-disaster risk assessments in order to build the knowledge on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).

The 15 participants of the first training course were seconded from seven CCOP Member Countries (Cambodia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and CCOPTS), representing different ministries & line authorities active in the fields of DRM and spatial and urban planning in their respective home countries.

The first training course comprised nine working days and was structured in three parts. In the first introductory part (7 sessions, lectures and exercises), the multi-disciplinary course participants (geoscientists, civil engineers, spatial planners) were introduced to the concepts of Disaster Risk Management (DRM), Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), Disaster Management (DM), Mainstreaming DRR into Development and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA), and the corresponding terminology. Additionally, the participants were invited to present their organization’s role and relevant works in the fields of DM and DRR.

The introductory part was followed by the technical part of the course (22 sessions, lectures and exercises) including a thorough explanation of the coupled database/GIS risk exposure software tool of the BGR, the necessary information and the data processing procedures, which were later on used to elaborate the risk exposure analyses.

The subsequent practical risk exposure assessment activities focused on real world scenarios from the fields of DM and DRR, providing exercises with typical problem situations in single- and multi-hazard conditions and taking into account the spatial hazards landslide, flooding, volcanic (ash fall) and seismic hazard. Various ‘Elements of Risk’ were considered, such as people exposed, roads, bridges and life lines, health facilities and schools.

In accordance to the philosophy of the training course, the exercise outcomes (risk exposure maps and statistics) were discussed in detail to recognize the benefit and relevance from the risk-sensitive spatial planning perspective. Also, the limits and data requirements for such realistic analyses were pointed out.

Accompanied by a well-structured teaching manual and the training data set, this approach shall guarantee a sustainable adaption and transfer of the technical concept and methodology into the respective country-specific DRR environment.

A highlight of the training course was the full-day field excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ayutthaya that was severely affected by the 2011 Mega Flood Event in Thailand.

The excursion was an integral part of the training course in order to demonstrate the relevance of the theoretical assessments and the respective practical applications and solutions in DRM. After the site inspections, the excursion was supplemented with a seminar entailing presentations from various provincial authorities, responsible for the Flood Risk Mitigation Plan of Ayutthaya.  The seminar was honored to be officially opened by the Governor of the Ayutthaya province, his Excellency, Dr. Sujin Chaichumsak. 

The final third part of the training course was used for final discussions on the benefits and limits of the risk exposure analyses and the future plans of the participants to apply the knowledge learned during daily work in their home countries. Also, possible networking and transboundary collaborative activities on DRM and risk-sensitive spatial planning were discussed among the participants.  The course culminated with a final course evaluation and an awarding of certificates to the participants.The course evaluation by the participants particularly emphasized the practical benefit of the chosen approach bridging the gap between DRM theory and praxis.

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