Civil society, disaster risk reduction, and representation of vulnerable communities for inclusive development in India
Margit van Wessel (Wageningen University)
Sarbeswar Sahoo (Indian Institute of Technology Delhi)
Paper short abstract:
Disasters pose unprecedented risks to the vulnerable communities, whose voices are excluded and underrepresented in policies. We aim to understand 'how diverse civil society organizations shape their role of representing the vulnerable while being embedded in multiple relations in India?'
Paper long abstract:
Scientific evidences of climate change and unsustainable development have increased the episodes of disasters. Disasters pose unprecedented risks to the vulnerable communities, whose voices are excluded and underrepresented in policies. The composition of these vulnerable communities in India is diverse and complex which makes 'leaving no one behind' in disaster risk reduction a challenging goal. Diverse forms of civil society play a vital role in enabling participation of the sections of the communities facing exclusion, and underrepresentation in order to give 'visibility to their voices' and advancing inclusiveness of policies and practice. With this background, the research aims to understand 'how do diverse civil society organizations shape their role of representing the vulnerable to disaster risk, while being embedded in multiple relations in India?' Here the diversity of civil society is typified in different ways such as formal or informal; international, national, or grassroots; welfarist reformist, or reactionary. Narratives of civil society gave insight of their motivations, struggles, challenges and lived experiences of representing the vulnerable through policy advocacy on disaster risk reduction. The research argues that CSOs are working in different capacities to act as translator of issues; vehicles of association of groups, which are socially (dalits), economically (women, landless farmers), and physically excluded; and creators of resources and space for expression of the groups facing exclusion and marginalization. Therefore CSOs play an important role in reducing disaster risk not only for the present generation but also for future generations.
Global Development, civil society and environmental activism