Announcement Archive

Learning from Megadisasters GDLN sessions

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

story from Tokyo Development Learning Center

Japan has successfully shared its lessons learnt from the experience of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami that struck on March 11, 2011. It was the 4th largest earthquake in the world and the subsequent tsunami washed away towns and villages, resulting in huge numbers of human causalities and devastation. It is globally recognized that the loss of life and damage that ensued could have been far greater had it not been for Japan’s disaster risk management policies and measures.

In October 2011, the Government of Japan and the World Bank established a joint program, “Learning from Megadisasters: Program of Knowledge Sharing and Knowledge Exchange”. The program utilized the Global Development Learning Network (GDLN) with Tokyo Development Learning Center (TDLC) taking on the lead role to coordinate with GDLN centers in the region. 33 Knowledge Notes will be developed for the program in order to share findings and lessons from the Great East Japan Earthquake with practitioners throughout the world. 

A series of 6 video conference (VC) based knowledge sharing sessions were delivered from April 18 to May 10, 2012.  A total of 656 people participated throughout the series from 24 connected sites in 18 countries worldwide. A number of people also joined through web streaming from countries that were not connected via VC.

Session 1: Structural Measures (tsunami dykes and building codes)
Session 2: Non-structural Measures (policies and business continuity plan)
Session 3: Emergency Response (gender/vulnerable people and emergency logistics)
Session 4: Recovery and Reconstruction (recovery planning and transitional shelters/housing)
Session 5: Risk Assessment and Financing (Earthquake Insurance and Hazard Maps)

Evaluation showed that participants comprised primarily of government officials, researchers, students, practitioners and NGOs. The program was rated highly at around 4.0-4.3 in a 5 point rating scale on average. In particular the knowledge sharing sessions were rated as highly relevant to organizations and countries of participants based on the feedback received.

According to Federica Ranghieri, Senior Urban Specialist and Task Team Leader of the Learning from Megadisasters program, World Bank, “This program has created a community platform for fostering real-time exchange among experts on how these lessons from the disaster could be transferred and adapted to developing countries across regions.  I think this is one of the successful cases where the GDLN has proved its significant advantage in facilitating global dialogues with a high impact and effective networking”.

Participants provided useful comments on the draft Knowledge Notes. These comments will be incorporated in the Knowledge notes, which will be launched during the IMF-World Bank Annual Meeting in October 2012.

The second stage of GDLN sessions of this program will focus on ‘disaster reconstruction’ and is scheduled to take place in fall 2012.