The role of government within development and disaster risk reduction is a critical element in protecting communities and ensuring that mechanisms that they rely on when a disaster strikes, from search and rescue to Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for disasters, are in place.
However despite their importance of government, institutions and policy, even the best governments in developing contexts often suffer from weak institutions, especially at the local level. Frequently they face the challenge of ensuring that the work they do at national level, the policies they create, including Early Warning Systems and the responsibilities they give to local government have meaning on the ground. Frequently there is a gap between policy and what happens on the ground. Frequently, but not always, governments lack the technical skills within their institutions to adequately respond to disasters.
A key part of my work has been to build the skills and capacity of national government to provide technical solutions to these issues, to build the responses of sub-national government, who are often the most critical element in the coordination of disaster response, and to ensure that National Disaster Management Agencies are able to meet the challenges of preparing for disasters and can adapt the impacts of a changing climate. Working directly with senior government officials I have been able to develop a good understanding of government priorities and what they need in order to provide solutions that are relevant, workable and achievable.