Sustainable Cities
Improving Disaster Resilience for Sustainable Cities

Training and Workshop: Data-Driven Strategic Planning for Disaster Risk Reduction
Desaster Risk Reduction Seminar
© Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom

Türkiye has been struggling with disasters and the challenges they bring since 2020. The Izmir Earthquake in 2020 October 30th, the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021, the heat waves and forest fires in 2022, and the February 6th earthquakes in 2023 that come first in mind point that the country and the entire Anatolian region will have to deal with much more in years to come. At this point, not only emergency plans that seems to be discussed heavily only after the disasters hit, but the necessity of studies on disaster resilience and risk reduction becomes evident.

On May 14th, TESEV organised Data-Driven Strategic Planning for Disaster Risk Reduction event within the scope of Improving Disaster Resilience for Sustainable Cities project at the Marmara Municipalities Union Hızırbey Çelebi Hall. In the first part of the event, which representatives from the public institutions, local governments, civil society organizations, private sector and academia participated, experts on the subject talked about policy documents, data, budget and cooperation for disaster risk reduction, while in the workshop part of the event, participants discussed how disaster risk reduction can be included in strategic plans.

Speaking about the international, national and local framework for disaster risk reduction, Gizem Fidan, TESEV Project Manager, states that "to understand and reduce disaster risk, it is necessary to examine the objectives, targets, indicators defined by policy documents at different scales and the data specified for monitoring". According to Samet Keskin, Director of the Marmara Municipalities Union Data and Technology Center, the information, knowledge and policy to be produced from data are as important as the importance, quality, use and management of data in disaster risk reduction. To reduce disaster risk, there is a need for primary and secondary open data on disaster types, actors and locations. However, "while the capacities of organisations differ in terms of disaster data management, one common point stands out” says Samet Keskin, “There is a long way to go."

Disaster Risk Reduction-2
© Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom

Nurhan Yentürk, Co-Spokesperson of Public Expenditure Monitoring Platform (KAHİP), states that according to their research, "29 metropolitan municipalities allocated approximately 3.5% of their total budgets for disaster-related targets in 2022 on average". In addition, the TL budget that local governments can allocate for disasters is much lower than that of the central government. This increases the importance of locally-led disaster risk management. According to Serkan Denli, Localisation and Advocacy Manager of Support to Life Association, with micro grants, it is possible to "support the prevention and response actions developed by local communities living in disaster-affected and at-risk areas and thus strengthen their disaster resilience".

With the support of the Freidrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, TESEV’s "Improving Disaster Resilience for Sustainable Cities" project aims to improve democratic governance in cities by supporting data-driven strategic planning on disaster risk reduction and resilience within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The project will continue with a policy brief and other publications to be written in line with the issues highlighted by participants at the event.