Disaster events such as earthquakes, floods, droughts, landslides and hurricanes around the world are increasing in frequency and severity. This is sometimes a direct result of manmade activities such as unplanned urbanization and land-use, climate change, struggling agricultural production systems, population growth, and over exploitation of natural resources.
Therefore, countries have now an increased impetus to address these events which are not only having devastating impacts on the entire economy but most importantly on the main assets of their citizens: land and property. Secondary effects from these events can cause large disturbances too. For instance, homes and fields may be abandoned after the disaster event but returning may be restricted due to insecure tenure and the inability to prove prior occupation. Once access to land (a core social safety net) is lost, resuming livelihoods becomes challenging or impossible which consequently increases vulnerability. Families will face the prospect of duress selling of assets at reduced prices and moving to urban informal settlements.
There is wide recognition that national land administration systems and spatial data infrastructure are fundamental for disaster risk management. They play a key role in facilitating pre and post disaster tenure, land use, land valuation and zoning information in a unified geospatial platform for planning, monitoring and implementing responses. The input of this information enhances resilience capabilities and enables stakeholders to carry out the required mitigation and preparedness actions. Better access to information, along with more secure tenure, will yield land use and management decisions that take resilience into account and reduce vulnerability.
The extent of the role that land and geospatial information, the function and responsibility of the institutions that govern the data, and the resulting impact that this data has on the overall resilience of society has not been extensively explored or clearly defined to date. This leaves a critical gap in knowledge regarding potential to significantly improve disaster resilience for stakeholders, particularly at the community level, using existing information and resources. To address this identified gap an investigation aiming to develop a roadmap to demonstrate how national land and geospatial systems could improve resilience to disasters is underway.
The key objective of this study is to define the rationale, approach and methodologies for improving the resilience and resilience impact of national land administration and geospatial systems by:
- Consolidating international cross-sectoral knowledge on land administration, geospatial systems and resilience
- Developing an approach to produce country-level action plans for increasing resilience and resilience impact of national land and geospatial system
- Producing a minimum of 5 country level action plans
- Disseminating the results within the World Bank and globally through a flagship report and an International Forum.
Through this investigation increased recognition of the important role national land and geospatial systems have in establishing resilience to disasters is expected as an outcome.
As a society, we are still trying to understand the concept of resilience and how it can be successfully established and implemented, and then sustained for the vast range of stakeholders in our communities, taking into consideration the different priorities and needs of individuals. Land administration and the vast wealth of data that it entails is a key component that requires further study and consideration within the contexts of disaster risk management and disaster resilience. There is scope for national land and geospatial systems to play a larger role and create a bigger impact, and through this study and initial report we will explore it.