Tata Group has a legacy of 150 years towards responding to the disasters as a humanitarian response. After setting up of Disaster Response (DR) unit under Tata Sustainability Group (TSG) in 2014, 15 disasters have been responded to, reaching out to over 8.3 million people.
The field of disaster management has evolved in last two decades, international dialogues and global initiatives have pointed to the fact that disasters ‘don’t just happen’; on the contrary, they often a result of the shortcomings of development which increases vulnerability to hazards. Further, increased exposure and vulnerability to disaster risks is largely a consequence of ‘risk blind’ development policies and processes.
With a view to address the increasing disaster risk through the CSR activities and promote risk informed sustainable development; TSG partnered with Gujarat Institute of Disaster Management (GIDM) to conduct a three-day workshop on ‘Mainstreaming DRR into CSR’ from 18th-20th January 2023.
30 CSR representatives from 18 Tata group companies attended the workshop. Experts from United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), World Health Organisation (WHO), National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) facilitated the workshops.
Virtually present during the inauguration ceremony, Siddharth Sharma, Group CSO said “We need to collaborate with government, civil society and work for the communities for the best optimal outcomes. Every development is an opportunity to reduce risks and the same can done undertaking context specific risk reduction initiatives”.
The sessions focussed on sensitization about climate change and its impacts on increasing severity and intensity of disasters during last few decades were showcased. Using participatory exercises, like ‘power walk’ the participants were deliberated on the need for identification of most vulnerable and underlying reasons behind their risk. The sessions also covered understanding of hazards, vulnerability, exposure, and coping capacity and that disasters are not natural. Participants assessed and prioritized hazard wise disaster risk using project case studies from the CSR programmes.
Deliberating on implementation of DRR in CSR; Shrirang Dhavale, GM, Community Services, TSG urged to be creative as well as pragmatic while designing interventions, he also mentioned “while TSG will continue to be leading disaster response for the Tata group, it is envisaged that the disaster risk reduction agenda for communities needs to spear head through CSR projects of the companies. This training will not only help in gaining conceptual clarity on concepts in DRR but also help participants to mainstream DRR in on going projects as well as in new projects.
The sectoral experts from education, health, livelihood, and agriculture presented the structural and non-structural measures to reduce disaster risk in development.
In the group work exercise, four projects currently being implemented by the CSR were discussed and deliberated. The participants presented the following steps on DRR mainstreaming – hazard identification and its consequences, stakeholder mapping, local risk governance mechanism, discuss plans for mainstreaming DRR and its implementation, cities, challenges envisaged and way ahead.
P K Taneja, director general, GIDM during his valedictory address said ‘if we do not talk about DRR we are creating a disaster. You cannot achieve sustainability if you do not investigate DRR. I appreciate that Tata group is taking this ahead and this collaborative effort will certainly be helpful for an institute like GIDM to see this put into practice’. He further insisted on sharing of case studies, good practices and on field learnings.
During valedictory session participants thanked for timely conduction as they are in the planning process of next year activities and requested TSG to provide technical support for implementation.
Lastly, TSG and GIDM agreed to provide necessary technical support for implementation while mainstreaming DRR into CSR and participants were enthusiastic to undertake risk informed development activities in future. As a way forward, a guiding document will be prepared by TSG and GIDM for the CSRs as a ‘ready reckoner’ to mainstream DRR in CSR programmes.
The workshop was coordinated by Ipsita Das, sr. Manager, TSG and Sumedh Patil, Manager, TSG.
Feedback from participants