Intra- and inter-regional capacity building framework

Work package type: PREPARATION

Reference number: 1

WP1 will identify intra and inter region capacity needs across partner country HEIs to improve MHEW and increase resilience among coastal communities. The WP will result in a detailed regional survey that addresses regional capacities in HEIs, as well as partnerships with socio-economic actors that could be leveraged to build capacity, foster regional integration and cooperation through joint initiatives, sharing of good practices and cooperation. The survey will result in five detailed country papers (Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka) and a regional paper for Asia. With the benefit of input from Associate Partners that have extensive regional links, as well as access to secondary data, the regional paper will offer perspectives on the whole region, rather than just the five countries represented in the country papers.

The regional monitoring and assessment framework that will underpin this analysis will directly support national and regional efforts towards MHEW, and will be developed in close cooperation with the Associate Partners, IOC-UNESCO (P18), FSLGA (P16) and ADPC (P17). 

Coastal regions are an important focus of development, are densely populated and therefore, are very vulnerable to hazards such as tsunamis. One crucial aspect of disaster risk reduction is the efficient functioning of MHEW Systems which are owned by Member States and require a high degree of international and multilateral cooperation, under the governance of International Oceanagraphic Commission (P18). They are designed according to well-defined operational standards which must be uniformly implemented across the broad range of activities and projects.

However, progress in early warning is uneven across the region, with some high-risk, low-capacity countries falling behind. There is also uneven progress by hazard type and sub-region. The five selected partner countries in Asia (region 6) include communities that are highly exposed and vulnerable to the threat posed by multiple coastal hazards.  Accordingly, to the UN Risk Model, Myanmar ranks as the ‘most at risk’ country for natural disasters, while Indonesia is located at one of the most active geological subduction zones in the world and its population is growing rapidly in coastal areas.  Sri Lanka was one of the countries most affected by 2004 tsunami despite having been considered low risk beforehand. Over 80% of the land area of Maldives is less than one meter above sea level and it is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change and sea level rise. The Philippines is known as one of the most hazard prone countries in the world and as a tropical archipelagic nation, the Philippines is particularly susceptible to coastal hazards, which are being exacerbated by climate change.

An integrated and holistic approach to MHEWs is required for multiple hazards and risks, tailored to user needs across sectors. In this regard, international and regional collaboration as well as multi‐stakeholder partnership at all levels is critically necessary, given the transboundary nature of most natural hazards.

The Intergovernmental Coordination Group (ICG) of Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWS) has a mandate to enhance awareness and implementation by Member States of the procedures for risk assessment and effective functioning of the “last mile” of the MHEW system within communities. This mandate corresponds to priority aims identified in the Sendai Framework of 2015 on DRR (Disaster Risk Reduction) – to achieve a substantial reduction of disaster losses, in lives, and in the social, economic and environmental assets of persons, communities and countries over the next 15 years. In particular, they include “understanding disaster risk” and “enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response, and to ‘Build Back Better’ in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction”.

The ICG has identified the considerable demand amongst Indian Ocean Member States for capacity building that will enhance this foundation of procedural knowledge and promote its take-up on a sustained and sustainable basis, as a step towards the implementation of these DRR aims. The ICG recognises the existence of hurdles or barriers to the effective dissemination of such knowledge to Member States in the application of its current capacity building strategy.

In general, the higher education sector plays a significant role in any capacity development strategy. The ultimate goal of a capacity development strategy is to achieve progress and development. According to their natural assets and constraints, to their already existing capacities, to their possible competitive advantages, and to their priorities, institutions, countries and regions need to develop differing development strategies. However, the transboundary (regional) nature of the challenge necessitates greater integration of those strategies. National and regional development strategies, for example, may build on a variety of complementary sectoral capacity development strategies.

Whatever the sector, including those engaged with MHEW, capacity building relies on the strengthening of individual capacity through training and learning, in order to raise the domestic and regional stock of human capital in a specific field, as well as the development of innovative capacity. This can be done by setting up specific educational programmes in the formal education system or by other forms of learning, research and innovation. Effective capacity building also requires increased intra- and inter-regional cooperation, as well as fruitful partnerships with socio-economic actors.

To meet this challenge and better understand the role of HEIs it is necessary to assess countries’ and the region’s capacity development needs and design capacity building for Higher Education in response to those needs. A Tracer Study undertaken by UNDP for the ICG/IOTWS indicated the need for “clubbing” low-capacity countries together and providing a regional perspective.

WP1 will involve a detailed needs analysis on how to institutionalize and strengthen multi‐hazard, end‐to‐end, people‐centred EWS for all communities, and to deliver warnings from one authoritative source or “voice”. The analysis will likely cover a range of dimensions, such as legislative and planning, infrastructure, technical and scientific, and institutional partnerships. However, the final regional capacity model and associated interventions will be decided on through processes of consultation and needs assessments by all Asian partners, and relevant socio-economic actors (in conjunction with Associate Partners). The Asian partners will engage in a detailed needs survey exercise to identify examples of good practice at the national level and across their region, and to specify areas of capacity building needed at distinct institutions, as well as requirements for improved regional cooperation and integration. The analysis will cover both demand (IOC Member States) and supply (Higher Education Institutes) for capacity.

In order to interpret and make sense of evaluation evidence and contextualise evolution and progress, the survey will capture information on the baseline status, thus negotiating capacity building priorities with all partners at the onset. A follow up survey (in WP3) conducted at the mid and latter stages of the project and using the same measures will show the progress towards achieving the capacity building objectives. This will ensure early buy-in and consider the bespoke capacity building needs of different partners given their unique baseline capacity positions, but also towards broader regional integration and cooperation. This lays the foundations for a networked model of regional capacity building in a consultative manner.

The results of the capacity analysis will inform the CABARET development WPs (4, 5, 6 and 7).

The involvement of EU programme country partners will add value due to their extensive experience of capacity analysis and capacity development frameworks.


1.1 Finalise the regional monitoring and assessment framework: the framework will likely cover a range of dimensions, such as legislative and planning, infrastructure, technical and scientific, and institutional partnerships. However, the final regional capacity model and associated interventions will be decided on through processes of consultation and needs assessments by all Asian partners, and relevant socio-economic actors (in conjunction with Associate Partners). The tool will be used to inform the national and regional level gap analyses, a detailed baseline survey and monitoring of progress. The model will be drafted during workshops held alongside the kick-off meeting (M2) and subsequent virtual meetings.

1.2 Undertake national level (in Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Philippines and Sri Lanka) and regional (Asia) level analyses: The analyses will be based on the dimensions (in the model) identified in task 1.1 to ensure comparability. The analyses will result in six country level reports and a single regional paper, and ensure detailed baseline and evidence-based priority setting to identify emerging needs for MHEW.

At the national level the analyses will consider how to engage high-level university authorities as well as relevant socio-economic actors in each country. The analyses will further identify examples of good practice and existing capacity across the network, and explore the scope for their wider-scale adoption. The analyses will also consult senior authorities from across the region (e.g. Vice-Chancellors, Deans, Deputy- Deans, socio-economic actors), targeting discussions around key issues. A second survey (conducted in WP3) and using the same model will be undertaken in the latter stages of the project to provide the project and its partners with indicators of progress.

The regional level analyses will set out requirements for: promoting scientific cooperation and knowledge transfer in Higher Education within Asia, and between Asia and Europe on MHEW and coastal resilience; facilitating inter-institutional mobility schemes for academic, administrative and technical staff; exploring, promoting and initiating opportunities for fruitful university partnerships with socio-economic actors in coastal communities; developing innovative multi-disciplinary training courses tailored for rapid skill (knowledge, qualifications,) acquisition for professional teams involved in MHEW at the national and regional level. These will be used to refine the planned interventions in WPs 4 - 7. The paper will seek to ensure a degree of equitable benefit distribution across partners to help secure initial support.