‘Setting the Stage’: How Policy Institutions Frame Participationin Post-Disaster Recovery
Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 111 Temple Buell Hall, 611 Lorado Taft Drive, Champaign IL 61820, USA
Stakeholder participation is widely acknowledged as being critical to building local capacity to recover from and adapt to disaster events. However, there exists little analytical insight on the factors that affect this participation. Specifically, research is needed on how policies made for disaster recovery facilitate or constrain participation, particularly for places facing unprecedented and catastrophic disasters. This paper uses the case study example of the recovery of Nagapattinam (India) after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami to illustrate how recovery policies set the stage on which stakeholder participation occurs. First, recovery policies did not clearly define beneficiaries of the programs, thus leaving these decisions to interpretations on the ground. Second, recovery policies empowered certain stakeholders over others. And lastly, recovery policies did not provide any standards for the community consultation process. This led to a variety of participatory processes on the ground and opened up the possibility of cooptation by more powerful social groups. The paper uses these lessons to suggest measures for policymakers facing similar unprecedented and catastrophic disasters to facilitate stakeholder participation in recovery and it calls for further research on this subject.
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