Innovation across India: ADPC Showcasing Novel Approaches in Disaster Risk Reduction

Innovation across India: ADPC Showcasing Novel Approaches in Disaster Risk Reduction

27 May 2022

Bali, Indonesia

The Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) co-organized the “Dialogue on Role of Innovations in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).” The event, hosted with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (the Foundation), was conducted in Bali, Indonesia on 27 May 2022 on the sidelines of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GPDRR) 2022. The collaboration with FICCI aligns with the ADPC’s 2020 Strategy to bring approaches into practice for a safe tomorrow through innovation and partnerships. The organization strives to serve as an incubator for innovation to address challenging and emerging issues in disaster risk reduction (DRR). ADPC recognizes the potential of partnerships to nurture and advance local innovation.

The dialogue witnessed the attendance of 60 participants. It included a session to share experiences on the role of innovation and technology as well as knowledge and best practices in disaster risk management (DRM). The event served as a forum for stakeholders to share suggestions, recommendations, and action points for disaster risk reduction (DRR) and an award ceremony to recognize the efforts of innovators who had participated in the SARTHI Initiative. It was an open competition for participants to showcase their innovations for grappling with the “new normal” that communities now face in India. Competitors from a range of sectors, such as private sector, academia and civil society pitched their ideas on disaster resilience against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event was initiated with a welcome address from Mr. N Bose Babu, the Co-Chairman of the FICCI Committee on Disaster Management. He greeted the audience with a call for collaborative unity: “We need to work together on technologies in disaster relief. We can create a safer world for us and future generations through innovation.”

This was followed by a thematic discussion “Regional Perspectives on Innovations in Disaster Risk Reduction”. The discussion facilitated by Mr. Alok Sharma, CEO, Shycocan Corporation and Former Managing Director, Apple India invited perspectives from Mr. Sisira Madurapperuma, Director at ADPC, and Dr. Valerie Nkamgang Bemo, Deputy Director, Emergency Response, the Foundation.

Mr. Sisira Madurapperuma, Director at ADPC, speaking at the event

Mr. Madurapperuma underscored the value of strengthening localized innovation for DRR in his remarks, “We don’t believe that innovation is limited to Silicon Valley. It’s rooted in local communities and as a regional organization, we have the responsibility to give them space and a voice. Their potential is fully maximized when we identify, nurture, and recognize these local champions.”

Dr. Bemo stressed the need to expand the prospects and outcomes of innovation - “We tend to box innovation as a product. However, it can be a process, position, taking something existing and using it in a different way. The biggest innovators exist in their communities because the solution is a matter of survival. It ushers the need for a bottom-up approach for solutions.”

The panel discussion was followed by several addresses given by expert industry professionals, academics and government officials. Community intervention emerged as a central theme for achieving sustainable change, and the SARTHI Initiative was designed to institutionalize creative methods of intervention at the grassroots and national levels.

Dr. Rajib Shaw, Professor, Graduate School of Media & Governance, Keio University, gave a special address at the event. He underlined the need to make innovation the everyday model, “The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) 2015-2030 put innovation at the forefront of DRR. As the SARTHI emerged during COVID, I want innovation to be the new normal. DRR was historically community-based which highlights the need for the last mile to become the first mile. It must be at the core of co-designing, production, and delivery.”

The second portion of the event was dedicated to recognizing ten SARTHI finalists whose solutions were selected from more than 100 submissions in demonstrating exceptional relevance and potential for supporting disaster resilience in the new normal in the Indian context. Three finalists were selected as winners for their innovative solutions:

  • DigiSwasthya Foundation represented by Dr. Pallabi Roy (Co-Founder)
  • POWER with Mukki represented by Ms. Ishita Sharma (Founder & CEO MukkaMaar)
  • Sanjeevani Disaster Management Package represented by Rajendra Vitthal Ladkat TBI (Shriram Institute of Industrial Research)

The SARTHI winners will receive grant funding support and guidance from FICCI and ADPC for the further development and scale out of their solutions.

Click below to watch the full event: