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A Resilient Porto Alegre: capital of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul hosts workshop to assess Individual Resilience Indicators

The city of Porto Alegre hosted a workshop to assess indicators on individual and community resilience on October 8th. Produced by WRI Brasil Sustainable Cities, in partnership with Resilient Porto Alegre, the event took place at Santander Cultural in the state capital of Rio Grande do Sul. Indicators of individual resilience were developed by WRI Brasil and divided into five categories: risk perception, preparation, knowledge and skills, communications, and economic resources.

The workshop’s objective was to evaluate and prioritise the most important set of indicators, whilst mapping actions that reduce the vulnerability of communities, raise their capacity for adaptation and social equity, and encourage the culture of collaboration between individuals in communities.

The workshop was attended by several residents’ associations from a range of communities (Morro Santana, Partenon, 17ª Região das Ilhas, Ilha dos Marinheiros, Vale do Paranhama), Porto Alegre Watch (ObservaPOA), the legislative council, the Civil Defence, the Mayor’s office, and the Participatory Budget and Governance Office. The attendees were split into small groups in order to evaluate the relevance of each indicator.

Developed by WRI Brasil’s research analyst Katerina Elias Trostmann, the indicators evaluated in the workshop include:

Community Resilience Indicators

  • Social cohesion: Focuses on inter-connectedness, communication and support within a community. Members of strongly cohesive groups are more inclined to participate readily and to stay with the group.

  • Institutional reach: Focuses on the relationship and communications channels between the community and municipal government.

Individual Resilience Indicators

  • Risk Perception: Perceived risk concerns how an individual understands and experiences a climate risk.

  • Preparedness: Focuses on the level of preparedness individuals and households have committed to climate hazards.

  • Communications: Focuses on the access to primary and back-up communications network, to understand the potential for isolation during an emergency event, and the potential for information sharing enabling more effective organization.

  • Conhecimentos e competências: conhecimento de um indivíduo sobre riscos climáticos e habilidades para lidar com eles.

  • Economic Resources: Aims to understand the economic and financial investment of individuals in their own resilience.

Porto Alegre kicked off its municipal resilience strategy development process in December 2013 - when it was chosen by the Rockefeller Foundation to be part of the “100 Resilient Cities” challenge. Only two Brazilian cities were selected: the capital of Rio Grande do Sul state, namely Porto Alegre, and Rio de Janeiro. The Individual Resilience Indicators are set to be part of the city resilience plan, aiming to boost individual and community preparedness for climate impacts.

Magdala Arioli, Transportation and Climate Projects Coordinator, led the workshop with research analyst Katerina Elias-Trostmann, both from WRI Brasil Sustainable Cities, along with Patrick Fontes and David Madalena, deputy directors of the Resilient Porto Alegre Project. “The only way we can push forward our support to civil leaders chosen to deal with adversities is through dialogue and collaboration, as well as with effective plans and action”, said Magdala.

/sites/default/files/POA%20Individual%20Resilience%20Indicators%202.jpg Magdala Arioli. (Foto: Mariana Gil/WRI Brasil Cidades Sustentáveis)

Cezar Busatto, Governance Secretary of Porto Alegre, highlighted the importance to convene partnerships between WRI Brasil Sustainable Cities, the Resilient Porto Alegre project, as well as representatives of local communities, the Legislative Assembly and Participatory Budget. “All of this is part of a new paradigm that we’re moving towards, raising awareness and creating plans to move closer to being a resilient city, because resilience will lead us to a state of harmony with the environment, and with others”, he said.

/sites/default/files/POA%20Individual%20Resilience%20Indicators%203.jpg Secretário Busatto. (Foto: Mariana Gil/WRI Brasil Cidades Sustentáveis)

According to the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index (GAIN), Brazil currently ranks 112th out 180 countries in the ND-GAIN index in terms of vulnerability in human settlements. The country is not entirely prepared for climate change and its impact. The research emphasizes components that contribute to Brazil’s deficiency: poor infrastructure and governance gaps due to the country’s large territory with a large population living in poverty.

Katerina Elias-Trostmann introduced the indicators and stressed how elements of vulnerability and adaptation differ depending on the neighborhood or community. “With individual resilience indicators, we can provide tools for people facing situations of vulnerability, since they face climate impacts and in need of local know-how very fast”, she explained.

/sites/default/files/POA%20Individual%20Resilience%20Indicators%204.jpg Katerina Elias. (Foto: Mariana Gil/WRI Brasil Cidades Sustentáveis)

Originally published at embarqbrasil.org

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