As the world remembers one of the most devastating natural disasters in recent times I thought it would be fitting to look forward and dream of what disaster preparedness and response world would look like in the future. As with many dreams the sequence is in no particular order.
I have a dream that one day all citizens are well aware of the natural disaster risks in their community and can therefore make educated decisions about how they can prepare for those risks.
I have a dream that one day the information about the risks in communities is openly shared in an easy to use and understandable manner.
I have a dream that one day there are trained local responders in all disaster prone countries that can help rescue those affected by natural disasters in their own country.
I have a dream that one day the various response organizations in a country have already established relationships with each other before the next disaster strikes.
I have a dream that one day each country will have an effective coordination mechanism that not only can properly share information with their citizens, but also make effective use of the local responders.
I have a dream that one day countries will quickly understand if their local capacity has been overwhelmed and ask for assistance from the international community in a timely manner.
I have a dream that one day local coordination and international coordination mechanisms can easily co-exist and co-operate with each other in a partnership.
I have a dream that one day when a disaster strikes information flows freely between all organizations involved, both local and international, both governmental, non-profit and IGOs.
I have a dream that one day we can leverage social media as a way to provide information to the affected population, receive information from the affected population and share information about what we are doing with the world community.
I have a dream that one day we can leverage volunteer technology groups to help us process the vast amount of information that is flowing during a disaster, so that it is easier to analyze it and act upon it.
I have a dream that one day we can leverage the social network that exists between those responding to quickly reach out to everyone involved and break down the organizational barriers that currently hamper effective response.
I have a dream that one day we no longer have to repeatedly write our contact details on pieces of paper, but rather utilize our mobile phones to “check in” to a disaster and provide information about the activities we are involved with.
I have a dream that one day a formal International Response Framework (IRF) is established and agreed upon by the international community. This IRF should be based upon international disaster response law (IDRL) and formally establish processes and mechanisms to make international response more effective.
I have a dream that one day a unified permanent International Humanitarian Coordination Center (IHCC) is established in a strategic location and is staffed by both IGO and NGO representatives. This humanitarian coordination center focuses on coordinating the efforts through on-site coordination centers. This way we don’t have to do all the coordination on the ground.
I have a dream that one day the cluster system evolves to better scale out during large disasters, by for example splitting the efforts up into geographical divisions.
I have a dream that one day all the lead cluster agencies have the capacity to respond properly in the initial days/weeks of a disaster.
I have a dream that one day all the clusters have efficient capacity to share information between cluster members and with other clusters.
I have a dream that one day we have fewer clusters, but more shared services that are properly funded.
I have a dream that one day connectivity no longer is an issue when arriving in a disaster zone.
I have a dream that one day the private sector actively drives their social programs towards playing a leading role in helping solve some of the key issues we currently face today in humanitarian response operations.
I have a dream that one day all humanitarian organizations collaborate instead of compete.
I have a dream that one day we all reach out to help our fellow humans in need, regardless of race, religion and geographical location.
I have a dream that one day we all drive toward making these dreams a reality…