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Global | 30 May 2014

Building a resilient future in Kathmandu Valley

Collaboration is key for understanding and reducing earthquake risk, and GEM is committed to working with communities on new approaches for incorporating socio-economic characteristics into seismic risk assessments. At the same time, GEM is committed to supporting communities in undertaking such assessments for input into risk management and reduction plans.

A geographical position prone to seismas coupled with unprecedented population growth and rapid land use change, has rendered cities within the Kathmandu Valley some of the most vulnerable to earthquakes in the world.

It is within this context that the GEM Foundation collaborated with the National Society for Earthquake Technology (NSET) in Kathmandu, the Center for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Technology (CEDIM) in Karlsruhe, and the South Asia Institute (SAI) in Heidelberg to conduct a workshop aimed at supporting communities within the Kathmandu Valley to undertake a stakeholder-based analysis at the sub-city level to assess the capacity of communities to cope with earthquake events. The workshop, which occurred on March 25 and 26, was hosted by the Sub-metropolitan City of Lalitpur and consisted of facilitated learning, discussion, and the population of a scorecard developed jointly by GEM, NSET, CEDIM, and the SAI. The scorecard is a survey-based tool that uses a bottom-up approach to empower stakeholders to assess community resilience to earthquakes. The scorecard is based on the UNISDR ten essentials of resilient cities in combination with the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA).

On the initial day of the workshop, representatives from 20 of the city’s 22 Wards assembled to fill out the survey by using hand–held receivers, which permitted a real-time rendering of results. On the following day the same process was repeated, but this time with a different audience, composed of city-level officials and policy makers. The municipal and ward-level officials were then brought together to discuss agreement and divergence in their overall results. The spontaneous debate that followed helped to empower a common understanding of earthquake resilience in their city and fostered a focus on ways in which earthquake resilience could be improved.

Participants using hand-held receivers

GEM learned that this was the first time ward and municipal level officials had been brought together in an official capacity for nearly 12 years to discuss topics relevant to earthquake safety and risk reduction in their city. They are committed to progressively fostering assessments of earthquake risk and resilience that account for population and institutional characteristics, while adopting and improving the scorecard assessment methodology while within the region.

Results of the Lalitpur scorecard


Learn more about our work in the area in here.

nepal, resilience, seismic risk