Mainstreaming the Gender, Disability, and Social Inclusion or GEDSI perspectives in disaster management can be complex because it often involves an understanding of deeply rooted social issues. Legal umbrellas and implementation guidelines are two important tools that can help support the process of strengthening GEDSI approaches, especially in the policy environment.
One Widyawati, Head of Women Empowerment and Gender Equality of the Office of Women Empowerment, Child Protection and Population (DP3AK) in East Java Province, explained that the East Java Provincial Government (Pemprov) has been committed to mainstreaming gender for a long time. “But we continued to learn, so now we know that there is something to be explored more broadly than just gender, namely social inclusion, which is often called “no left behind”,” she said excitedly.
This means, continued One, the commitment of the East Java Provincial Government has now stepped towards gender equality, disability, and social inclusion. In the existing formal policy, the main focus is still on the issue of gender mainstreaming, namely the East Java Local Regulation No. 9 of 2019 concerning Gender Mainstreaming. However, currently, mainstreaming the broader GEDSI perspective is starting to be more prominent in development issues in general, including disaster management.
Efforts to mainstream GEDSI are carried out by, among others, raising it explicitly in the budgeting of disaster management programs, which is currently carried out together by several Local Government Agencies (OPDs). However, the integration has yet to be maximised, especially in terms of budgeting. GEDSI mainstreaming is expected to be one of the cross-cutting concerns connecting disaster management planning and budgeting across various OPDs. Supported by the SIAP SIAGA Program, the East Java Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD), together with DP3AK, has been raising awareness on the importance of GEDSI mainstreaming by OPDs involved in disaster management, such as the Health Office, Social Office, and others.
According to One, an understanding of GEDSI perspectives is very important because equality of services throughout the disaster management cycle has become mandatory, and this is enshrined in a number of regulations. Starting from Presidential Instruction No. 9 of 2000 concerning Gender Mainstreaming, Regulation of the Head (Perka) Head of the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) No. 13 of 2014 concerning Gender Mainstreaming in Disaster Management, and Perka BNPB No. 14 of 2014 concerning the Management, Protection, and Participation of Persons with Disabilities in Disaster Management.
However, a number of challenges arise in an effort to understand and integrate GEDSI mainstreaming. One admits that these challenges cannot be separated from the patriarchal culture that has been rooted in individuals and communities. Therefore, although regulations related to GEDSI mainstreaming in East Java Province have long existed and are fairly comprehensive, the prevailing culture and a lack of practical guidance means that implementation is challenging.
To promote the implementation of GEDSI perspectives in development planning by each OPD, two steps are being taken, namely issuing a legal umbrella and developing practical guidelines. As an initial foundation, mainstreaming GEDSI perspectives, especially gender aspects, is raised in the Regional Medium-Term Development Plan (RPJMD). Formally, this is realised through the issuance of Local Regulation No. 4 of 2021 concerning Changes to the 2019-2024 RPJMD, which states that gender mainstreaming is a strategy for carrying out development. The next step was to develop a manual so that RPJMD is easier to translate in planning. “So this RPJMD could become a sustainable legal umbrella. The manual was developed to support understanding and practical translation of the RPJMD into plans made in each OPD in the context of disaster management,” continued One.
Sriyono, Associate Expert Disaster Management Administrator of BPBD East Java Province, said that the manual needs to be prepared as a quick and easy reference for the process of developing planning and implementation. With the support from SIAP SIAGA, BPBD, and DP3AK, East Java have developed a series of manuals related to GEDSI that are in line with RPJMD, namely GEDSI Mainstreaming Guideline in Disaster Management, GEDSI Responsive Budgeting Planning Guideline in Disaster Management, and Monitoring, Evaluation, and Reporting Guideline.
The process of developing the manuals began in April 2022 by involving parties in a series of discussions, including representatives of the East Java Provincial Government, the East Java Disaster Risk Reduction Forum (FPRB), academics, and non-governmental organisations. After the manual was completed, BPBD and DP3AK, supported by the SIAP SIAGA Program, conducted socialisation and assistance.
GEDSI mainstreaming efforts did not stop after the manuals were completed. It takes continued effort to have its contents understood by as many local apparatus as possible. However, considering budget constraints, DP3AK promotes its implementation through technical assistance (bimtek). The main target is Human Resources (HR) in OPDs, which is in charge of developing activity planning and budgeting. They are expected to be the motor in their respective agencies in preparing budgets with a GEDSI perspective.
“But the classic problem is the people we have trained through bimtek got transferred. So we have to start training again from the beginning. When starting from the beginning like this, the budgeting planning in the OPD can then be led by a different person,” explained One.
Considering this, the DP3AK Team has decided to provide direct assistance so that planning is in line with GEDSI mainstreaming principles. Fortunately, since August 2022, East Java has had the Super Sinden application (Online Gender Responsive Budgeting Planning System). Through this application, the supervision they do can be faster and more precise. “Currently, initiatives at the provincial level related to gender mainstreaming, or more broadly to GEDSI, have begun to be followed by districts/cities. In total, 22 regions have local regulations concerning gender mainstreaming,” he said.
In addition to the challenge of staff transfers, regions also have limited human resources to assist with the Gender-Responsive Planning and Budgeting (PPRG) process. To address this, DP3AK, with support from SIAP SIAGA, trains facilitators from outside of the government, such as from universities and civil society organisations. One hopes that local government will use these trained facilitators to provide assistance.
Sriyono also hopes that all regions in East Java will soon integrate GEDSI. He gave a simple example of the positive impact of GEDSI mainstreaming that could be seen during the eruption of Mount Semeru in December 2021. Usually, there is only one public kitchen for all in ‘refuges, without differentiating the different needs of different groups. However, with good disaggregated data, BPBD of East Java Province can establish a special public kitchen to meet the needs of vulnerable residents.
“It’s not easy when it comes to changing mindsets. The other day during a meeting with the disaster resilient village assistant (Destana), for example, when I said disability would be added as one of Destana’s instruments, they immediately said it was very difficult,” he said.
The perception of this difficulty, continued Sriyono, apparently emerged because the assistants interpreted it as an obligation to bring persons with disabilities to one place, such as the village hall. In fact, what it really means is to collect accurate data on persons with disabilities and then ensure their needs to deal with disasters, including those related to access to disaster information. This proves that socialisation is still very much needed.
This is what keeps One from setting a high target. Achieving 70 per cent planning with a GEDSI perspective, especially related to disaster management in East Java, according to her, is already very good. The support and commitment from leaders at the local level and in each OPD for mainstreaming the GEDSI perspective is crucial to achieving the realisation of community resilience and inclusive disaster management.