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From knowledge to action: Learning to go the last mile

Five years after the Indian Ocean tsunami of 26 December, 2004, a new SEI study shows that early warning systems established in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand still need improvement.

Rasmus Kløcker Larsen, Frank Thomalla / Published on 21 January 2010

Thomalla, F.; Larsen Klocker, R.; Kanji, F.; Naruchaikusol, S.; Tepa, C.; Ravesloot, B.; Kainan Ahmed, A. (2009). From knowledge to action: Learning to go the last mile. Project report 2009.

The SEI report, ‘From Knowledge To Action: Learning To Go The Last Mile’(pdf, 5,94 mb), released by SEI’s Asia Centre in Bangkok, says that:

  • Information designed to help countries prepare for disaster events needs to become more relevant, using local languages and involving local people in shaping policies
  • Targets for adequate disaster preparedness should be jointly negotiated at the local government level and with people who are actively involved in preparing for disasters
  • Information and processes that are currently top-down need to take into account the different priorities and thinking that prevail at the local level
  • Space should be created for critical reflection on how policies are being implemented on the ground

While post-tsunami aid efforts are winding down, the researchers conclude that the lessons from the tsunami recovery process can help to address the challenges of adapting to climate change around the region.

  • While some good efforts have been made, not enough is currently being done in many cases to truly address the underlying reasons of the vulnerabilities of individuals and communities, not only to tsunamis but to other shocks and surprises, says Dr Thomalla.
  • Some of these relate to the broader political ecology that keeps people in poverty and social marginalized, and addressing these will require considerable social change, he says.

The report, ‘From Knowledge To Action: Learning To Go The Last Mile’, comes out of a four-year programme of Sustainable Recovery and Resilience Building in the Tsunami-Affected Region, supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

SEI collaborated with the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre, the Raks Thai Foundation (part of CARE International) and Macquarie University in preparing the report.

Download the report here (pdf, 6,41 mb)

See video with Frank Thomalla here (time: 00:03:19)
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Click here to watch the video in Flash Player-then press play to start

{avrpopup type=”lightbox” id=”pop”}Click here to watch the video in Flash Player-then press play to start{/avrpopup}

SEI authors

Rasmus Kløcker Larsen
Rasmus Kløcker Larsen

Team Leader: Rights and Equity

SEI Headquarters

Profile picture of Frank Thomalla
Frank Thomalla

SEI Affiliated Researcher

SEI Asia

Related centres
SEI Asia

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