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Session Details

Socio-economic equity in an all-hazards approach to DRR and CCA: Challenges and opportunities identified through COVID response and recovery

Past Event

August 6th
10:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Pacifiic Time

Webinar Format
Panel Discussion

Dialogue, Q&A discussion




  • Capturing the lessons learned from the challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic response rooted in socioeconomic inequality and opportunities for building equity in post-pandemic recovery

  • Discussing the underlying drivers of vulnerabilities to disasters​

  • Drawing connections with climate change adaptation and all-hazards approach to resilience and recovery


As a society, we are as resilient as our most vulnerable. Disasters have a disproportionate impact on low-income communities and marginalized groups who typically have less access to information and institutions to prepare for a disaster. Due to lower financial means, they live in lower quality buildings located in hazard-prone areas, don’t have insurance or the means to evacuate safely. They might have higher levels of underlying health conditions or jobs that put them at higher risk at the time of a disaster. The Sendai Framework for DRR (2015-2030) places a strong emphasis on ensuring the DRR actions, policies, and programs consider the needs of the vulnerable groups. The global Sustainable Development Goals (SDG2030) have goals dedicated to gender equality (goal 5) and reduced inequalities (goal 10) while the issue of equity is reflected in many other goals.

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the societal vulnerabilities that are rooted in socio-economic inequalities and inequities in society. Meanwhile, we are living through widespread public awareness and protests on the systemic socioeconomic and racial inequalities in various countries, including in Canada. While recognizing that we are still in the middle of the pandemic response and early stage of recovery planning, this session aims to establish a dialogue on what we are learning from challenges faced during pandemic response rooted in socio-economic inequalities as well as the opportunities for equity-based recovery. Our distinguished speakers and commentators among the audience will also help us to make the connections with the multi-hazards approach to resilience and recovery planning in BC and Canada.



Convened and moderated by Ms. Sahar Safaie, Sage On Earth Consulting and member of DRR Pathways Project Team.

Additional contributions for designing the session came from Ms. Nicole Spence, Health Emergency Management British Columbia (HEMBC).


  • Ms. Mitzi Dean, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity

  • Dr. Robin Cox, Program Head for Master of Arts in Climate Action Leadership; Disaster Management graduate program faculty at Royal Roads University

  • Dr. Emily Dicken, Director of Emergency Management at First Nations Health Authority (FNHA)

  • Dr. Jackie Yip, Coastal risk scientist at Natural Resources Canada

  • Dr. Laurie Johnson, Principal and Founder, Laurie Johnson Consulting I Research (USA)

  • Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity, Mitzi Dean - Speaker"
    Mitzi Dean was elected as MLA for Esquimalt-Metchosin in 2017, and was appointed the Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity in February 2018. Parliamentary Secretary Dean grew up in southeast England and has spent the last 30 years helping vulnerable people. Before moving to the Victoria area in 2005, Mitzi Dean served as a national development manager for children's services with the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, the U.K.'s largest child protection charity. Prior to that, she worked in child protection social work and community-based social services across Great Britain for more than 20 years. She also volunteered at a Romanian orphanage and a transition house in the U.K. providing refuge for women experiencing relationship violence. Most recently, she served as executive director of the Pacific Centre Family Services Association. PS Dean lives in Metchosin with her partner and daughter.
  • Robin Cox, Ph.D. Royal Roads University"
    Robin is the Program Head of the graduate programs in Climate Action Leadership at Royal Roads University (RRU) and a Professor in the Disaster and Emergency Management Master of Arts program. As Director of the ResilienceByDesign ILab (RbD) at RRU, Robin leads multiple action research and educational initiatives focused on resilience and enhancing the capacity of youth and adults to address the complex and intersecting challenges of climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction.
  • Emily Dicken, Ph.D. First Nations Health Authority"
    Dr. Emily Dicken has worked as a practitioner in the field of emergency management since 2006, spending the first twelve years of her career with the province of BC working in health emergency management and then for Emergency Management BC where she held the role of Director, First Nation Coordination. Emily is now the Director of Emergency Management at First Nations Health Authority. Beyond her work at FNHA, Emily pursues academic interests with a central focus on understanding colonialism as an unnatural and enduring disaster impacting Indigenous communities. When not working, Emily can be found enjoying time in the outdoors with her husband Jeff and their two young sons, Keegan and Bowen.
  • Jackie Yip, Ph.D. Natural Resources Canada"
    Jackie Yip is a Research Scientist within the Public Safety Geoscience Program at Natural Resources Canada, where she is leading research efforts in developing best practices and new methods for understanding flood risk and community resilience and recovery. Her research interest lies at the intersect of climate adaptation, disaster risk modelling, and decision-making, and specializes in predictive modelling and data-visualization.
  • Laurie Johnson, Ph.D. Laurie Johnson Consulting I Research"
    Laurie is an internationally-recognized urban planner specializing in disaster recovery and catastrophe risk management, and based in the San Francisco Bay Area. For over 30 years, she has combined her unique blend of professional practice and research to help communities address the complex urban challenges posed by natural hazards and disasters. Much of her post-disaster recovery efforts are captured in her recent book, After Great Disasters: An In-Depth Analysis of How Six Countries Managed Community Recovery (2017). She is President of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute and on the Board of Directors of the Earthquakes and Megacities Initiative and the Advisory Board of the Global Earthquake Model (GEM). She was also inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners (FAICP) in 2018. She holds a Doctorate in Informatics from Kyoto University, Japan, as well as a Master of Urban Planning and Bachelors of Science in Geophysics, both from Texas A&M University.
  • Sahar Safaie (Moderator). Sage On Earth Consulting
    Sahar Safaie is the founder and principal consultant of Sage on Earth Consulting Ltd., based in North Vancouver. The niche of her expertise and services is to enhance the use of disaster and climate risk information in designing resilience policies, investments and programs. She has more than fifteen years of diverse experiences in BC and internationally including at United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), Global Earthquake Model, the World Bank, and Risk Management Solutions. Sahar has lead development of two of the Sendai Framework implementation guidelines on National Disaster Risk Assessment and National Disaster Risk Reduction Strategies.
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