Participatory Methods in the Georgian Caucasus: Understanding Vulnerability and Response to Debrisflow Hazards


Assessment and emergency planning to cope with disaster risks are usually founded primarily on expert evaluations, in part because local governments and public bodies mainly finance the recovery activities. Local communities affected by disasters are scarcely really involved in the processes of information collection, problem analysis, or design of emergency plans.However, the development of good practices for incorporating local people’s knowledge into disaster risk management, known as Community-Based Disaster Risk Management (CBDRM), is becoming more common. Scientific communities increasingly realize the importance of local knowledge, though in Georgia this is still uncommon. Georgia faces frequent natural disasters and threats to its fragile ecosystems caused by unsustainable natural resource management and agricultural practices, improper infrastructure and urban development, as well as by innate geological and climatic factors. In this context, the lack of communication between local communities and public administrations is absolutely deleterious. The article analyzes the effectiveness of participatory methods and tools for better comprehension of people’s vulnerability and responses. Fieldwork in mountain areas of Caucasus involved local communities to investigate the direct participation of local people in Disaster Risk Management and assess their availability and interest to engage in hazard mapping and risk responses.

Share and Cite:

Spanu, V. , Gaprindashvili, G. and McCall, M. (2015) Participatory Methods in the Georgian Caucasus: Understanding Vulnerability and Response to Debrisflow Hazards. International Journal of Geosciences, 6, 666-674. doi: 10.4236/ijg.2015.67054.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Smith, K. (2004) Environmental Hazards: Assessing Risk and Reducing Disaster. Routledge, 306.
[2] Wisner, B., Blaikie, P., Cannon, T. and Davis I. (2004) At Risk: Natural hazArds, People’s Vulnerability and Disasters. Psychology Press.
[3] Bankoff, G., Frerks, G. and Hilhorst, D. (2004) Mapping Vulnerability: Disasters, Development and People. Earthscan, London, 256.
[4] Gaillard, J.C. (2010) Vulnerability, Capacity and Resilience: Perspectives for Climate and Development Policy. Journal of International Development, 22, 218-232.
[5] Delica-Willison, Z. and Willison, R. (2004) Vulnerability Reduction: A Task for the Vulnerable People Themselves. Mapping Vulnerability: Disasters, Development and People. Earthscan, London, 145-158.
[6] Peacock, W.G., Brody, S.D. and Highfield W. (2005) Hurricane Risk Perceptions among Florida’s Single Family Homeowners. Landscape and Urban Planning, 73, 120-135.
[7] Prelog, A.J. and Miller, L.M. (2013) Perception of Disaster Risk and Vulnerability in Rural, Texas. Journal of Rural Social Sciences, 28, ().
[8] McCall, M.K. (2008) Participatory Mapping and Participatory GIS (PGIS) for CRA, Community DRR and Hazard Assessment. ProVention Consortium, CRA Toolkit, Participation Resources, Geneva.
[9] Marty, C., Korup, O., Margret, P.M. (2009) Mountains and Climate Change: From Understanding to Action. In: Kholer, T. and Maselli, D., eds. Mountain Hazards, Geographica Bernensia and SDC, Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), Bern, 31-40.
[10] Tran, P., Shaw, R., Chantry, G. and Norton, J. (2009) GIS and Local Knowledge in Disaster Management: A Case Study of Flood Risk Mapping in Viet Nam. Disasters, 33, 152-169.
[11] Krishnamurthy, P.K., Fisher, J.B. and Johnson, C. (2011) Mainstreaming Local Perceptions of Hurricane Risk into Policymaking: A Case Study of Community GIS in Mexico. Global Environmental Change, 21, 143-153.
[12] Peters-Guarin, G., McCall, M.K. and van Westen, C. (2012) Coping Strategies and Risk Manageability: Using Participatory Geographical Information Systems to Represent Local Knowledge. Disasters, 36, 1-27.
[13] R?d, S.K., Botan, C. and Holen, A. (2012) Risk Communication and Worried Publics in an Imminent Rockslide and Tsunami Situation. Journal of Risk Research, 15, 645-654.
[14] World Bank (2013) Building Resilient Communities: Risk Management and Response to Natural Disasters through Social Funds and Community-Driven Development Operations. The World Bank, Washington DC.
[15] UN-ISDR: Living with Risk, UN, 2004.
[16] National Environmental Agency, NEA (2011) Information Bulletin on Outcomes of Geological Disasters in 2010 and Forecast for the 2011 Year in Georgia. Department of Geology, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources, Tbilisi.
[17] Tsagareishvili, N. (2011) Lives of Eco-Migrants under Threat.
[18] Liebenberg, L. (2012) The Cyber Tracker Story.
[19] Spanu, V. and McCall, M.K. (2013) Eliciting Local Spatial Knowledge for Community-Based Disaster Risk Management: Working with Cyber Tracker in Georgian Caucasus. International Journal of E-Planning Research (IJEPR), 2, 45-59.
[20] Shall, N. and Becker, M. (2008) Practitioner’s Guide: Conflict Analysis—Participatory Local Conflict Analysis, South Caucasus. Copyright: GTZ-FRCS Project Team, 21 p.
[21] Melsbach, G., Fuhr, S. and Baghdadze, A. (2010) Ex-Post Evaluation 2010—Brief Report Promotion of Food Security, Regional Cooperation and Stability in the Southern Caucasus, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia (FRCS). Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.
[22] CARE: South Caucasus, 2010.
[23] TJS (Transboundary Joint Secretariat), 2012.
[24] UNECE (United Nation Economic Commission for Europe), 2009.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.