The contribution of science to risk reduction.
Act today to protect tomorrow

From 18 to 22 of May 2020, at Coimbra, Portugal

In today’s societies, people demand a high level of safety and well-being, along with the preservation of the quality of the environment. Recognizing the increasing impact of crises and their complexity in large areas of the globe, reducing disaster risks and building more resilient societies are targets of the Sendai Framework 2015-2030, which is based on four priorities: a) to improve knowledge about the risk of disaster events; (b) strengthen the disaster risk management component; c) to invest in the disaster risk reduction component for better resilience; d) to reinforce the component of preparing an effective response.

In these circumstances, a significant gain comes from the convergence of knowledge and scientific insight, whether theoretical, applied or technological, together with entities and partners whose theoretical knowledge and technical experience are instrumental to the methodological identification, characterization and evaluation of the natural, anthropogenic and mixed risks that influence the security of communities. It is knowledge such as this that enables us to foresee the possible consequences of risk events and thus to minimize the resulting losses. The necessary anticipatory measures can then be implemented upstream, within the spatial planning framework. This may involve siting communities and economic activities in suitable locations. Furthermore, the response can also be prepared through contingency planning, education and training. In addition, the capacity to respond can be improved by developing disaster response protocols, keeping in mind that the subsequent rehabilitation, recovery and reconstruction of the affected areas are key strategies in what is known as the “disaster management cycle”.

Liaison with civil society as a whole through education from the earliest years of life, and communication for risk reduction, are important and powerful tools for promoting a culture of security. Education and communication are therefore essential to raise public awareness of self-protection and thus promote a better application of the precautionary principle: this contributes to the adoption of preventive measures before the risk is manifested and also helps to mitigate the consequences whenever it does in fact manifest itself. Moreover, in the course of the disaster and in the recovery phase they also intend to validate, share, disseminate and combine different information from various sources.