Contribution of the Science for Disaster Risk Management.
Acting today, protecting tomorrow

From 12 to 16 of October 2020, at Coimbra, Portugal

In today’s societies, populations demand a high level of safety and well-being, as well as preserving the quality of the environment. Recognizing the increasing impact of disasters and their complexity in large areas of the globe, reducing disaster risks and building a 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, the convergence of knowledge and science, whether theoretical, applied or technological, as well as entities and partners, whose theoretical knowledge and technical experience contribute to identify, characterize and evaluate methodically the natural, anthropic and mixed risks, which influencing the safety of communities, becomes an important added value. In fact, this knowledge allows for foresee of the possible consequences of the risk manifestation and thereby reduce 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”.

The articulation with all civil society, through education and communication, from the first years of life, constitute important and powerful tools in promoting a culture of safety and, therefore, in the risk’s reduction. 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.