EU Science Hub

Towards a science and technology roadmap for disaster risk reduction

Science and technology offer key solutions to improve disaster risk reduction
Jan 27 2016

Over a thousand scientists, policymakers and practitioners are gathering in Geneva this week to agree on concrete ways that science and technology can contribute to managing disaster risk and reducing disaster losses, as envisaged by the Sendai Framework for disaster risk reduction 2015-2030. The knowledge centre on disaster risk management and other JRC activities and tools will provide tangible contributions to this endeavour.

Science and technology can play an important role in reducing disaster risk and losses. The Sendai Framework, adopted by the international community in March 2015, fully recognises its role and calls for enhanced scientific work in this area and a better coordination of existing networks and scientific research institutions. This is also the aim of the disaster risk management knowledge centre (DRMKC), whose activities have been proposed for inclusion in the S&T roadmap that will be endorsed at the conference.

Launched in September 2015, the DRMKC contributes to strengthening the interface between science and policy to increase the resilience of the European Union to disasters. It facilitates access to relevant knowledge and translates complex scientific data and analyses into usable information at all stages of the disaster risk management – from prevention to recovery – and at all levels – local, national, European and global.

Scientific partnerships are key to improve the interface between science and policy. The JRC is leading a number of partnerships in areas such as risk assessment for humanitarian crisis and disasters (Index for Risk Management - INFORM), global flood awareness and observation (Global Flood Partnership), disaster alerting (Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System). These partnerships allow the exchange of knowledge across scientific disciplines and between scientists and policy makers.
JRC's research activities to map human settlements from space will also contribute to the Sendai S&T roadmap. The new Group on Earth Observation (GEO) Human Planet initiative, chaired by the JRC, will provide novel evidence-based assessment of the human presence on Earth by merging satellite data and statistical survey data sources. Global datasets on population and the built environment are key to assess humankind's impact on the planet, access to resources, and exposure to risk.

JRC research for disaster risk management

JRC's research focuses on different aspects of disasters worldwide: prevention, preparedness, response and recovery; examples of its research areas include monitoring and forecasting systems; satellite-based risk and emergency mapping and post-disaster needs assessment methods. Further information can be found in the dedicated leaflet.

Background information

The Sendai Framework is a 15-year voluntary, non-binding agreement for the 2015-2030 period, which recognises that the State has the primary role to reduce disaster risk, but that responsibility should be shared with other stakeholders including local government, the private sector and other stakeholders.

The Science and Technology Conference is taking place in Geneva, Switzerland from 27 to 29 January 2016.  It is organised by the United Nations office for disaster risk reduction (UNISDR) and the Scientific and Technical Advisory Group (STAG).

The JRC is member of the STAG, and has multiple roles in the organisation of this event: it is leading the work stream on the "Use of science, technology and innovation tool, methods and standards to support the implementation and reporting of the Sendai Framework" and has contributed to the drafting of the S&T roadmap. Several JRC staff members are participating as speakers, moderators or rapporteurs.

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