Abstract: A serious gap exists between science and disaster decision making, so that many scientific reports have little impact and fail to inform decision making. This article examines the complex linkages between science and disaster reduction, analyzing the barriers that prevent more effective use of science and suggesting how the gap between science and decision making may be narrowed.
Abstract: Improving our ability to cope with large risks is one of the key challenges for humankind in this century. This article outlines a research program in this perspective. Starting with a concrete example of a relatively small disaster, it questions simplistic ideas of rationality. It then proposes a fresh look at the concepts of probability and utility in the context of socioecological systems. This leads first to an emphasis on the problem of equilibrium selection, and then to a distinction between three kinds of resilience that matter both for theory and practice of risk management. They can be investigated by paying attention to the transitions into and out of actual disasters.
Abstract: To achieve sustainable development, understanding of the impact of global environmental change on natural resources and the frequency, intensity, and spatial-temporal patterns of all kinds of hazards should be advanced. In recent years, severe losses of human lives and property have been caused by very large-scale natural hazards all over the world, such as the freezing rain and snowstorm disaster in China in 2008, Typhoon Sidr in Bangladesh in 2007, and Hurricane Katrina in the United States in 2005. Strengthening the study on integrated disaster risk governance has become a pressing issue of sustainable development. Supported by the Chinese National Committee for the International Human Dimensions Program on Global Environmental Change (CNC-IHDP), its Working Group for Risk Governance proposed to the IHDP in 2006 to launch a new international research project on integrated risk governance (IRG) in the context of global environmental change. The IRG-Project was accepted by the IHDP Scientific Committee as a pilot science project in 2008 and was approved in 2010 as a full IHDP core science project under the Strategic Plan 2007–2015. The research foci of this international science project will be on the issues of science, technology, and management of integrated disaster risk governance based on case comparisons around the world, in order to advance the theories and methodologies of integrated disaster risk governance and to improve the practices of integrated disaster reduction in the real world.
Abstract: China is one of the countries in the world that are most affected by natural disasters. In recent years, with global climate change and rapid socioeconomic development in the country, natural disaster risks have been increasing and economic losses and the population affected have shown a growing trend; catastrophic disasters have repeatedly ravaged China, causing major socioeconomic impacts. The Chinese government attaches great importance to disaster prevention, reduction, and relief. Developments in laws and regulations on natural disaster management in the past three decades have provided an improved legal framework for disaster prevention, reduction, and relief. China's disaster relief is guided by the principle of people-centered, government-led, multilevel management, mutual support within social networks, and self-rescue of victims. Through the years, the government has been expanding the scope of disaster relief and increasing the level of assistance, strengthening integrated coordination mechanisms, and standardizing procedures for relief work. Disaster prevention, reduction, and relief mechanisms based on China's situation, and with Chinese characteristics, have been established. Attention has also been given to capacity-building. Much effort has been made to implement disaster reduction projects and to improve early warning systems, emergency response, science and technological support, human resource development, and community disaster relief systems. Future disaster reduction efforts of the Chinese government will focus on alleviating the impact of natural disasters, coping with catastrophic disaster risks, harmonizing the relationship between humans and nature, and attaining sustainable development.
Abstract: Sustainable development means doing more with less; this requires change from existing practices. We must make improvements and learn, in the face of those changes that are occurring because we have not delivered sustainable development up until now. So we seek to make changes in the context of changes. This paper focuses on the question of “how” we do more with less and develops the concept of adopting a systemic approach, recognizing that we are dealing with dynamic, highly interconnected systems.