Towards an improved understanding of participation in natural hazard early warning systems

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to improve the conceptual understanding of the process of participation in early warning systems (EWS) through a review of participatory EWS examples in the academic literature. Specifically, this paper asks: who is involved, what responsibilities do participants hold, what activities are they involved in, and what are the associated successes, issues and outcomes?
Design/methodology/approach – A total of 30 cases of participation in EWS documented in the academic literature were identified through online searches. Existing concepts in participation (power and responsibility, communication) and people-centred early warning (risk knowledge, monitoring and warning, communication and dissemination and response capability) were used to examine each paper.
Findings – Participation was found to take place through a range of activities across all elements of the EWS. Participation also varied in breadth of inclusion, ranging from the general public to selected volunteers. The majority of cases received support and facilitation from other actors, such as government and NGOs, but the extent of power and responsibility held by participants varied greatly within this. Common successes and issues associated with participatory EWS and the potential outcomes are presented, and the opportunities, challenges and gaps in knowledge are discussed.
Originality/value – This paper links participation and EWS literature to form a clearer conceptualisation of participation in EWS in support of future research in the field. It provides unique insights into who participates, their roles and relations with other actors and the outcomes of participation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)615-631
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment
Issue number5
Early online date11 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sep 2022


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