What Role for Science in Managing Understanding, Reducing and Managing Disaster Risks?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Natural and man-made hazards threaten millions of people every year and cause billions of property damage. Disasters continue to undermine sustainable development, so reducing its impacts and identifying pathways towards resilient societies is a global goal. How much do we know about them? Scientists and researchers have brought a deeper understanding of the hazards, vulnerabilities, disaster risks and their linkages to the development processes. Science plays a key role in preventing disasters, preparing for the ones that cannot be prevented and recovering from them. Using already existing knowledge more widely will save the lives and livelihoods of millions of people around the world. Science and technology can assist in identifying a problem, developing understanding from research, informing policy and practice and making a difference that can be objectively demonstrated when evaluated. The role of science and technology in providing the evidence and knowledge on risk features heavily in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which promotes shifting focus from managing disasters to managing risks. The Sendai Framework calls on the science and echnology community to focus on understanding disaster risk factors and scenarios, support action by local communities and authorities, and enhance the interface between policy and science for decision-making. This requires a better understanding of risks in all its dimensions of vulnerability, exposure and hazards. It also aims to ensure that the multi-hazard management of disaster risk is factored into development at all levels as well as within and across all sectors. To deepen the understanding of evolving risks, the root causes of disasters and their impact, actionable research that is useful is needed, usable and used. Scientists and researchers must work with policymakers and practitioners, including community and civil society, as well as governmental actors to co-design and co-produce research
that can be used effectively. There have been several initiatives that have been launched in supporting this cause. There need to be scientific advice to decision makers through close collaboration and dialogue with more focused attention on interlinkages between disaster risk reduction, sustainable development, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. There is a need to use a holistic, allhazard, risk-based and problem-solving approach to address the multifactorial and interdependent nature of the disaster risk chain and to achieve improved disaster risk reduction. Within this context, this thematic paper explores the role for science in understanding, reducing and managing Disaster Risks.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Theme Seminar of the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science on “Science for Quality Life”
EditorsTheshini Perera
PublisherNational Science Foundation of Sri Lanka
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9786245535002
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2020
EventTheme Seminar of the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science: Science for Quality Life - Cinema Lounge Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH), Colombo, Sri Lanka
Duration: 14 Dec 202014 Dec 2020


SeminarTheme Seminar of the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science
Country/TerritorySri Lanka


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