The world is facing significant social, economic and environmental challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic which brought profound implications to our societies and the way we organize ourselves to protect people, property and economic interests. The early warning of this era of disasters is arriving almost daily in news reports from across the globe of record-breaking heatwaves, prolonged droughts, forest fires, flooding, sea-level rise and record-setting storms. The succession of record-breaking disasters that have swept the globe during this summer of 2021 are challenging our understanding of extreme events. There have been serious floods in China and Western Europe, heatwaves and drought in North America and wildfires in the sub-Arctic and in multiple other countries around the globe. Managing disasters amid the COVID-19 pandemic is an emerging challenge calling for the establishment of strong alliances, in particular between scientists, practitioners and decision makers to reinforce our capacities to better protect our future.
As recently evidenced in the 2021 IPCC report, under the current landscape scenario, where intensification of the effects of natural and technological hazards due to climate change is combined with new ways of threatening our societies, the role of science, technology and innovations is crucial and needs to be further exploited in a more systematic manner at all stages of the disaster risk management cycle.
Within the Union Civil Protection Mechanism(UCPM), the pivotal role of science is acknowledged in Article 3(e) of Decision No 1313 / 2013 / EU which calls for an increase in “the availability and use of scientific knowledge on disasters”. The role of scientific knowledge is further emphasized through Article 13 establishing the Union Civil Protection Knowledge Network.
Within the newly established Knowledge Network, its Science Pillar is proposed to become the collaborative space where the scientific community connects to the operational stakeholders while ensuring that decision-makers benefit from already - existing scientific knowledge and that the scientists benefit from decision - makers’ experience to further develop innovative and tailored technologies. The Disaster Risk Management Knowledge Centre will become the nucleus of the Knowledge Network’s Science Pillar.
The Fifth annual seminar of the DRMKC takes places in this changing landscape, which implies strengthening its role as a leader of the scientific dialogue for an enhanced civil protection legislation.
The annual seminar will be an opportunity to launch a new phase of dialogue between civil protection authorities and the scientific community and to start building the network together.The scope would be to establish the core community of scientists who will help constructing the knowledge base for supporting DRM activities and actions.
The activities in a first phase will be shaped around the development of multidisciplinary and cross - cutting knowledge, scientific guidance and new technologies for building resilience towards complex transboundary disasters.The seminar will hence address specific activities that can make significant impact in terms of role and mission of the Science Pillar:
- Making available and better quality risk and loss data, improving risk assessment methodology, better understanding of risk driver and harmonization of risk metrics;
- Provide scientific advice in implementing the Union Disaster Resilience Goals, measuring and monitoring them;
- Advising on strategies and policies to counter disastrous situations through the development of resilience scenarios that factor in multiple hazards and cascading effects for improved early warning systems.