The field of disaster risk reduction is inherently interdisciplinary in all its aspects. This becomes more apparent in risk communication, a field of research and practice cutting across social, behavioural, and natural sciences, technology and practice. Although there is a growing body of data and expertise in understanding, monitoring and predicting risk from environmental hazards much of this data and expertise does not reach the individuals, communities and organisations who can use it to communicate and manage risks. These investments in monitoring, research and capability can only achieve their full potential value if disaster risks are communicated effectively, empowering individuals and groups to pursue the response options that are best for them. However, effectively communicating risk information to affected communities and local-level stakeholders is one of the biggest challenges faced by researchers and practitioners, including those in Mexico.
Young professionals and researchers rarely have an opportunity to think differently about traditional science, share their innovative ideas on risk communication and learn from peers from different educational and professional backgrounds, and geographical settings.
They require new training and capacity building to work across disciplines and develop applied tools and techniques that integrate knowledge from multiple disciplines such as risk modelling, environmental science, social science, media and communications, urban planning, ICT and community engagement. Furthermore, the young generation of today are experiencing the changing dynamics of communication and technology offering huge potential to develop innovative solutions on risk communication.
For this reason, the Water Youth Network (WYN) and Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), with support from NERC, FM Global and NASA, organised the Interdisciplinary Pressure Cooker Event on Risk Communication during the 2018 Understanding Risk Forum in Mexico City on May 14th and 15th, 2018.
The event was designed with an underlying idea that bringing together young professionals and researchers from different disciplinary backgrounds could offer new innovative insights and creative perspectives to develop effective risk communication strategies tailored to the users’ needs. The event additionally aimed to build capacity of these young professionals and researchers to work across disciplines under ‘pressure’ and co-develop solutions.
The Risk Communication Pressure Cooker event successfully brought together 35 interdisciplinary young professionals and researchers from 13 countries from different disciplines to work on existing risk communication challenges in the Mexican municipalities of Iztapalapa, Mexico City and Dzilam de Bravo, Yucatan.
Check out all the blogs from participants of the Risk Communication Pressure Cooker:
- Understanding Risk
- Water Youth Network
- BBC Media Action
- University College London, Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction
- Reading University, Center for Information Design Research