The UR community will gather this December 2-3 for UR Asia 2021. Held physically in Singapore and broadcasted live online, the event will bring together experts and practitioners from Asia and all around the world to discuss the latest thinking in the field of disaster risk assessment and communication.
The two days of talks, presentations and discussions will be held on 2 and 3 December 2021 streaming live from 9.00 AM (Singapore time). Curated by and for the members of the UR community, UR Asia 2021 features an array of topics, including sessions on communicating risk in the age of misinformation, enhancing resilience of smart cities through cognitive computing, bridging the gap in investment and priorities on adaption and resilience, and celebrating successes in disaster risk aversion.
Day 1: Winning the Public, Not the Argument
Keynote | Climate Risk and Asia’s Response
Dr Vinod Thomas
Visiting Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore
In recent years, Dr Thomas’ research and writing have focused on climate change, including his 2017 book Climate Change and Natural Disasters. Understanding climate change risks, he argues, requires connecting the dots between the weather risks we experience or can at least imagine, and the invisible Greenhouse Gas Emissions which are causing these phenomena.
Attribution – demonstrating with scientific evidence the connection between natural disasters and climate change – so that we can in the future refer to them as climate disasters, is essential. Runaway climate change is shifting risk profiles in Asia and things will have to be approached differently for the region to be resilient. Drawing on the latest research and his own personal experience, Dr Thomas will lay out what could be the new risk profiles in Asia and what must be done differently to increase resilience.
Day 2: Managing the Animals of Risk – Black Swans and Grey Rhinos
Keynote | What we have learned about communicating risks?
Dr Alexandra Freeman
Executive Director, Winton Centre for Risk & Evidence Communication
Dr Freeman will speak about her own journey as a risk communicator, driven by a mission to inform, not persuade.
Communicating risk has been a vital activity in the last two years – in some cases a genuinely life or death activity. People have been bombarded by numbers – of infections, deaths and vaccinations – and have tried hard to understand them. Despite real efforts to improve these communications, by designing and testing different ways of visualising the data, giving people scientific reasons for advice and being transparent about uncertainties (and difficult points, like the side-effects of vaccines) has still proven to be extremely challenging. Seeking ways to express the quality of evidence underlying the numbers also raises another obstacle to communicate the risks, which helps people develop their own understanding of likelihood and impact, based on statistical evidence, but framed within their own personal context.
Drawing on 25 years of experience as a communicator, Dr Freeman will explain what has been learned about this interplay between statistical evidence and personal context and what the future challenges are. She will draw on an ongoing project focusing on the communication of earthquake forecasts, which are particularly difficult to get across, given their low probabilities and high uncertainties.
We’re always looking for innovative and unique ideas to communicate and engage! If any UR partners and members are interested in organising a community session as part of UR Asia 2021, please get in touch with the organising committee at firstname.lastname@example.org