PLOS Current Disasters
Author: Julie Calkins
Date: May 2015
Background: Following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami event, the global community adopted the UN Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) for Disaster Risk Reduction 2005-2015, which set out priorities to help countries achieve disaster resilience by encouraging the establishment of national platforms and strengthening disaster governance. In March 2015, UN member states adopted the successor to HFA, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction: 2015-2030 (SFDRR). The SFDRR recognizes the cross-cutting nature of DRR policy and calls on stakeholders to help governments. Over the following months, the international science community as a stakeholder will contribute by outlining guidance, research opportunities and partnerships to help countries implement the new framework. To inform this process, this study examines government’ and national scientists’ perspectives about the needs to use science, evidence and technology to achieve disaster risk reduction (DRR) and put the words of the new framework into action.
Methods: This study was conducted using qualitative content analysis and quantifiable survey results. Data was collected via extraction from published statements and online survey responses. For statement content analysis, search terms were determined iteratively in a sample of statements until no new terms emerged. Additionally, 167 national scientists were recruited to participate in the online survey with a response rate of 26.3% (44/167).
Findings: Country priorities are clustered and clear, showing that there is a demand for greater science in DRR decision-making and solutions. The main themes highlighted by countries were promoting research and practitioner engagement; increase technology transfer mechanisms; open data; communication of usable evidence and user’s needs; education and training; and lastly, international cooperation all contributing to national capacity building. As identified, the main difficulties with existing delivery are gaps in knowledge, lack of coordination and a gap in capacity to use scientific evidence for policy-making.
Conclusions: Countries and organizations have identified a range of science and technology related needs, including through the preparatory and drafting process for the Sendai Framework for DRR. Across regions and development levels, countries are seeking to address the gaps they face in scientific capacities and information. It is hoped that understanding these priorities and challenges will help decision-makers and scientists in developing the implementation plan to consider how science, technology and innovation can be enabling factors for DRR. An implementation plan of action underpinned by scientific evidence has the potential to save lives, more accurately target investment, and contribute to greater resilience over the coming decades.