Friday, May 31, 2013

Disaster risk reduction science urged to show its worth

Jan Piotrowski in Scientists must develop an interdisciplinary approach to disaster risk reduction (DRR) research and show how their work can inform policy creation and delivery, a report says.  Policymakers require evidence that science can provide comprehensive solutions to specific problems and aid all levels of the decision-making process, says Virginia Murray, head of extreme events and health protection at Public Health England, United Kingdom, and an author of the report.

"We are not making enough of an impact. Not all policymakers are using scientific evidence," she tells SciDev.Net.

The report by the Scientific and Technical Advisory Group of the UN's Office for Disaster Risk Reduction was unveiled last week (22 May) during the UN-organised Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

It draws on ten case studies, such as developing tsunami-warning systems for the Indian Ocean region and rain-monitoring technology in the Sahel, to illustrate how science can contribute to DRR.

The report says that there are four critical stages of tackling an issue: defining the problem, understanding the problem, driving policy and application, and producing benefits — with science potentially playing a major role in each....

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