- Documents and publications
The state of knowledge on disaster risk
This paper provides context, baseline information and a ‘state of knowledge’ on disaster risk science. Specifically, this paper aims to i) trace the development and evolution of relevant concepts and frameworks, ii) outline the application of relevant methods, tools and approaches, and iii) highlight emerging gaps in data, information, and knowledge. Recognizing the knowledge and impact of existing networks and programmes, the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) programme seeks to establish a new research agenda to guide the development of disaster science in the coming decade. In the face of growing risks, the agenda will facilitate inter- and trans-disciplinary knowledge production, and contribute to the transition to a peaceful, safe, equitable and sustainable world within the context of disaster risk reduction (DRR).
This paper identifies emerging gaps and priorities. First and foremost, a growing disconnect between knowledge and action is becoming apparent. The desired shift to ex-ante from ex-post approaches to risk management, for example, has not mirrored equally between disaster risk science development and policy and practice. One reason may be the lag between conceptual and theoretical advances and grounded knowledge and empirical data; another the lack of effective science to policy communication. Second, a holistic understanding of risk is lacking. While there is a plethora of quantitative and qualitative approaches to understand the manifestation, perception of and responses to risk, there is yet no integration of approaches that also account for diverse, place-based ontologies and epistemologies. Third, across scales and between regions and nations, knowledge production suffers from significant imbalance and disparities. A future research agenda needs to be conscious of power relations informing and informed by disaster risk science and make space for subalterns studies and locally-produced knowledge to drive progress.