IDRC Davos: IRDR SC Djillali Benouar speaks on the role of S&T in DRR

The 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference (5th IDRC) in Davos last 24-28 August under the theme “Integrative Risk Management – The role of science, technology & practice” featured a special panel on the role of Science and Technology in Disaster Risk Reduction.

Organized by UNESCO and chaired by Dr Alexandros Makarigakis, the session covered a presentation on “A new multidisciplinary approach to learn lessons from disasters (Forensic Investigations of Disasters (FORIN): Researching causes in 2003 Algiers (Algeria) earthquake disaster” given by IRDR Science Committee Member Djillali Benouar.

The other presentations were given by Angela De Santis on “Environmental risks of remnants of conflict: How to “do no harm” in mine action”, Hans-Jorg Stark on “Mobile application for collecting crowdsourced information”, Helen Teresa Sullivan on “The potential of ubiquitous technology to facilitate preparedness and situational awareness before, during, and after disasters” and Collin Armstrong on “The role of science in the UK’s response to Typhoon Haiyan.”

All the presentations focused on various case studies on how science and technology tools have been used in disaster risk reduction and its potential to promote further support in all phases of disaster risk management.

The presentations have also shown that evidence-based decisions or measures were taken into consideration for disaster risk reduction. The concern for their use, restrictions and limits were also pointed out and further debated. The integration or the multi-disciplinary approach that goes beyond the borders of natural sciences was conferred. “It is clear that from these presentations and debates, in this special panel, this constitutes a strong message on the role of science and technology to play in post 2015,” Djillali said.

Based from the presentations, below are the recommendations:

  1. Promote science oriented disaster risk reduction projects.
  2. Promote science, engineering and technology as a basis for DRR decision-making.
  3. Promote multi-disciplinary research work, not just among different scientific and engineering sector (structural, geotechnical, natural sciences, geology etc.) but also science and social science (humanitarian etc.).
  4. Promote forensic investigation of disasters.
  5. Support the establishment of an International Science Advisory Mechanism for Disaster Risk Reduction to enhance resilience for post 2015.

“The IRDR programme as a whole should play a strategic role in enhancing and integrating the use of science and technology in disaster risk reduction in post 2015,” Djillali added.

The 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC Davos 2014 which took place in Davos, Switzerland concluded successfully last 28 August 2014. Over 700 participants from more than 80 countries attended the conference, including participants, from the United Nations and international organizations; from NGOs, the private sector, science and the media. The outcomes of the IDRC Davos 2014 shall serve as the science & technology input for the post-2015 framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (HFA2) and provide recommendations towards the UN World Conference WCDRR in Sendai, Japan.