Making science work for development

Supporting the use of international science advice for DRR

30 May 2014

The UKCDS Secretariat has been promoting the use of science in disaster risk reduction (DRR) and supporting a statement on an international science advisory mechanism at the UN Regional Platforms on DRR.

The statement was developed in March 2014, when UKCDS convened senior representatives of science institutions to discuss a new and strengthened mechanism to ensure science is used more effectively in DRR and the successor to the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA2).

UKCDS helped participants develop the joint statement on their commitment to work together to ensure science advice is embedded into DRR and suggest a potential international advisory mechanism. Since then, academics from Japan have developed their own statement and other scientists, NGOs, international organisations and countries from around the world have shown their support for enhancing the level of global science advice feeding into DRR policy and practice.

At the 5th Africa Regional Platform for DRR in Nigeria (13 – 16 May), the UKCDS Secretariat supported Professor Virginia Murray (Vice-Chair of UNISDR’s Science and Technical Advisory Group and consultant in disaster risk reduction) as she presented the statement at the conference for discussion.

There was considerable interest in how science could play a role in DRR, and at the Science, Technical and Academic Community preparatory consultation the statement on an international advisory mechanism was presented as one of the session papers. It was met with enormous support from the 70 participants in the session, and it was agreed to adopt this statement in the session’s report.

The concept of an international science advisory panel was included in the draft summary statement for the whole conference, and this was then endorsed by the Ministerial meeting on the final day. It features as paragraph ten in the meeting’s summary statement, where it states, “The establishment of regional mechanisms that enable more active engagement of a wider range of science partners (including health and agriculture) can support broader efforts to establish an international science advisory panel.”

At the 4th Regional Platform for the Americas, hosted in Ecuador (27 – 29 May), Professor Murray introduced the statement to a group of science and academia representatives, including the International Council for Science (ICSU) and regional organisations FLACSO and REDULAC.

The scientists once again showed great enthusiasm for the statement and decided to incorporate the action agenda and several of the proposed activities of a possible mechanism into their own statement. The UKCDS Secretariat helped facilitate the process, assisting the scientists as they merged the content with their own list of recommendations on using science more effectively in DRR (seen on page 13 here), which had come out of the 3rd Regional Platform in Chile, 2012. The resulting document will appear as an annex to the final communiqué as Reflections of the representatives of the scientific, technical and academic sector.

The concept of an advisory mechanism featured in the draft communiqué for the conference, with paragraph 34 mentioning, “The establishing of a scientific-academic mechanism is wanted, to advise country authorities and strengthening exchange networks.”

The Regional Platforms are proving a valuable opportunity to discuss DRR with experts from around the world and encourage countries to consider how science plays a vital role in enhancing resilience.  Four Regional Platforms remain, and the UKCDS Secretariat is hoping to see science profiled highly during each meeting.

  • Collaboration
  • Post 2015
  • Research for disaster risk reduction

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