Research & learning

The current process through which knowledge of disaster risk is being generated, transferred and translated into action is increasingly being challenged, in particular by academics and practitioners from developing countries. Despite the enormous volume of knowledge and learning on disaster risk reduction which has been generated over the last decades, it must be said that the translation into action has often remained limited. Many observers therefore urge that the disaster risk reduction community should encourage a more effective, action-oriented and user-driven approach to risk knowledge management, research and learning. This can be done through strengthening southern-based academic centres and applied research; enhanced south-south learning and efforts to close the gap between academic theory and field-level practice.

Key issues & gaps

  • The generation of knowledge and learning in the field of natural hazards and disaster risk reduction has generally been dominated by academics and research centres from the north. Moreover, the methods through which research findings are being fed back and knowledge transferred to southern end users are often far from effective. Increased support for strengthening local applied research and knowledge sharing capacities in developing countries or for promoting south-south collaboration may contribute to address this problem.
  • There is often also a limited interaction between those who produce scientific knowledge and learning and the potential end-users, such as practitioners. The methods and means of which much knowledge on risk is currently presented and disseminated, such as articles in academic journals or large monographs, is in most cases not suitable nor accessible to those who need this most. There is therefore a crucial need to develop more accessible knowledge, learning and information targeted at practitioners in developing countries.
  • The multi-disciplinary nature of risk research and learning further complicates effective sharing of knowledge and application. A broad range of scientific disciplines, both from the natural and social sciences, currently contribute to the generation of knowledge on hazard, vulnerability and risk. Combining this information into a message which is comprehensible for both decision-makers and practitioners has often proved challenging.

Links and resources

Grants programmes

Training initiatives and capacity building

Education for disaster risk reduction and school safety