Expanding Risk Research & Learning

Strengthening applied research in developing countries

Complementing the support to specific project activities to promote innovation and learning in risk reduction on particular topics of interest within ProVention, the work programme has prioritised the systemic strengthening of applied risk reduction research and knowledge sharing capacities in developing countries. In the field of natural hazards and disaster risk reduction, knowledge generation and learning has generally been dominated by academics and research centres from the North. It is anticipated that strengthening Southern research and knowledge generation capacity will encourage a more effective, action-oriented and user driven approach to knowledge management.

With a focus on Africa where investment in disaster risk research and learning has been limited, ProVention has supported the African Urban Risk Analysis Network (AURAN) initiative as a model for multi-discipline collaboration in risk reduction throughout Africa. The work programme also included additional activities focused on strengthening the capacities of Southern research institutions on a broader global basis and on enhanced South-South learning through both the Applied Grants Programme and development of a network of Community Risk Assessment practitioners. ProVention’s link to the World Bank Institute’s Distance Learning Programme is also seen as an important opportunity for expanding research and learning in disaster risk management and key dissemination-vehicle project resources, such as tools, methodologies and research studies, to developing country academic institutes, researchers and practitioners.

Translating research into action

Despite the enormous volume of knowledge and learning on disaster risk reduction that has been generated over the last decades, it must be said that the translation into action has been limited. Within the ProVention network, partners have emphasised the need for a more effective, action-oriented and user-driven approach to knowledge management and learning. The role and potential of ProVention as a forum for policy dialogue and debate on risk issues has also been highlighted consistently by partners as a primary value of the ProVention Consortium. Seeking to emphasise this aspect, in 2005 ProVention initiated an annual ProVention Forum open to Consortium partners and other invited individuals or organisations.