Disaster Risk Management (DRM) is “the application of disaster risk reduction policies and strategies to prevent new disaster risk, reduce existing disaster risk and manage residual risk, contributing to the strengthening of resilience and reduction of disaster losses” (UN-UNISDR, 2019)”. Different kinds of actors are involved with very different roles: scientists, decision makers, mass media, judiciary, and citizens, among the others. The roles and the responsibilities of those having strategic decision-making positions display a further complexity at the different levels of the decisional process, as one has to discriminate between political decision-makers, including policy makers, and technical decision-makers, including practitioners. Decision-makers need to refer to scientists, who deal with data collection, modelling and analysis issues. In addition, thanks to the growing use of social media, also the public opinion is becoming a key factor in highly influencing decisions, both in normal and crises times. As a result, the decision-makers are often challenged with (sometimes urgent) decisions, while they have to balance between societal pressures and scientific findings from the experts in the field.
Per today, there are several scientific and thematic networks dealing with different aspects of disaster risk and crisis management, already contributing to knowledge production and knowledge sharing in the DRM field. However, knowledge communication is highly challenging. For instance, although the role and activity of so-called hybrid experts, who operate at the hinge between science and decision making both in scientific and in policy bodies, is well recognised, the scientists-decision makers nexus still needs to be strengthened.
ROADMAP (European observatory on disaster risk and crisis management best practices) is a project funded by the EU within the UCPM-2020-KN-AG call.
The main goal of the project is to establish a European “Doctrine on disaster risk and crisis management” funded on the mutual cooperation of scientific communities and disaster risk management authorities. In parallel, and equally important for the achievement of this goal, the project aims at establishing and consolidating the networking activities of a group formed by experts both on science and on decision making in DRM from different countries (named Advisory Group in the project). These people shall actively support and advise in the process of distilling and making sense of scientific findings, solutions and best practices towards a most effective knowledge systemization and spreading.