Director, National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction, Taiwan
Professor, Department of Geosciences, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
The tenth anniversary of the Journal of Disaster Research presents a worthy occasion for noting the Journal’s ongoing contributions to progressively reducing disaster risk while improving emergency preparedness. The Journal’s 58 issues have offered an efficient and enlightened venue for researchers, NGOs, NPOs, and officials to report findings, new methodologies, risk problems, and calls for collaborations related to disasters. Through mutual interactive learning processes, the Journal effectively encourages greater international opportunities for coworking and codesigning new agendas for research topics related to disaster.
Every new disaster happens challenges us to work toward a greater understanding of natural hazards, physical and social vulnerability, human behavior, and the coping capabilities of our society. The fact that gaps are always to be found in our understanding requires that we make joint efforts to fill these gaps through the cross-boundary sharing of knowledge and experience.
Within the last ten years, increasingly frequent and devastating catastrophes have pushed ever onward to identify areas of interdisciplinary collaboration for developing integrated, broadspectrum solutions for reducing disaster risk and enhancing resilience. The advocacy of cross-cutting synergy among the social sciences, natural sciences, traditional engineering and information technology is one of the keys focused on and implemented by the authors and editors of the Journal of Disaster Research in exploring new approaches to understanding disaster risk.
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) in March endorsed moving forward based on the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA). The SFDRR emphasizes increasingly active global participation of science and technology in fulfill the priorities pointing in key directions for our work. The first among the four top issues is “understanding risk,” followed by “Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk,” “Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience,” and “Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response, and to ‘Build Back Better’ in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction.” No matter whether you are a scientist, engineer, social worker, volunteer or government official, you will be taking part in creating and sharing illustrative and effective measures motivating and supplementing efforts in disaster risk reduction.
The adverse, cascading impact wrought by disasters are evolving with the swift pace of population growth, urbanization, economic development, environmental degradation, and climate change. Their expanding impact requires ever more diverse and tailor-made solutions. Knowledge transformation changing mindsets must be based on solid research output such as that published in the Journal of Disaster Research.
To solve problems, we must work hard to foster teamwork with decision makers who hold the keys to disaster risk management. Ensuring the best communication in disaster risk depends on how we work to change the landscape of disaster risk reduction. A demand-based approach to answering the inquiries of decision makers should be designed and developed to leverage policies and evidence-based knowledge.
The concept of the common operating picture, for example, is an ideal tool for raising comprehensive situational awareness in emergency operations. Because scientific output is well organized and systemically displayed on geospatial platforms, disaster response efficiency and effectiveness have made great strides in modern science and technology. Likewise, collaboration with grassroots-level residents and stakeholders includes the obligation by the scientific community to build up and support these efforts.
I expect the Journal of Disaster Research to continue leading the disaster research community in synergizing efforts and crystallizing wisdom making our world ever safer and more resilient.