Dialogues for disaster anticipation and resilience

Sharing project findings with women in Malem Thierigne, Kaffrine District, Senegal


'Dialogues for disaster anticipation and resilience' is an online resource of knowledge exchange approaches which have supported effective dialogue between the providers and users of science to build community resilience. It seeks to support an emerging community of practice, sharing experience from across scientific disciplines, regions and risk environments and considering impact on the part of all actors (scientists, at risk groups and partnering agencies).


The website collates experience from across a wide range of UK and international organisations engaged in enabling relevant scientific understandings of risk to better support directly affected groups. Case studies contributors include both humanitarian and development organisations, such as the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre, Christian Aid, Practical Action, CARE and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR); and universities and research institutions, including the universities of Sussex, East Anglia, Reading, Birmingham City University, King's College London (KCL), the Wellcome Trust, Information & Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D), the James Hutton Institute and the Regional Integrated Multi-Hazards & Early Warning System (RIMES).

It was initially created in conjunction with the Enhanced Learning & Research for Humanitarian Action (ELRHA). The KCL Centre for Integrated Research on Risk & Resilience is now supporting its ongoing development, while links are being established with key academic, humanitarian and development networks.


Unlocking the resilience-building potential of science and technology depends on developing ways to support effective dialogue between the providers of science and those who use science to make decisions. Strengthening science-humanitarian dialogue was one of the key strands of the Humanitarian Futures Programme (HFP) (2005-2014), based at KCL, in which this resource was developed.

In 2011, NERC awarded HFP a Knowledge Exchange Fellowship to identify and share learning on methodologies and approaches which can strengthen science-humanitarian dialogue. The website collates the dialogue approaches that this research identified. A complementary synthesis of key learning has been published by the Overseas Development Institute Humanitarian Practice Network - 'Knowledge is power: unlocking the potential of science and technology to enhance community resilience through knowledge exchange'.

Designed to be useful to both providers and users of science, the resource is searchable by dialogue process, risk and scientific discipline. Each case study comprises a summary of the knowledge exchange approach, the context, methodology and resulting impact, with links to its author, short illustrative film clips and additional materials. There are opportunities to provide feedback on experiences of using the approaches and propose additional case studies.


The resource has provided a framework to encourage knowledge exchange between the providers and users of science for disaster risk reduction. Learning from it informed the agenda for workshops held by both the regional groupings of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), supporting discussion and endorsement for developing regional frameworks to strengthen interaction between scientists and disaster risk managers to enhance community resilience in both regions.

The resource supported the creation of new partnerships for making science useable for at-risk groups, disaster risk-reduction (DRR) practitioners, academics and a wide range of other stakeholders. It was showcased within sessions on science-policy dialogue at the Health Protection England 2012 conference and at the first Living With Environmental Change (LWEC) assembly in 2013. The dialogues tool and learning emanating from it also contributed to the 2012 Science and Humanitarian & Emergency Disasters (SHED) and Foresight 'Reducing Risks of Future Disasters, Priorities for Decision Makers' reports from the UK Government Office of Science , and to the related January 2013 Wilton Park conference 'Building global resilience to natural hazards: translating science into action'. Learning from this knowledge exchange initiative also informed the Department for International Development (DFID) framing for a series of climate-related programmes, including Building Resilience & Adaptation to Climate Extremes & Disasters (BRACED), Future Climate for Africa (FCFA) and Science for Humanitarian Emergencies & Resilience (SHEAR).

The dialogue resource has established links with King's Centre for Integrated Research on Risk & Resilience (KCIRRR), Enhancing Learning & Research for Humanitarian Assistance (ELRHA) and the Christian Aid Roads to Resilience - networks, that reach a wide range of partners and agencies. It has recently been shared with non-governmental organisation (NGO) networks including the BOND DRR Group and the Interagency Resilience Learning Group, to identify how the resource can provide sustained support to science-policy work within their organisations and networks.


Innovation Team