Jump to:Page Content
Integrating Science and Practice for the Mitigation of Natural Disasters: Barriers, Bridges, Propositions
A publication of CID's Sustainability Science Program
An immense enlargement of both the natural hazards literature and practical disaster mitigation efforts has not reversed the upward trend in disaster losses. The paradox of concurrent increases raises questions about knowledge and approaches used in hazard management. Is the knowledge base inadequate despite the increasing research effort, or is it that existing knowledge is not applied or not used in an effective way? The study examines how twenty scientific assessments from the knowledge domains of vulnerability and resilience are carried out and attempts to uncover what gaps and barriers in the science-policy-practice interface limit the use of research-based knowledge. In addressing the question of "What influence do scientific assessments have on decision makers in the practical disaster mitigation arena?," a number of linkages between specific vulnerability and assessment determinants as well as factors- functional, structural, and social-are identified that inhibit the production of applied knowledge. It is the quality of these relations that determines the grade of influence of research-based knowledge on action. Factors that aggravate greater coherence among and between actors and arenas typically occur when knowledge is transferred through the traditional pipeline mode in which scientists set the research agenda, do the research, and then transfer the results to potential users. It is suggested to avoid discipline-based non-collective knowledge production, which inevitably generalizes, decontextualizes, and reduces much of what is important about the character of vulnerability and resilience, and to engage in the co-production of knowledge through the close interaction of producers and users, hence building a "knowledge-action system."
Keywords: knowledge, science-practice interface, science-policy interface, hazard research, vulnerability, resilience
JEL codes: D8, D80, D83, Q0