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Human factors and social, societal and organisational aspects for disaster-resilient societies

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Specific Challenge:

The resilience of societies heavily depends on how their citizens behave individually or collectively, and how governments and civil society organisations design and implement policies for mitigating risks, preparing for, reacting to, overcoming, and learning from disasters. The spread of new technologies and media are inducing dramatic changes in how individuals and communities behave, and they are affecting societies in unpredictable ways. Building the resilience of society and citizens requires a better understanding and implementation of these new technologies, media and tools, and their capacity to raise disaster risk awareness, to improve citizen understanding of risks, to build a culture of risks in society, to enable an effective response from affected populations, to improve functional organisation in most fragile and vulnerable environments, and to increase the resilience of health services, social services, education, and governance, in line with target (d) of the Sendai Framework on critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services.

Scope:

Proposals are invited to address related research and innovation issues, in particular:

Recent disasters related either to natural causes (including climate-related hazards) or to terrorist attacks have shown gaps in the level of preparedness of European society for disasters, and therefore highlighted the importance of increasing risk awareness, and hence resilience among people and decision-makers in Europe. There is much that can be learned from certain countries with a high level of risk of natural disasters (e.g. Japan with high-levels of risks of earthquakes, volcanic events, and tsunamis) and where risk awareness is high. Research is required with a view to how cultural changes among individuals, business managers, government officials, and communities can create a resilient society in Europe, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Research on risk awareness should encompass the whole of the disaster management cycle, from prevention (e.g. through education) and preparedness (knowing how to react), emergency management (collaboration and communication before and during an event), response (empowering citizens to act efficiently by themselves according to more effective practices and following established guidelines), and recovery (knowledge to build back better). Researchers should take into account tangible and intangible cultural heritage, traditional know-how, land use, construction technologies, and other local knowledge which is a valuable source of information for the local communities and can help prevent the creation of new risks, to reduce existing risks, to prepare for and to respond to disasters and to build back better.

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