The programme includes the IDRC Davos 2016 agenda of sessions, plenary sessions, special panels and workshops. Click on the session title for more details.

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Session 08: Effective Risk and Crisis Communication
Monday, 29/Aug/2016:
1:30pm - 3:00pm

Session Chair: Sandra SCHUSTER, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit
Room: Flüela

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Using Social Media and Digital Volunteers for Building Cross-border Disaster Resilience


Defence Research and Development Canada

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction adopted by many countries, including Canada, explicitly highlights the use of social media and the involvement of non-state stakeholders (including civil society, volunteers, and community based organizations) as enabling the four priorities for action. Furthermore, the UNISDR Science and Technology Conference, held in January 2016, underscored the importance of harnessing technology and methods such as crowd-sourcing for improving risk assessment, enabling the collection of data, and reaching people quickly with alerts, warnings and preparedness messages. Canada, together with its US partners, has been exploring the opportunities of social media and collaboration with digital volunteers for building disaster resilience.

In 2014 Defence Research and Development Canada’s Centre for Security Science (DRDC CSS) partnered with the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) in the development of an experiment designed to test how social media aided collaboration can improve disaster recovery outcomes. The experiment took place in November 2014 as a part of the third Canada–US Resilience Experiment (CAUSE), which is an experiment series that focuses on situational awareness interoperability. The experiment demonstrated how integration of non-traditional resources, including crowd-sourced information, open technologies, and digital volunteers can augment traditional disaster management and enhance cross-border disaster resilience.

Following the successes of the experiment, the next installment of the series (CAUSE IV), scheduled to take place in April 2016, aims to build on the findings of CAUSE III to further explore emerging operational technologies, citizen engagement and mutual aid between the two countries. This paper will describe the results of the experiment series and Canadian efforts to facilitate effective information exchange between disaster management officials, digital volunteers as well as the public at large, so as to enable enhanced situational awareness and resilience, both at the community and the national levels.

Research ‘Down Under’: How Natural Hazards Research Contributes to a More Resilient New Zealand

Hannah BRACKLEY1, Kelvin BERRYMAN2, Catherine PINAL1

1Natural Hazards Research Platform; 2GNS Science

New Zealand’s Natural Hazards Research Platform (Platform) is a consortium of Government-funded science providers dedicated to applying research knowledge for national benefit, with the overall aim of contributing to improved economic, infrastructural and social resilience to natural hazards. The Platform is obligated to provide the best science advice possible in the national interest, and research is aligned with the strategies of relevant Government agencies. The National Civil Defence Emergency Management Strategy provides the overarching strategic direction for the Platform. This strategy articulates the Crown’s vision for a ‘Resilient New Zealand: communities understanding and managing their hazards’.

A particular strength of the Platform is its fostering of strong relationships between end-users and research teams, thereby encouraging research needs to be identified by and with the end-users and research outputs developed to be useful, useable and used. By taking this approach, outcomes from the research undertaken and the capabilities developed through the Platform link clearly with key needs identified in national and regional disaster risk reduction and resilience strategies.

Several case studies will be presented to demonstrate the effectiveness of the Platform’s approach to undertaking research. These include volcanic hazard and impact assessments, multi-hazard risk assessments, and social science projects. The research has been undertaken for a range of stakeholder sectors including central government, local government, Civil Defence, insurance companies and reinsurers. As well as informing risk reduction and preparedness for future events, some of this research was undertaken immediately following the 2010-11 Canterbury Earthquakes and has informed the recovery process.

The Platform is the national committee for the UNISDR IRDR in New Zealand. Natural hazards research undertaken through the Platform contributes to the vision of a ‘Resilient New Zealand: communities understanding and managing their hazards’, and also the nation’s commitment to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The Role of the Media in Risk Communication


Hacettepe University Institute of Public Health, Turkey

Disasters affect communities in various economic and social ways. Individuals can reduce the impact of hazards and protect themselves, their families and homes by taking measures. However, people in both developing and developed countries often fail to adopt them. A successful risk communication could contribute to solve this problem. Media is one of the actors in risk communication and the leading source of information for people. Despite the expectations media has a limited role in risk communication regarding disaster preparedness. With this study we would like to understand how earthquakes and earthquake preparedness are depicted in the media in Turkey.

A content analysis of six newspapers in Turkey was conducted. Five most circulating daily newspapers were searched for the news about earthquakes between 1996 and 2014. An additional daily newspaper was added to search as an example of opinion journalism. The content and frequency of news regarding earthquakes of these six newspapers were reported. The 1999 earthquakes in the Marmara region has been considered as the milestone in disaster management in Turkey. The selected time period covers the before and after periods around the milestone. To ensure the quality of findings the search was done manually at the National Library.

In total 16,193 news about earthquakes were examined. Among them news regarding earthquake preparedness had the smallest proportion. Preparedness news gained some increase following the 1999 Marmara earthquake but still here is little about preparedness measures. Following major earthquakes the number of news were increased. The years 1999 (Marmara Earthquake) and 2011 (Van Earthquake) have the most number of news about earthquakes.

These findings indicate a gap between the information sources, where there is little about preparedness measures and citizens needing this information to better prepare themselves. These findings should be considered for designing a better risk communication.

A Study of Iran's Crisis Managers Point of Views Regarding Interaction with the Media in Disaster Management


IAU (Iran Azad University), Iran, Islamic Republic of

Nowadays, natural and man-made disasters and crisis are the most widespread concerns of mankind, and it is both inevitable and necessary to try to create favorable conditions for co-existing with them and also mitigating their effects.

At the time being, huge efforts are being made at international level for risk prevention and mitigation of natural disasters. This research can result in better introduction and presentation of a constructive and effective working relation between crisis management leaders and the media in general at the time of unexpected occurrences.

This research can help program decisive actions for addressing risk-mitigation and effective policy making for disaster management, ensuring stability and favorable public opinion.

The following research is based on studying the viewpoints and opinion of 40 managers in the provincial offices and headquarters of the Iranian Disaster Response Organization, collected through a questionnaire. Statistical analysis clearly indicates that from the viewpoint of these managers, the major role of media in disaster response management can be alerting and informing the public in regard to disaster response management topics. The outcomes of this research can help in better programming of risk-mitigation measures and effective policy making for disaster management, ensuring stability and favorable public opinion.

Also introduced in this study are topics such as the presence of media leaders in disaster management decision-making process, providing specialized training for media experts, defining effective measures for establishing better relations between leaders of the media and disaster response managers, training experts familiar with disaster response and the media for content generation, and utilization of the records of previous disasters.


Filippo CIUFFI

intraVidére - Science and Art between Historic Memory and Digital Futures, Italy

“Unthinkable Tools” for Transferring Knowledge from Science into Practical Application

A1) Summarized are approaches, stages, algorithms and discoveries developed within a forefront research-project focused on creating new concepts for earthquake-forecasting models, opening new ways for seismic prevention and reduction of vulnerability.

A2) The basic conceptual innovation revolutionizes the usual approaches according to which the analysis of historical earthquakes is carried out only from a statistical point of view.

A3) Conversely, studying a historical earthquake catalogue means to organize “intelligent synapses” within and among all the different multi-thematic aspects of the historical memory.


• Process Innovation: Integration among environmental-geotechnics, multi-spectral satellite image processing and discovering of “invisible data” within historical memory, earthquake chronicles and oral memory banks .

• Goals: Interaction among earthquakes, water-bodies, hydrogeological issues and geotechnical aspects. Correlation among different earthquakes, distant both in time and in space.

• Methods: Selected historical works and earthquake chronicles are digitized, by designing algorithms for extracting from digitized texts new information already existing but “invisible”. Classes and groups of “invisible information” generated are merged together into the designed basic matrices: Combination of mathematical-classification procedures and matrix-analysis-techniques are designed for processing the mentioned matrices with the related algorithms. The results generated are grouped again into a Seismo-General Matrix to be further processed all together. Dissemination – Multimedia Seismo-Atlases are designed and implemented for showing dynamic sequences of innovative results and new knowledge generated: ready for practical application.


• Goals: Implementing “educational and social programs” for checking seismic vulnerability of schools and of cultural heritage.

• Methods: The copyrighted BUILDING’s SEISMO-SHAPE GAME (applicable to any built-up area) is based on the construction of urban earthquake vulnerability matrices, through different processing-stages of data collected, prevalently, by remote sensing integrated analyses.

• Dissemination: The “playfulness” of the programs will excite and involve students and members of cultural associations, thanks to the SEISMO-SHAPE GAME: enjoyable and innovative game for young people.

Capacity Building in Disaster Risk Reduction Through Utilization of Social Networks in Tehran


Tehran Disaster Mitigation and Management Organization (TDMMO), Iran, Islamic Republic of

Global experiences demonstrate that capacity building for increasing preparedness and reducing risks through enhancing public awareness, knowledge transfer and information dissemination will lead to improvement of people's attitude and reaction toward occurrence of disasters. In Tehran, located on an earthquake prone area with many active faults and with existence of population over eight million residing in the City, occurrence of an earthquake can make a disaster a very complicated problem. Therefore, considering public opinion and communication with citizens prior and after occurrence of disasters by making use of social media and networks can reduce risks and impacts of disasters and increase public awareness which is of great importance in Tehran.

Social media has re‐defined communication all over the world. Text messaging, the internet and social networking sites have made it possible for people to communicate anywhere, any time and in any situation. It is an efficient and easy way to keep in touch and transfer information and produce messages, particularly in a time of disasters. But, this should be taken into account that capacities should be improved and prepared prior to occurrence of disaster.

In line with this, Tehran Disaster Mitigation and Management Organization (TDMMO) managed to improve public awareness by making use of existing media capacities and utilization of modern technologies with the aim to produce meaningful, accurate, effective and useful information and to disseminate this information properly in order to manage natural disasters effectively in Tehran.

Through enhancing systems of communication, social media may increase the ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from events that threaten people and infrastructure. Throughout this article, you will find out more on this issue and understand what Tehran Disaster Mitigation and Management Organization (TDMMO) has been done in this regard.

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