Advancing disaster risk communications

This publication posits that effective communication of disaster threats to decision makers and at-risk communities is a growing challenge in a people-centred approach to disaster risk reduction. Traditional communication approaches tend to involve either top-down risk management practices or bottom-up community health and education practices. However, the strategic intent of communications – whether that be promotion, persuasion or partnership – ought to be guided by a ‘theory of change’ that delivers clear and coherent DRR goals and by training programmes that recognise the need to integrate a variety of interventions from across the communication continuum.

Key findings from the publication includes: 

  • It is important for technical specialists to appreciate that communication is a process, not a product, of long-term strategic thinking;
  • Communication interventions are not an ‘end game’ of disaster reduction efforts but rather a ‘golden thread’ woven through the prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery phases of the disaster ‘spiral’;
  • Understanding the nature of the target audience, specifically the at-risk public, requires a reframing, and even a reimagination, of our collective (technical and lay) knowledge of hazard, vulnerability and risk;
  • Moving through one-way, two-way and three-way communication modes involves an increasing level, intensity and commitment of engagement between risk authorities and risk publics, but it is the blending of all three modes that will be essential if the holistic, people-centred ambitions of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction are to be fully realised.

Source: Earth-Science Reviews (ESR)

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