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Future Earth and the Belmont Forum united leaders, experts, industry and innovators in the world’s first transdisciplinary gathering with more than 100 sessions available under the Sustainability Research and Innovation Congress 2021. UCL Islands Laboratory was part of the rich agenda that included workshops, training and talks.

On June 14th, Professor Catalina Spataru (project PI and Consortium Lead) gave on overall view of the RE-Energize research project under the Workshop for Belmont Forum – Collaborative Research Action (CRA) – Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience. She discussed how the project addresses the simultaneous interaction between the climate related natural disasters and development for effective disaster risk management, acknowledging the role of community involvement in disaster risk planning and the role of legal principles and institutions in reducing asymmetries in knowledge and power when addressing issues related to floods, droughts and heatwaves. The primary objective of coming up with a scientific approach for adaptative DR3 governance was presented as combination of numerical, quantitative methods, social sciences and legal approaches within four working packages: diagnosis, research and development, application and synthesis. Her integrated interdisciplinary proposed research approach will inform the adaptative governance by transforming the qualitative and quantitative data and findings into actionable insights that includes a normative institutional dimension.

According to Prof Spataru, “one of the most important aspects is equitable disaster risk reduction and resilience, which involves complex data processes and stakeholder engagement across governance levels, so two elements in particular play a major role in DR3 implementation: (i) ensuring and efficient exchange of information and data processes across different stakeholder groups and (ii) Participatory and equitable decision-making and influence in DR3 processes.”

The continuous engagement with stakeholders and partnerships was raised as key aspects to achieve the latter objectives and global impact. Prof Spataru presented the Re-Energize DR3 toolbox she designed, considering the different methods/models utilised by the consortium partners. The designed toolbox includes datasets, multi-disciplinary quantitative and qualitative methods informing each other, as well as deontological approach based on values and principles of inter- and intra-generational equity. It includes diagnosis and stakeholder engagement process, social media data and data processes, resource nexus, climate change modelling scenarios and application to coastal cities and islands, considering the continuous interactions with stakeholders in different locations.

In addition to our PI presentation, the PI of the other four project teams who successfully receive funding under the CRA call provide an overview on their projects.

All projects share the common aim of responding to the growing need of enhanced assessment and reduction of disaster risk and co-design of resilience strategies with a breadth of stakeholders. Cyber-enabled disaster resilience, data-driven response, intelligent smart-city technology, machine learning, boundary science and climate science were amongst the main themes discussed by project leaders, enhancing the debate regarding practices that integrates data technologies, tools and methodologies for disaster risk reduction.

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