Integrated Governance of Disaster Risk and Financial Uncertainties for Sustainable Development

Session lead: Dr. Qian Ye (Beijing Normal University)

The global scientific research community has for decades warned that the world is entering a new and uncertain geological era, known as the Anthropocene. Clearly stated in the recent scientific conference, “Our Common Future under Climate Change”,held in Paris, “Continued high emissions of heat-trapping gases increase the risk of impacts that are severe, pervasive, and irreversible. Risks for people, economies, and ecosystems are all much greater in a world of continued high emissions.”.Global climate change and fast developments of the global social-economic systems are driving an increasing trend of extreme events that undermines the very fabric of global sustainability and poses a threat to the resilience of local communities. The risks associated with complex dynamics of the trends, variability and extremes of climate change at global, regional, national and local scales remain major challenges for decision makers at all levels. The increasing complexity and uncertainty due to the increasing speed and level of global connectivity and social-economic development, both in industrialised countries as well as the developing world, require new and novel approaches to risk governance from an integrated perspective.

Current rates of global warming will lead to increases in the frequency, intensity, and duration of extreme weather and climate events. The costs in lives and dollars associated with extreme weather and climate events will remain a major challenge for governments worldwide. More effort should be paid on improving the ability of people and organisations to adapt to climate diversity on a temporal scale. To better understand the forming mechanisms of extereme events and related vulnerability, exposure and risk distributions in social and economic processes, one emphasis will be put on studying the complexities in disaster risk system, which needs to be addressed from three dimensions. The first dimension is the complexity of hazards, which will largely focus on phenomena such as multiple hazards, hazard and disaster chain and compound hazards and disasters. The second dimension is the complexity of environmental factors, which particularly demands a new thinking of globally networked risks, largely because of the globalization process and climate change. The third dimension is the complexity of methodologies for studying the dynamic planet.

Althought it has long been recognized that to make systematic decisions across different societal and broad time-frames to support both immediate and longer-term development goals, a two-way communication apparatus between scientists and decision makers is needed. Unfortunately, developing appropriate applications of relevant scientific risk concepts for policy makers has always been a challenge. Further, engaging policy makers and businese sectors with scientific and technological expertise in the processes of creating strategies, policies and plans is made more difficult by differences in specialised language and jargon. Tools to help make more effective interaction among different stakeholders, so that relevant scientific understandings of risk could be integrated with the needs of policy makers are needed as well.

In this workshop, we would like to invite experts from both natural and social science disciplines as well as policy makers and insurance business to review the major changes of disaster risk management and the changing risk impacts to society across global to local scales, introduce new concepts, models and methods from complex systems science to study cascading effect, domino effect, and ripple effect in disaster risk systems, and use case studies from different countries and sectors to discuss the risk governance paradigms.