As a way to contribute to the discussion on Disaster Risk Management (DRM) in light of new threats such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the Research Center for Integrated Disaster Risk Management, CIGIDEN by its initials in Spanish, will develop a discussion series called “Rethinking Disaster Risk Management”, in a relaxed talk format, featuring the dialogue between national and international researchers.
The first meeting will be held on Thursday, July 2th – from 12 to 1 pm -, via zoom app (previous registration) and CIGIDEN’s YouTube channel, addressing the theme: “Global perspectives for the governance of post-COVID-19 risk”. The conversation will be led by Allan Lavell, Ph.D. in Economic Geography from the London School of Economics, and coordinator of the Risk and Disaster Research Programme at FLACSO (Spanish initials for Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences) in Costa Rica, along with the CIGIDEN researcher Magdalena Vicuña, Ph.D. in Architecture and Urban Studies of the Catholic University of Chile (UC by its initials in Spanish) and UC Institute of Urban and Territorial Studies academic.
The Disaster Risk Management (DRM), says Rodrigo Cienfuegos, CIGIDEN director and UC Engineering academic, gathers decades of research that have helped to improve different aspects of the risk cycle management, which involves prevention, mitigation, response, rehabilitation, and reconstruction. “Today, in the context of pandemics, it is imperative to have these discussions to identify priority research areas, adjustment needs and modifications to risk governance models and their implementation at the national level, which are required while facing new threats, such as pandemics and climate change,” he says.
Therefore, Cienfuegos adds, given the current context, the series of talks has the objective of strengthening and leading reflections taking place at the global level regarding more participatory and decentralized models of risk governance, which have contributed to containing the pandemic in countries that early activated theirnational emergency agencies.
CIGIDEN has studied DRM to provide scientific knowledge, tools and information to enable prospective risk analysis. “This is key and one of the urgent gaps to be filled”, the CIGIDEN director says, “because the only way to anticipate disasters is to be better prepared. We have researched with systemic and transdisciplinary approaches, which allows us to identify aspects of our institutions and governance that should be improved today”.
According to Rodrigo Cienfuegos, what we are experiencing with the coronavirus is a disaster linked to a mismanagement of the virus spread, which although different from those caused by earthquakes, tsunamis or floods, because it develops “slowly” and overwhelmingly in front of our eyes, has governance dimensions that are common and worth reviewing. “Our objective is to outline the Disaster Management Agency that Chile needs for the 21st century,” he states.
The discussion series, which will continue throughout the rest of the year, aims at generating a policy paper that brings together those elements of risk governance that must be considered to face new threats such as COVID-19.
CIGIDEN, is a multidisciplinary and multi-university research center – funded by ANID’s FONDAP – that work towards generating world-class knowledge to improve the country’s resilience to natural hazards, preventing them from becoming disasters. Since its inception in 2011, the center is integrated by the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (UC), Federico Santa María Technical University, Andrés Bello University, and the Catholic University of the North (UCN by its initials in Spanish). Nevertheless, the center’s action areas have been enriched and expanded, and in recent years we have had collaboration of researchers of the University of Concepción, the Geology and Mining National Service (abbreviated as Sernageomin in Spanish), University of Valparaíso, Catholic University of the Most Holy Conception, University of Development (Universidad del Desarrollo in Spanish) and the University of Chile, among others.