Closing the risk perception gap to increase disaster resilience

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Dr Su Anson | Head of Innovation & Research

Date: 20 August 2021

What is the risk perception gap and how does it affect our societies resilence to disasters?

Disasters have severe and far-reaching human and economic impacts. The resilience of societies requires interaction between Civil Protection Authorities and citizens. However, a Risk Perception Action Gap (RPAG) exists that can be understood as the mismatch between the risk perceptions and actions of citizens, and between the risk perceptions of citizens and Civil Protection Authorities (CPAs).

Despite many governments implementing risk communication strategies, research shows that the risk awareness, knowledge, and preparedness of citizens across Europe remains low. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of citizen participation in disaster risk management as governments have requested the public to adopt and respect different protective measures.

To tackle this challenge, starting in September 2021, RiskPACC will adopt a co-creation approach to facilitate greater interaction and knowledge exchange between citizens, civil protection agencies, civil society organisations, researchers, and developers to collaboratively identify resilience requirements and develop potential procedural and technical solutions to build enhanced resilience to a range of hazards.

Based on this understanding, the project will establish seven dedicated case studies focused on wildfires, floods, earthquakes, chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defence (CBRN), terrorism, health pandemics, and multi-hazard events. As part of the case studies, RiskPACC partners will jointly design and prototype novel solutions across all risk management/disaster resilience phases (i.e., prevent/mitigate, preparedness, response, and recovery). These solutions will be stress-tested in multiple locations and risk contexts.

Over the course of three years, RiskPACC will provide an enhanced understanding of disaster resilience from the perspective of citizens and civil protection agencies, identifying resilience-building initiatives and good practices led by both. The resultant “Risk Pack” of solutions will include a framework and methodology to understand and close the RPAG; a repository of international best practices; and tooled solutions based on new forms of digital and community-centred data and associated training guidance.

Trilateral Research joins 20 organisations across 10 European countries in the H2020  RiskPACC (Integrating Risk Perception and Action to enhance Civil Protection-Citizen interaction) project to enhance individual and collective disaster resilience.

Trilateral will lead research activities to understand disaster resilience and risk perception in the EU from Civil Protection Authority and community perspectives.

This will involve critically reviewing current definitions of disaster resilience and risk perception to establish a set of general principles applicable to disaster risk management.

Trilateral’s research team will engage with communities and citizen groups through stakeholder engagement activities to understand local resilience practices and approaches. Through this desk-based research and qualitative research with stakeholders, Trilateral will work with partners to identify gaps between research, policy and practice.

By supporting RiskPACC’s co-creational approach, Trilateral will contribute to the development and co-evaluation of the RiskPACC platform, solutions, and toolkit.

Meet the team

The project is coordinated by Fraunhofer Institute for Technological Trend Analysis – INT (Germany). Other consortium partners include Trilateral Research (UK), Institute of Communication and Computer Systems (Greece), The University of Warwick (UK), Kentro Meleton Asfaleias – KEMEA (Greece), European Organisation for Security (Belgium), Forum Européen pour la Sécurité urbaine (France), Ceska Asocice Hasicskych Dustojniku sdruzeni (Czech Republic), University of Stuttgart (Germany),

Belgian National Crisis Center (Belgium), University of Twente (Netherlands), Municipality of Eilat (Israel), Magen David Adom in Israel (Israel), University College London (UK), Crowdsense BV (Netherlands), STAM SRL (Italy), I.S.A.R. Germany Stiftung (Germany), The Chief Constable of Lancashire Constabulary (UK), Dimos Rafinas-Pikermiou (Greece), Comune di Padova (Italy).

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under grant agreement No 101019707.

For more information, please contact our team.

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