The LINKS results have been presented in many events and initiatives in this period. These events were important moments to communicate and disseminate specific results, and were also used to validate the products with relevant stakeholders. Moreover, these events and initiatives have represented the opportunity to present LINKS to the different target groups, including practitioners, researchers, policy makers and local communities.
Some of the highlights from this period included events organized by the European Commission. In particularly LINKS participated and assisted in the organization of the events under the CERIS – Community for European Research and Innovation for Security such as the European Forum on Risk Governance & Societal Resilience in Toulouse May 2023 (see the report from the event here). At the event, LINKS hosted a panel involving city managers and Societal Resilience Cluster projects on communication with citizens, focusing on risk communication and targeted communication considering different needs and communication channels in crises.
LINKS has also built strong connections among the Societal Resilience Cluster projects and has been invited to present project results during the final events of other projects. For example, in October 2022, during the RESIFEST – Resilience Festival, organized by RESILOC project with the aim to provide emergency managers and civil society the opportunity to discuss about resilience and Civil Protection, LINKS has been presented during two sessions. During the ‘Participation and Emergency Management’ session, Save the Children Italy spoke of the importance of increasing a culture of prevention, preparedness, and resilience especially in minors, presenting ‘Feel Safe’. During the second session ‘From emergency management to community resilience: European best practices and lessons learnt on the management of wildfires’ FEU (Federation of the European Union Fire Officer Associations a.s.b.l.) had the opportunity to talk about improving communication with vulnerable people, presenting ‘Including Citizens Handbook’ and the ‘LINKS Framework’.
LINKS has also participated in some events and activities with its sister project ENGAGE. The EENA – European Emergency Number Association Conference 2023, in April 2023, during which the Technologies, Guidelines Library, and Use Cases Libraries, and Feel Safe have been presented, and feedback was collected for improving them. LINKS and ENGAGE also brought together their Advisory Committees in Rotterdam for two days of discussions and validation of the project results with a diverse group of experts. This allowed for opportunities to also assess joint exploitation opportunities of the results across the projects. And in September 2023 LINKS was very pleased to participate in an Landslide exercise and table top discussion organized by ENGAGE in Trondheim. LINKS is pleased to also take part in the ENGAGE Final event upcoming on 23 November in Brussels, which will be dedicated to the cross-disciplinary sharing of perspectives, best practices, and innovative directions to enhancing the resilience of societies to nature-derived and man-made disasters. More information on how to join that event can be found here and here.
In terms of scientific conference, one of the key conferences where LINKS has been presented is the NEEDS – Northern European Emergency and Disaster Studies Conference in November 2022 and 2023. In 2022, A specific panel was organized on ‘Operationalizing Disaster Resilience at Local Levels’, focusing on the impact of the LINKS results in the local cases, taking the opportunity to discuss these activities with other European policy experts from DG ECHO, the Council of Europe, and the sister project RESILOC. Topics of the panel were: how can we account for context/diversity in the assessment of local disaster resilience, what is the future role of citizens in Disaster Resilience, how to operationalize (or formalize) informal procedures, processes, and strategies across institutions, and what is the state of the art on the technologies for risk awareness and preparedness. Following up on these discussions, in 2023, LINKS teamed up with ENGAGE to host a panel on the Role of Social Media in Disaster Risk Management at NEEDS.
The LINKS Consortium has organized many events to present the results. Among them, the ‘LINKS Webinars series’ is one of the most important. Under the broader ‘Societal Resilience Cluster – Disaster Resilience for Communities’, it aims to explore the utilization of social media and crowdsourcing as bridging mechanisms within local communities during all stages of a crisis. It was comprised of three webinars, which can be accessed via the LINKS Youtube channel:
- The Role of Social Media in Disaster Resilience: Establishing Bridges Between Authorities and Citizens, which took place in May 2023
- Leveraging the Crowd: How Social Media and Crowdsourcing are Supporting Disaster Risk Management for Compound Disasters, which took place in June 2023;
- Integration of Social Media Information with Legacy Platforms, which took place in September 2023.
Many site visits have also been conducted by the partners of LINKS with the aim both to learn more on how practitioners use SMCS technologies to manage disasters, and to identify the needs they have.
Finally many initiatives are addressed to civil society. For example, ‘Feel Safe’ has been presented by the LINKS partner Save the Children Italy during two events organized by the Italian Civil Protection Agency, representing two important occasions to demonstrate to children how they should behave during an emergency and how they can actively contribute during disasters.
The final conference of the LINKS project was held in Rome on 16 and 17 October 2023 at the headquarters of Save the Children Italia. In addition to all the project partners, more than 100 people participated in the event, demonstrating the interest in the topic.
Speakers from within the project and external guests alternated on stage, with keynotes by Philippe Quevauviller (European Commission – DG Home) and Christian Reuter (Associate Dean of the Department of Computer Science – Technische Universität Darmstadt) during the first day, and speeches by Raffaela Milano (Italy-Europe Programmes and Advocacy Director – Save the Children Italy) and Immacolata Postiglione (Deputy Head – Italian Civil Protection Department) during the second. Our sister projects ENGAGE, CORE, and RISKPACC also took part in the panels.
The first day, entitled Integrating Social Media and Crowdsourcing into Disaster Risk Management, involved the following panels:
Panel 1: Integrating social media into risk and crisis communications
Panel 2: Addressing misinformation and disinformation in crisis management
Panel 3: Engaging the crowd: integrating “crowdsourcing” into disaster risk management
Panels of the second day, on the topic Feel Safe: A Child-Centered approach to Disaster Risk Reduction, were:
Panel 1: Child friendly risk and crisis communication
Panel 2: The importance of child-friendly disaster risk management strategies
Panel 3: Disaster preparedness education: innovative practices
All guest presentations can be downloaded from the project website.