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Panel on “Operationalizing Disaster Resilience at Local Levels” – NEEDS 2022 Conference

Panel Date & Time: 2nd November 2022, 14:30 – 16:30

Location: University of Copenhagen: Njalsgade 76, 2300 Copenhagen S., Denmark



The European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction Roadmap for 2021-2030 works towards the acceleration of the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in the region. It addresses the need for communities to adapt to a changing landscape of systemic risks as a product of growing complexity in our societies and their increasing exposure to climate change induced hazard conditions. The Roadmap points out an opportunity to achieve such adaptation through understanding “transformative opportunities and the way forward” to prepare our societies for what has not yet been experienced yet. It stresses that “The Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and the complexity of existing, emerging and future risks make clear the need for a paradigm shift in preparedness, response and recovery”.

One of the core elements of the proposed new European paradigm is an inclusive, all-of-society approach that aims to move preparedness beyond existing civil protection mechanisms. To make it an effective approach it will be imperative that we better understand and predict the hazard scenarios that may impact our societies. European communities will have to learn to assess and increase their resilience against these scenarios and to proactively use targeted communication to support the definition of a new role of citizens as contributors to disaster resilient societies. It is also key that the last-mile communication works properly, since it is one of the cornerstones of local resilience.

Among the key priority areas and actions outlined in the roadmap, is a focus on inclusive and collaborative systems for governance and decision-making, as well as the development of accessible and inclusive resilience tools for addressing existing, emerging, and future risks. On the one hand, this requires a move towards institutionalizing inclusive, multi-stakeholder approaches to disaster risk governance, among first responders, local authorities, businesses, vulnerable groups, citizens, and other relevant stakeholders. On the other hand, it calls for investment in inclusive and accessible multi-hazard tools and technologies such as resilience assessment models, risk communication platforms and early-warning systems that connect different levels of risk governance.

Within this scope, this panel aims to explore some of the complexities which emerge with advancing the operationalization of disaster resilience at local levels. Topics include:

1) How can we account for context/diversity in the assessment of local disaster resilience with a forward-looking perspective?

2) What is the future role of citizens in Disaster Resilience – Informing vs involving citizens (or local stakeholders) in DRM?

3) Operationalizing (or formalizing) informal procedures, processes and strategies across institutions.

4) Implementing technology for risk awareness and preparedness: accessibility vs operationalization.

The panel builds from experiences and outputs from the LINKS and RESILOC projects, which are funded under the EU Horizon 2020 Research & Innovation Programme on Disaster Resilience Societies (DRS). Both projects aim at contributing to knowledge, tools, guidelines and recommendations development so to improve adaptability and preparedness concerning different disaster risks. In this regard LINKS is producing a Framework for disaster management organizations and other relevant stakeholders on the uses of social media and crowdsourcing in disasters, and RESILOC has developed a strategic tool for collecting data (proxies) and implementing a framework to allow local communities to assess their local resilience and develop strategies to increase it. The panel brings together Experts who can speak on the changing world of Civil Protection in the wake of increasing systemic risks, by highlighting:

·        Connections between science and civil protection authorities.

·        Defining forward-looking scenarios.

·        The need to accelerate the implementation of Sendai Target E at the local level in Europe based on localized resilience assessments.

·        The need for integrating citizens in future Civil Protection.

·        The role of Data and Technology in future Civil Protection.


– Panellist 1: Gennadiy Kosyak, Council of Europe, Education Department, Co-operation and Capacity Building Division


– Panellist 2: Krzysztof Zyman, Executive Secretary, EUR-OPA of the Council of Europe


– Panellist 3: Phillip Frank Vilar Welter, Policy Officer – Union Civil Protection Mechanism, DG ECHO

– Panellist 4: Caroline Rizza,  Associate Professor in Information and Communication Sciences at Telecom Paris. Member of Science Advice for Policy by European Academies (SAPEA) Working Group for Evidence Review Report on ‘Crisis Management in the European Union.

– Panellist 5: Kees Boersma, LINKS, Professor of socio-technical innovation and societal resilience in Faculty of Social Sciences (at the Department of Organization Sciences) and the Faculty of Science – Science, Business & Innovation group – at Vrije University Amsterdam

– Panellist 6: Ramona Velea, RESILOC, Deputy-Director of the Institute of International Sociology (ISIG)

 – Moderator: Chiara Fonio, Researcher, Vrije University Amsterdam  


Panel organisers: the panel will be organised by Nathan Clark ( and Karsten Uhing  ( 

Nathan Clark is researcher at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Department of Organization Sciences, and the Scientific Coordinator for the Horizon 2020 project LINKS. He is the former Director of the Copenhagen Center for Disaster Research (COPE), and an alumni of the University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Law. 

Karsten Uhing is a researcher at the Fraunhofer Institute IML in Frankfurt Germany, and the project coordinator of the Horizon 2020 project RESILOC. He is the Coordinator of the Horizon 2020 research cluster on Disaster Resilient Societies (DRS01) on human factors, and social, societal, and organisational aspects for disaster-resilient societies.


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