Risk, transformation and adaptation: Ideas for reframing approaches to disaster risk reduction

Douglas Paton, Petra Buergelt

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    Recognition of projected increases in exposure to large-scale hazard events over the coming decades has identified a need to develop how disaster risk reduction and recovery are conceptualized and enacted. This paper discusses some strategies for pursing this goal in both disaster recovery and preparedness settings. The approaches discussed include understanding how communities learn from their hazardous experiences and transform these lessons into beliefs, relationships and capabilities that build future adaptive capacity. The paper draws on examples of transformative learning that illustrate how people can make fundamental shifts in how they think about, prepare for and respond to environmental challenge and change. Regarding transformation in pre-event settings, the paper first discusses why the addition of transformative strategies to disaster risk reduction programs is required. These include a need for rethinking socio-environmental relationships, increasing risk acceptance in the context of evolving hazardscapes, and countering beliefs regarding not preparing. The paper then offers strategies for motivating transformation and consolidating the outcomes of transformation in pre-event disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategies. A preliminary model that could inform the development of research questions on the development of transformative outcomes and their consolidation in enduring adaptive processes is presented.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number2594
    Pages (from-to)1-19
    Number of pages19
    JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
    Issue number14
    Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2019


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