Building a sustainable global society by strengthening disaster resilience: Developing an "Online Synthesis System (OSS)" and fostering "Facilitators" to realize consilience

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Executive Summary

1. Background

“The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030” [1] (hereinafter, the Sendai Framework) was adopted in March 2015 as an international guideline for disaster risk reduction (DRR), then followed by the adoption of the “Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” [2] (hereinafter, the 2030 Agenda) in September 2015. Recent discussions call for the promotion of both frameworks in an integrated manner under the expectation of strengthening disaster resilience to reduce impacts from disaster, overcome loss and damage, and recover, as prerequisites for achieving sustainable development. Based on the understanding that the aforementioned two international challenges derived from different background and standpoints, there is a need to propose ideal views, support social implementation, improve better understanding based on practical experience, and develop an intellectual cyclic system. In this cycle, large expectations are laid for science.

2. Status and Challenges

On the basis that disaster resilience and sustainable development are closely and structurally interlinked, it is necessary to understand their contents in a comprehensive manner, study their causes thoroughly, and conduct planning/implementation/evaluation for resolution. Actions are required to duly understand the issues and produce new values through practice of learning and improvement. “Consilience” in DRR and Environment/Development should be conducted in a comprehensive manner at the “on-site” where various issues arise. On-site stakeholders from national government, local governments/companies/organizations, communities, and residents should recognize risk on disasters and Environment/Development in an integrated manner and share them widely and then take actions in accordance with each on-site situation. To this end, on-site stakeholders and the scientific community, comprising universities and scientific institutions involved in disaster resilience and sustainable development (hereinafter called the scientific community), should hold serious communications in their mother tongue on a regular basis, take a holistic view of related data and information as well as other practices/issues, and draw ideal future pictures and design actions to be taken in a comprehensive manner. These actions will lead to provision of integrated scenarios to enhance disaster resilience and promote sustainable development based on scientific knowledge. This whole process is hereby called “synthesis.” On-site stakeholders, however, see challenges in leaving their areas and acquiring information of their non-professional subjects; therefore, they face difficulties in making decisions and taking actions to resolve on-site issues based on a multilateral analysis. In many cases, exertion of each actor’s creativity is limited and fostering of “zest for living” is hampered, and sustainability is not improved as a result. To resolve this challenge, as SCJ highlighted in “Proposal toward ‘consilience’ as science for society,” it is necessary to create “consilience knowledge base” and cultivate and increase human resources who will undertake development and management of the knowledge base. This Recommendation vi defines the base as “Online Synthesis System (OSS) for the Promotion of DRR and Sustainable Development” and the human resources as “Facilitators.” Although a Facilitator may usually be considered just as “a master of ceremony,” this Recommendation defines it as “catalytic beings who has functions to moderate meetings, to lead toward resolving problems, and to provide professional advice on-site.”

3. Recommendations

Recommendation 1: The scientific community should develop the Online Synthesis System (OSS) to promote DRR and Sustainable Development.
To support enhancement of synthesis for strengthening disaster resilience and promoting sustainable development, the scientific community should develop the Online Synthesis Systems (OSS) under interdisciplinary cooperation with international scientific organizations, various on-site stakeholders, and UN/international agencies. The OSS should be equipped with functions for users to explore, collect, archive, and search in various languages, scientific information as well as information of experiences, including good practices and success/failure stories, shared from all over the world and basic information on legal systems and policies. The OSS should also have functions to integrate these data and information, conduct forecast and simulation, facilitate effective risk communications through visualization, and establish information exchange and dialogue among stakeholders. The OSS should be functional in each mother tongue so that it will be used in each country under international cooperation.

Recommendation 2: The scientific community should foster Facilitators.
Knowledge, experiences, and methods suitable for their location should be provided and external experiences and resources should be effectively introduced so that on-site stakeholders can in an inclusive and participatory manner enhance disaster resilience and sustainable development effectively, taking advantage of the OSS and based on integrated scientific knowledge. To do so, Facilitators are required to assist stakeholders who effectively apply science and technology, protect their lives and assets, and continue their livelihoods and businesses. Therefore, the scientific community should foster Facilitators in collaboration with local universities, disaster research centers, and scientific institutions and in mutual cooperation with society.

Recommendation 3: On-site stakeholders, in cooperation with Facilitators and effectively taking advantage of the OSS, should develop integrated scenarios for DRR and Environment/Development and execute concrete measures toward enhancement of disaster resilience and achievement of SDGs.
On-site stakeholders and the scientific community should take collaborative actions, with effective utilization of OSS and support from Facilitators, by sharing the understanding of disaster risk through every dialogue, forming a cyclic system of consilience, discovering the relationship of causes and effects between DRR and Environment/Development scientifically, and deepening quantitative understanding.
Above all they should clarify the effects and roles of DRR in achieving SDGs and reflect them on their activities. vii

Recommendation 4: International scientific organizations, UN/international agencies and international aid agencies should support the development of the OSS, Facilitators and integrated scenarios for each country and region to take actions.
International and regional scientific organizations should accelerate activities of scientific communities in countries in terms of knowledge sharing on science and technology and designing information base. UN/international agencies and international aid agencies should establish a system to assist countries to raise awareness on the above, and develop and manage the information base in the context of improving quality and effectiveness of assistance in DRR and Environment/Development fields.