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Paper iaps_21_2010_52:
Risk communication for resilient societies – A critical review of practices and trends in Europe

id iaps_21_2010_52
authors Corina Höppner, Matthias Buchecker
year 2010
title Risk communication for resilient societies – A critical review of practices and trends in Europe
source Kabisch, Sigrun; Kunath, Anna; Feldmann, Hildegard (editors): VULNERABILITY, RISK AND COMPLEXITY: IMPACTS OF GLOBAL CHANGE ON HUMAN HABITATS (IAPS 21 Conference, Abstracts of Presentations), 27 june-2 july 2010
summary Risk communication research has been extensive and substantial in the fields of health, food safety, technological and chemical risks. The considerable body of literature that has grown from the 1980 onwards bears witness to the significant changes the concept of risk communication has undergone through the decades. At least in theory we can discern a move from simple to complex models that attempt to embrace the complexity of hazard prone societies and the diversity of actors having a stake or knowledge relevant to the management of risks and impacts. In comparison, risk communication research in the field of natural hazards is still less developed and systematic. The recent paradigm shift from mere emergency recovery to proactive disaster prevention and mitigation in Europe and elsewhere, however, stresses the importance of effective risk communication to prepare for, prevent, cope with and recover from natural hazards. This development points at the need for comprehensive and integrated communication models spanning the time before, during and after natural hazard events. Such integrated communication models should acknowledge different needs, expectations and characteristics of actors (state and non-state agencies, organisations, groups, the public) at different levels and the resulting diversity of objectives and required modes of communication. Recent studies furthermore highlight the importance of communication outside official risk management regimes (unofficial flood warnings, social networks) to build community resilience. As part of the CapHaz-Net action this paper briefly traces the development of risk communication from awareness raising campaigns to complex models that conceptualise one-way and two-way communication between different actors at different levels before, during and after a hazard event. By integrating relevant literature from the fields of natural hazards, land and natural resource management, social learning, health and technological risks the paper proposes a communication framework for the field of natural hazards. The framework takes into account actors in, situations, purposes and modes of communication. Using this framework we map and discuss mainstream and innovative communication practices in Europe focusing on floods, alpine hazards and heat-related hazards. The emphasis will be on communication to prevent, prepare for and warn of natural hazards. Specifically, the review of practices gives an overview of who is involved, to what purpose, by which means and communication modes. Attention will also be paid to the constraints and specific challenges facing risk communication. Based on these practices the paper explores the links between communication, capacity building and vulnerability to contribute to an overall resilience framework. We conclude by pointing at pressing questions for further research particularly regarding the evaluation of risk communication practice.
series conference:IAPS:21
type symposium
discussion No discussions. Post discussion ...
last changed 2010/08/22 17:38

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