Disaster Risk Reduction

ISC, and its predecessor ICSU, have a long history of involvement in the coordination of international research on disaster risk.


In 2008, the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk Programme (IRDR) was created, which commenced operation in 2010 and builds upon decades of work by ISC’s GeoUnion members. Both UNISDR & ISSC are co-sponsors. The creation of IRDR stemmed from the recognition that there is a need for interdisciplinary science to address the most pressing problems in the field.

Based on its track-record at the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development, ICSU in 2014 was invited by Margareta Wahlström, head of UNISDR (now UNDRR), to coordinate and represent the science & technology community in preparations for the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, Sendai, March 2015. This conference adopted a new global post-2015 agreement, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction – to follow up on the 2005 Hyogo Framework for Action.

ICSU advocated for a strong science base for this framework, including at the two meetings of the conference’s Preparatory Committee, held on 14-15 July and 17-18 November 2014 in Geneva. The Sendai Framework, adopted at the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, contains a strong recognition of the importance of science in the DRR field, and offers many avenues for the scientific community to help implement the framework in the coming years.

ISC is also working closely with IRDR and the wider scientific community to boost integrated science that responds to the priorities of the Sendai Framework and to support the uptake of science in the policy and practice communities. Examples of our activities include a strong presence at the 2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (22-26 May 2017, Cancún) including through a series of policy briefs, identification of key areas for collaboration and knowledge gaps across the IRDR, Future Earth and WCRP programmes, partnership with the Science Council of Japan, UNISDR and others for the organization of a Global Forum on Science and Technology for Disaster Resilience 2017 in November 2017 in Japan.

In 2019, the ISC launched policy briefs ahead of the UN Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (GP2019) to provide key messages for policy-makers on disaster-loss data and the synergies between the major global agreements of the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction, the Paris Agreement and the SDGs.

In 2022, the ISC took part in the Seventh Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GP2022). The ISC contribution to the GP2022 included a series of policy briefs providing key messages and recommendations aimed at policy- and decision-makers at different levels of governance, from local to global, on how to advance DRR and sustainable development by closing the science-practice gap at local levels; on adopting multi-hazard approaches to risk reduction based on the UNDRR/ISC hazard information profiles; and on using different domain data to enhance disaster management. At a side-event, the ISC made the case for the urgent need to close the gap between knowledge and action at local levels with the aim to improve disaster risk management. The ISC also elaborated on the prerequisite to address disaster vulnerability at global and regional levels during an Ignite Stage presentation.

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This newsletter conveys inputs from different scientific networks working on disaster risk reduction, and is convened by the Scientific and Technological Community Major Group coordinated by the International Science Council.

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