Nov 24, 2021

PEDRR European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction Virtual Booth

  • Online
  • 9:00 am - 12:00 am

Sessions at PEDRR Booth at the European Forum for DRR 24-26 November


Wednesday 24 November 13.10-13.30

UNU “Climate Resilience Initiative”
In July 2021, several European countries including Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands were affected by catastrophic floods, causing deaths and widespread damage amidst a global pandemic. At the same time, the recently published 6th Assessment Report (AR6, Working Group I) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that such extreme events (also including heat, droughts, and others) will further increase in both frequency and severity in the coming decades. Against this background, accelerated efforts enhancing climate and disaster risk management and facilitating climate-resilient development pathways are urgently needed. While major progress has been made in many individual fields related to this societal mega challenge, the recent floods have once again revealed grave gaps in regards to (i) our understanding of the multiple risks and cascading impacts of such events, (ii) the awareness, risk perception, and behavior of the population, (iii) our preparedness and emergency response capacity, (iv) the role of insurance and finance instruments in building back better, and (v) adaptation and transformation needs and potentials as well as (iv) issues of multi-level governance related to all of the previous aspects.
In light of this societal mega challenge, and against the background of the above outlined gaps where further research is needed to inform policy and action, we propose to establish the “UNU Climate Resilience Initiative” and “2022 Knowledge Summit”. In close collaboration with our UNU sister institutes in Belgium (UNU-CRIS) and the Netherlands (UNU-MERIT) as well as our many partners in the flood affected countries in Europe as well as other flood-prone areas of the world, we envisage to establish this initiative and associated Knowledge Summit as a platform and community of practice for collaboration dialogue, and exchange to foster learning and promote a paradigm shift in the narrative and public discourse by moving from focusing on risks to innovation, adaptation and transformation.
The study methodology involves desk and field research coupled with stakeholder consultations and fact-finding missions is used to develop an evidence-informed long-term research agenda. The final results will be presented during the Knowledge Summit (scheduled July 2022) as well as in the form of policy-relevant outputs (e.g., policy briefs) and through a series of outreach activities already in the run-up to the Summit.

The initiative will address the increasing risks, as well as adaptation and transformation need associated with climate-induced extreme weather events to facilitate pathways towards climate-resilient development.
In doing so, it should focus on (is) better understanding multiple interconnected risks and impacts, (ii) the role of regional integration and cross-border collaboration, and (iii) the role of comprehensive innovation, adaptation and transformation.

We will provide some highlights from the
• Research component that allows drawing lessons learned from the recent floods in Western Europe in a comparative context- Netherlands, Belgium and Germany
• Outreach and Communications gaps and needs
• Platform component (“Knowledge Summit”)- multi-stakeholders discussion platform

Speakers and Agenda
a) Opening remarks and moderation by Prof Dr Nidhi Nagabhatla (UNU CRIS)
b) Website and outline of UNU CRI by Mr Thomas Baar (UNU MERIT)
c) Aspects of risk perception by Dr Robert Oakes (UNU EHS)
d) Community preparedness and response measures and showcasing the opinion article on mental health, climate grief, climate adaptation and resilience futures-UNUMERIT by Dr. Sanae Okamoto
e) Closing comments


On 25 November, European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction (#EFDRR2021) at the PEDERR virtual booth showcased a new and upcoming program of the United Nations University- UNU Climate Resilience Initiative, this initiative is a joint effort of UNU CRIS (Belgium), UNU MERIT ( Netherlands)  and UNU EHS (Germany) in response to the European Flood of  July  2021. The objectives of this program cover multiple dimensions of research, planning, and policy and aim to support diverse stakeholders, states, communities including the cross-border agencies and actors to exchange information and experiences on good practices and transformative approaches to managing disaster risk and help implement the vision of climate and disaster-resilient future for the region #buildingbackbetter and #resilientcommunities.

During the session, the UNU team contributed their insights  @Nidhi Nagabhatla from UNU CRIS @Sanae Okamoto and @Thomasbaar from UNU  MERIT and @RobertOakes  from UNU  EHS as to how the defined work agenda will contribute to accelerated efforts towards enhancing climate and disaster risk management and facilitating climate-resilient development pathways and bridge the information and knowledge gaps that the recent floods have once again revealed. Furthermore, the UNU experts will examine trends and patterns to enhance the understanding of the multiple risks and cascading impacts, build awareness, understand the behavioral patterns of communities and population on risk perception, examine the capacities/competencies in preparedness and emergency response systems, and study adaptation support mechanisms like insurance and finance instruments along with the challenges o of multi-level governance in disaster planning and climate action. The initiative will reflect on innovation, adaptation, and transformation pathways while adopting review and field research coupled with stakeholder consultations and fact-finding missions to develop an evidence-informed long-term research agenda and serve as a platform for knowledge exchange on related challenges between the global north and global south.


Thursday 25 November 13.40-14.00

Disaster risk communication related to the 2021 floods in Germany
Prof Udo Nehren (TH-Köln), Alexander Fekete (TH-Köln) and Dr Simone Sandholz (UNU-EHS)

In July 2021, Germany was hit by severe flooding that resulted in many deaths and high material damage, especially in the western part of the country. In addition to the question of whether this was a once-in-a-century event and whether intensive land use and climate change were among the triggering factors, one question in particular was discussed by the public: Did risk communication fail? In our presentation we will show the deficits in risk communication and related impacts on preparedness on the basis of surveys conducted before and immediately after the event, discuss what conclusions can be drawn for future flood events, outline approaches for better risk communication through participatory approaches, and question what role risk communication can play in the context of ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction and adaptation (Eco-DRR/EbA).


Thursday 25 November 16.30-16.50


LAB COEDPA is a social laboratory that provides an open space for creating and promoting new initiatives and projects to help society achieve the SDGs. Environmental education is an essential tool for transformative change that academic areas in the past have neglected. LABCOEDPA brings a solution to this lack of space for young researchers, citizens and organization that wishes to collaborate in this space. The objective of the Laboratory is to promote citizen science and the culture of preventionand risk management to build more resilient and sustainable societies through training in the fields of formal and non-formal education, research, innovation, technological development and scientific dissemination. During this presentation, you can learn more information about LABCOEDPA, how to collaborate with us, or how to build your own collaborative space in your institution

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Friday 26 November 13:30- 13:50

Introducing the MOOC on Nature-based Solutions for Climate and Disaster Resilience

More information here

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