Legarda: Integrating Science Into DRR Policy, Key to Resilience

June 9, 2014

Beijing, China — The integration of science into the disaster risk reduction (DRR) policy of governments must be done in order to effectively build resilience, said Senator Loren Legarda at the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) Conference 2014 held at the Beijing International Convention Center from June 7-9, 2014.


Legarda, who delivered an opening keynote speech on June 7, said that science is vital in various stages of disaster risk reduction and management including in risk assessment, better forecasting of natural hazards and establishing early warning systems.


“Science tells us why these extreme weather events happen; it tells us how we can build our resilience to disasters; it warns us what we should and should not do to prevent further rise in global temperature. We have a multitude of studies provided by our scientists and we must use this wealth of information to our advantage. The key is to turn science into practice or promote knowledge into action,” she explained.


The Senator said that in the various sessions of the IRDR Conference, participants discussed the importance of empowering local DRR officials and that the dissemination of information is the first step in creating awareness about DRR.


Legarda, the UN Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, said that the youth should already be engaged in DRR as early as in primary school and that a curriculum on the same should be developed and made part of the education system.


Moreover, the media should also be sensitized on DRR, particularly on how to accurately translate technical terms and scientific explanations into layman’s terms for better understanding of the public. The media should also bring information not only during times of disasters but even without an impending natural hazard so that disaster resilience will be a way of life.


“Science is our ally in building the resilience of nations. We need science in assessing the vulnerability of communities, updating our geo-hazard maps, establishing effective early warning systems, strengthening building codes and making risk-sensitive land use plans that are linked into yearly investment plans of governments. We need science in planning evacuation, building temporary shelters that are equipped with basic necessities, strategizing effective disaster response and in ensuring that in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of disaster-hit communities, the risks will not be rebuilt. We need science in providing the depth and breadth of information that the public needs and in capacitating the private sector to create their business continuity plans that highlight resiliency as a core feature of their operations,” Legarda explained.


“In every step of the way, we need science to guide us. Working with the science community is key to effective governance that builds resilient and sustainable communities,” said Legarda.