CNDS Research Framework - An integrative research framework to unravel the interplay of natural hazards and vulnerabilities
Several CNDS researchers from a wide range of disciplines have together drafted an integrative research framework for addressing the interplay of natural hazards and vulnerabilities. They argue for the integration of the two major approaches to DRR, which focus on hazard and on vulnerability respectively, and propose a bold, new research framework, which is presented in an article published in the open access journal Earth's future.
Climate change, globalization, urbanization, social isolation, and increased interconnectedness between physical, human, and technological systems pose major challenges to disaster risk reduction (DRR). Subsequently, economic losses caused by natural hazards are increasing in many regions of the world, despite scientific progress, persistent policy action, and international cooperation.
CNDS researchers argue that these dramatic figures call for novel scientific approaches and new types of data collection to integrate the two main approaches that still dominate the science underpinning DRR: the hazard paradigm and the vulnerability paradigm. Building from these two approaches, CNDS proposes a research framework that specifies the scope of enquiry, concepts, and general relations among phenomena. This new integrative research framework includes and discusses the essential steps for advancing systematic empirical research and evidence-based DRR policy action.
The CNDS researchers identify three main puzzles in the nexus of natural hazards and vulnerabilities and demonstrate how novel approaches are needed to solve them with reference to a flood risk example. Specifically, they show how a new research framework can guide systematic data collections to advance the fundamental understanding of socionatural interactions, which is an essential step to improve the development of policies for disaster risk reduction.
The integrative framework specifies how the impacts and perceptions of natural hazards influence sociotechnical vulnerabilities, governance, and institutions, while at the same time social behavior, technical measures, and policy interventions alter the frequency, magnitude, and spatial distribution of natural hazards (see figure below). Reciprocal effects at the local scale are also influenced by global drivers. Climate and environmental change can alter the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, while socioeconomic trends (including population growth, urbanization, and interdependent infrastructures) can increase exposure to natural hazards.