Disaster Management Processes

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In a changing technological landscape to address disasters, and with an increasing diversity of stakeholders in disaster risk management, the first activites regarding the assessment of disaster management processes contributed to the project with two research based analyses:

  • first, an overview of the existing academic literature linking the use of social media and crowdsourcing platforms with disaster governance for improved European disaster resilience,
  • second, a mapping of existing international, European and national guidelines and policy frameworks that currently govern the use of social media and crowdsourcing in the management of disasters.  

Together, these two analyses show that social media and crowdsourcing technologies provide a window of opportunity to govern disasters more efficiently and inclusively, and governmental actors are increasingly making use of social media and crowdsourcing platforms in disaster management processes. Nevertheless, existing research shows that social media and crowdsourcing platforms are often used in an ad-hoc and passive manner without utilising the management potential provided by these technologies. This points to the need to develop capacities in national governments’ for the use of social media and crowdsourcing technologies in disaster risk management and calls for greater integration of social media and crowdsourcing technologies in disaster risk management plans. If these platforms are to play a key role in disaster risk management, their aim and function ought to be reflected in relevant legal frameworks, policies, and guidelines.

Going forward, and to create a more strategic and holistic approach for the use of social media and crowdsourcing in disaster risk management, there is a need for an inclusive approach to the use of these technological platforms. Such inclusion involves an increased focus on social media and crowdsourcing in both response and prevention plans and policies, as well as a deeper understanding, and integration of, a people-centred approach where technology, culture, risk perceptions and norms are considered important for how social media and crowdsourcing can play a role in disaster governance. Facilitating such a holistic and integrated approach will be at the heart of the next steps of the project.

From: The first LINKS project newsletter