Multi-risk and societal resilience in extreme events

The world and individual regions are exposed to and are facing multiple extreme events. Understanding the complex interactions among these events is important in a multi-risk society. Any program or investment focused on building a socially cohesive, resilient society should identify possible scenarios and options through a comprehensive multi-risk assessment. The working group builds on a decade of research on riskscape, drought management, and social cohesion by the members in East Africa. The working group aims to understand multiple risks to identify synergetic and antagonistic impacts of measures for building socially cohesive, resilient societies. It strengthens one of the German Committee for Future Earth (DKN) sustainability science research priorities - ‘extreme events and resilience.’

The working group comprises an interdisciplinary team of experts from different countries and specializations with long-standing cooperation experience with European, African, and international agencies on risk assessment. The working group identifies synergistic impacts from multiple risks for building resilient societies against extreme events. The group will examine the conceptualization of different disciplinary concepts, explore the multi-risk pathways to harmonize worldview, and examine opportunities to increase multi-risk resilience to extreme events. The working group will have two workshops and a DFG round table. The outputs from these forums will address the following research questions:

  • How do different disciplines frame and conceptualize risk-related concepts? This will offer insights to understand and harmonize different terminologies and risk concepts applied across disciplines.
  • How do different disciplines examine the risk to understand (through models and tools) extreme events like drought, pandemics, and global food crisis? This will explore the policies & institutions, multi-risk pathways, and synergies and antagonisms resulting from the interventions affecting the social cohesion and health and wellbeing in the society.

The working group envisages early career researchers, who are part of the working group, to actively lead sub-groups and establish independent research proposals. The DFG round table will develop a transdisciplinary research project for East Africa to increase multi-risk resilience with unified terminologies. The working group will be spread over 18 months. The workshop and roundtable outputs will help develop an educational module on a multi-risk resilient society for participating institutions.

Working Group Spokesperson

Dr. Saravanan V. Subramanian

German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS), Environmental Governance — Geography —

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Working Group Members