To meet its research objectives IRDR established four core Working Groups comprising experts from diverse disciplines to formulate new methods in addressing the shortcomings of current disaster risk research.
The Assessment of Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (AIRDR) working group will undertake the first systematic and critical global assessment of integrated research on disaster risk. The enormity and complexity of disaster risk requires knowledge from the natural, social and health sciences, and engineering operating in an integrative fashion, not as separate disciplines examining one aspect of the problem. Such a synthesis of perspectives is not easy, but is vital in producing the new understanding of disasters and their impacts and in achieving the objectives of IRDR.
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The Disaster Loss Data (DATA) working group will study issues related to the collection, storage, and dissemination of disaster loss data. Recognising the need for standards or protocols to reduce uncertainty in disaster loss data, the working group intends to establish an overall framework for disaster loss data for all providers, to establish nodes and networks for databases, and to conduct sensitivity testing among databases to ensure some level of comparability.
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The Forensic Investigations of Disasters (FORIN) working group will develop, disseminate and implement a radical new approach in disaster research that seeks to identify and explain the underlying causes of disasters, including the growth in magnitude and frequency of very large disaster events. It is intended that this research paradigm will lead to greater in-depth understanding and more enlightened and effective disaster risk reduction practices and policies.
The Risk Interpretation and Action (RIA) working group will focus on the question of how people — both decision-makers and ordinary citizens — make decisions, individually and collectively, in the face of risk. Decision-making under conditions of uncertainty is inadequately described by traditional models of ’rational choice’. Instead, attention needs to be paid to how people’s interpretations of risks are shaped by their own experiences, personal feelings and values, cultural beliefs and interpersonal and societal dynamics.
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