Developing robust, relevant, understandable and defensible evidence and knowledge to support new and improved policy and strategy is a critical contribution to sustainable national disaster risk reduction and the strengthening of resilience to the impacts of disasters.
The evidence needs to combine an understanding of the past, (learning from disasters and more broadly from history), present (current operations and research) and future (predicting what the future is likely to look like, and what will be needed to live and operate in that time). The latter is often referred to as ‘foresight’.
Foresight uses thinking systematically about the future to inform decision-making today, rather than attempting to provide solutions for challenges as they are currently being experienced.
Strategic foresight is used to encourage decision-makers to explore the likely nature of the challenges in multiple futures – where each of those futures are plausible. This approach can ensure that thinking about the future is not based on ‘blue-sky’ or invented creative thinking, but is systematic, rigorous, explicit and evidence based.
Strategic foresight can be used to explore many perspectives, including:
- where and when the underpinning systems required for disaster management become stressed and their interdependencies
- changes in risks and vulnerabilities that will affect people, communities, the built environment and the natural landscape
- adaptive and participatory approaches for policy development for disaster resilience and disaster risk reduction.
This research theme will provide a mechanism for discussion, debate, testing and development of new policy and strategic approaches to seemingly intractable problems, and to determine the value and continued relevance of current and past policies and strategies.
Research in this theme is expected to explore the topic through a range of outcomes, including:
- short- and long-term benefits of different investment options
- modelling to understand the evolution of risk and compare mitigation options
- understanding of new and emerging policy and strategy options
- understanding and communicating complexity and value of systems-based approaches
- monitoring and evaluation of current policies and strategies
- integrated decision-support tools
- concept development and testing for new business models
- analysis and evaluation of current and past policy initiatives.