6. From analysis to action: concluding comments

While all crises are different, there are a number of common issues that recur across countries and communities with respect to science advice and the management of crises. These relate partially to technical issues - structures, mechanisms and frameworks. However the most important factors inhibiting effective cooperation are social or cultural. Policies are required that promote mutual understanding, trust and effective communication between different actors and different countries.


Drawing on the analysis of the rich and varied inputs from different countries during this project and the in depth case studies that were discussed at the international workshop at Wilton Park, there are five key themes that re-occur consistently throughout and which merit policy attention:

  • Fostering domestic capacity for scientific advice in crises

  • Enabling transnational scientific cooperation in crises

  • Promoting mutual understanding and trust

  • Disaster Response Preparedness

  • Communicating with the public

Each of these themes has been considered from the perspectives of those who generate and provide scientific advice and those who need to use this advice to manage crises. The overall ambition is to improve the mechanisms by which these two communities interact with regards to crisis management and hence improve decision-making and crisis management and ultimately limit the human and financial burden of these crises. With this in mind a set of 13 recommendations that respond to critical policy issues under these five key themes has been formulated and these are detailed in Chapter 1.

In a world that is increasingly vulnerable to novel and complex crises and where the incidence of many of these events is likely to increase because of both societal choices and environmental changes, it is critical that we use the best available scientific evidence to inform disaster management. Science has made huge progress in terms of risk analysis, early warning and mitigation of crises but, as we see from the cases that were studied for this report there is still considerable progress to be made in the use of science to manage crises when they occur. This requires a joint commitment from science and from policy makers and this commitment needs to be at multiple scales from local to global. Hazards, such as health pandemics or tsunamis, do not respect national borders and effective international mechanisms for exchange of scientific data, information and expertise are essential to prevent these hazards becoming human disasters.

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