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Akiyuki Kawasaki

University of Tokyo

Breakout Room 2.


socially vulnerability; poverty; OSS-SR; facilitator

How can the human dimensions of disaster impacts be more accurately captured and represented in the analysis, modeling and simulation of disasters?

The human dimensions of disaster impacts vary greatly depending on the socio economic characteristics of the affected population; such as their cultural background; age; genders; disabilities; and disaster experiences in the past. While it is not at all practical to make a detailed categorization of all the different characteristics of the world's population; it is necessary to understand as much as possible about important groups of citizens through interviews and other means. In other words; it is necessary to conduct detailed surveys and make a database of the socially vulnerable people who suffer the most when a disaster strikes. This is because such socially vulnerable people are often omitted from public surveys and databases; and are often ignored by society; even though they are in fact severely affected; particularly in developing worlds. It has been pointed out that repeated disasters can trap socially vulnerable people in a vicious cycle of poverty; but the reality is that little empirical data or research has been conducted on this issue. Under such circumstances; it is difficult to promote DRR measures and policies that take socially vulnerable people into account; and this is an obstacle to building a resilient society to disasters. In order to realize poverty alleviation; which is the top priority of the SDGs; more DRR research should shed more light on socially vulnerable people. Furthermore; disaster impact assessment modeling and simulations should be conducted based on the knowledge gained from these studies; and DRR investments should be presented to build a resilient society.

What type of data and supporting research infrastructure would be necessary to enable novel, transdisciplinary approaches to answering these and other human-centered disaster questions?

In order to develop transdisciplinary approaches to the human dimensions of disaster impacts; it is desirable to have access to a wide variety of scientific knowledge; data; and models; including various socio economic statistics; satellite observation data; disaster records and literature; climate change simulation output; etc. Based on a data platform such as Japan's DIAS (Data Integration and Analysis System); it is necessary to build an Online Synthesis System for Sustainability and Resilience (OSS-SR) that can synthesize and analyze a wide variety of data and models related to disasters; such as those mentioned above. This is not just a collection of data and models; but a platform that also has the function of integrating disaster-related knowledge and  consilience.  At the same time; it is necessary to consider the development of facilitators who can support the presentation of solutions by linking the needs and challenges faced in the field with the scientific knowledge; data; and models available in OSS-SR; as well as with experts and other stakeholders.

In what ways can US-Japan collaborations advance these questions in new and important ways?

Although both Japan and the US  are global economic powers; they both suffer from severe natural disasters every year and have serious socio economic problems; such as increasing poverty due to domestic economic disparities. At the same time; both countries have conducted a great deal of development assistance and research on regional development in many developing countries; and have  a wide variety of data and many research opportunities on social vulnerabilities such as disasters and poverty; both domestically and internationally. The collaboration of two economic powers with different geographic natural conditions; historical and cultural backgrounds; racial composition; and religions will allow for a multidimensional study of the human dimensions of disaster impacts on socially vulnerable populations. Specifically; in addition to a comparative study between Japan and the US; which share many common and different characteristics; a comparative analysis will be conducted among the countries of Asia; Latin America; and Africa; to which both countries are major donors. As a result; there is a high possibility of creating academically original and practical DRR measures that will contribute to solving the world's diverse disaster problems. Furthermore; by promoting social implementation of the results; the project is expected to contribute to regional development and poverty reduction

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