Who Should Participate and Why?

It is important to note that the future of disaster risk reduction will require ongoing collaboration and coordination among governments, communities, organizations, professions, and the private sector.

Collective action and practiced adaptation and change are closely related. Collective action is often necessary to implement effective disaster risk reduction strategies and adapting and changing in response to current information and risks is key to effectively reducing disaster risk over time.

Effective disaster risk reduction requires a combination of both collective action and practiced adaptation and change. By working together and continuously learning from experience, not only individuals but organizations and communities can better understand and address the complex and changing risks associated with disasters.


We are calling for facilitators, conversation starters, disruptors, and innovators. All these roles are important in fostering change and making progress in disaster risk reduction. It is important to have a mix of different perspectives and experiences to effectively identify and address the complex challenges of reducing disaster risk.

  • A facilitator is someone who helps a group of people to work together effectively by guiding discussions, ensuring participants have a chance to speak, and helping the group to stay on track and achieve its goals. In the context of disaster risk reduction, a facilitator could help to bring together different organizations and stakeholders to discuss and plan for reducing disaster risk.
  • conversation starter is someone who initiates discussions and encourages others to participate. In the context of disaster risk reduction, a conversation starter can be someone who raises awareness about the need for disaster risk reduction and encourages others to get involved.
  • disrupter is someone or something that disrupts the status quo by introducing new and innovative ideas and approaches. In the context of disaster risk reduction, a disruptor could be an individual or organization that challenges traditional ways of thinking and proposes new and innovative solutions to reduce disaster risk.
  • An innovation refers to the introduction of current ideas, methods, or products and can be applied to different fields. In the context of disaster risk reduction, innovators could offer modern technologies, approaches, or strategies that help to reduce disaster risk in new and effective ways.

We know that the four priorities for action listed in Sendai are as follows:

  1. Understanding disaster risk;
  2. Strengthening disaster risk governance
  3. Investing in disaster reduction for resilience; and
  4. Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response, and to “Build Back better” in recovery, rehabilitation, and reconstruction.

Content for the Symposium

In order to best organize the symposium days, we first ask everyone to identify to which of the priorities their contribution primarily relates. We also ask that all contributions include some type of participant engagement activity beyond just a Q&A . We strive to accomplish the following;

  1. Transfer of knowledge. This can be the sharing of information related to new and innovative processes, research studies, or tools that seek to contribute to DRR in Canada. It is important to note that “transfer” is a two-way process, meaning there is also some part of the contribution that engages with participants to solicit their knowledge as part of this exchange. Participants should leave these engagements with increased understanding of a particular topic, increased curiosity and/or feeling inspired to expand their ongoing learning.
  2. Building relationships. This includes highlighting individual roles and contributions to DRR, many of which may not have previously been part of the DRR conversation, and then facilitating opportunities for these individuals to connect and learn from each other. Participants should leave these engagements with a better understanding and appreciation for the other people/organizations that are part of DRR efforts in Canada, and with specific names/contacts for collaboration and consultation. This could also include social networking events as well as facilitated relationship building activities (such as games or play).
  3. Exchange of best practices. This can be done through group work or facilitated conversation and workshops, where participants have the opportunity to engage with the process/practice and apply it in some way. Participants should leave these engagements with new tools, resources, or an improved understanding of how to implement something in practice. This could also include case studies, field trips and celebrations.

High-level “themes” to guide the types of contributions we wish to secure are related to Canada’s attempt to “accelerate whole-of-society action on DRR” through the development of the Emergency Management Strategy for Canada: Towards a Resilient 2030. This process used the principles from Sendai to identify priorities for Canada’s Federal/Provincial/Territorial governments to strengthen resiliency in Canada. This includes five priority areas that could be our overarching themes:

  1. Enhance whole-of society collaboration and governance to strengthen resilience.
  2. Improve understanding of disaster risks in all sectors of society.
  3. Increase focus on whole-of-society disaster prevention and mitigation activities.
  4. Enhance disaster response capacity and coordination and foster the development of new capabilities; and
  5. Strengthen recovery efforts by building back better to minimize the impacts of future disasters.

Priority will be given to those individuals and organizations who can contribute as this relates to the following focus areas (taken from the mid-term review for Sendai and IPCC Sixth Assessment Report on Climate Change Impacts and Risks)

  • DRR and resilience building in remote, rural, and Indigenous communities.
  • DRR and resilience building through targeted hazard risk management.
  • DRR and resilience building through addressing vulnerabilities that result from gender/social inequality, racialization, disabilities, and age.
  • Advancing trans-disciplinary research and analytical tools to deepen the collective understanding of risk for decision makers and all of society.
  • Climate change adaptation (focusing on nature-based solutions, reducing health impacts, critical infrastructure and supply chains, food/water security, protection of heritage resources, climate resilient development, public perception of climate risks, integrated policy development, committed and sustainable investment, Indigenous knowledge integration, inclusive and participatory approaches (with all-of-society)


Collectively, we can achieve more by working together than alone. We need a well-rounded perspective, which comes from bringing together new and emerging professionals from all stakeholder groups in DRR. This in turn requires us to think beyond our existing perspectives on disaster and emergency management as practitioners and academics. We want to explore challenges from every touch point and this requires willing individuals to represent a variety of positions from a diverse range of sectors and communities. Only together can we achieve the goals of creating a more disaster resilient Canada.

2023 CRHNet Symposium Content