This workshop highlights some emerging trends and their significance for disaster risk reduction (DRR). It does so for three inter-related reasons which are delivered in three parts.

First, it aims to highlight the fundamental characteristics of the post-industrial ‘risk societies’ (Beck, 1992) that we live in through hyper-risks, interconnectedness and interdependence of systems and networks and their potential for abrupt failures (Ray-Bennett et al., 2014a, 2014b; Masys et al., 2014). When systems fail due to ‘natural’ or human-made crisis and disasters, the consequences are no longer only local but also global in nature. The first part illustrates this by bringing the case of critical infrastructure and their vulnerabilities in the UAE and some instances of the most recent naturally triggered technological (NATEC) disasters. Currently, the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015 (currently under revision) which dictates the domain of DRR is unable to embrace this complex phenomenon fully.

Second, this theme of complexity, interdependencies and holistic thinking (dubbed as ‘third generation’ research (Lizarallede et al., 2014) is extended and applied in the context of international development. Four case studies from South Asia, the Horn of Africa and Australia illustrate systemic development and strategic leaderships as fulcrum to promote disaster resilience and sustainable human development.

Third, to tackle hyper-risks related to NATECHs and large scale ‘natural’ or environmental disasters, speakers in this part propose ‘reflective response’ and ‘co-learning’ in DRR in order to promote organisational and community resilience.

The detailed programme of the workshop is available at the programme page.