Editorial

“From Thoughts to Action by closely linking practice, science, policy and decision making in the search for sustainable solutions.” is the motto of GRF Davos. Planet@Risk, our new online journal, is taking up the stated motto of GRF Davos being conceptually designed to facilitate communication, knowledge transfer and experience exchange - all crucial for implementing successful and sustainable practice in Disaster Risk Reduction DRR.

Risk reduction and disaster management, risk analysis and assessment, prevention, mitigation, intervention, response, recovery, vulnerability, resilience, disaster preparedness, crises communication, risk governance, and the many more key-words and contents are subject to intensive, but often still sectorial and disciplinary research. However, for effectively dealing with today’s risks and disasters an integrative, inter- and trans-disciplinary approach is needed, in particular if risk and disaster management are put into the context of a resilient, sustainable development process. Imminent hazards and large or frequent catastrophes strongly intervene with a broad spectrum of processes, i.e. the dynamics of population pressure and mobility, urbanisation, the various facets of globalization, economic and financial crises, climate change, environmental degradation and erosion of ecosystem services, health and food issues, and the shifts in ethical, cultural and behavioural patterns. The portfolio of risk reduction, disaster management, global change and security as a whole becomes ever more complex and interwoven.

The globally growing number of crises and disasters, and the more and more intricate, complex and multi-faceted nature of risks require an innovative, integrative and problem-oriented approach to risk and disaster management. GRF Davos aims at fostering the integrative risk management approach on a global scale with this new e-journal Planet@Risk. The issues of risks, disasters, safety and security, development and sustainability ought to be inter-disciplinarily approached by scientist, policy makers, administrators, practitioners, and business leaders. It is only through a holistic perspective that the complexity of the risk theme and its entire phenomenology can be understood, addressed, conceptualized, and tackled.

In an age of unprecedented global change and inter-dependence, an integrative approach, involving all relevant kinds of risks, disciplines and stakeholders, has to be applied and taken throughout the entire risk cycle of prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery in order to be able to identify viable solutions and promote good practice. This view is now widely accepted, however, there is also consensus that sufficient knowledge transfer and full integration of sectors, stakeholders and especially front-users involved in risk reduction and crisis management are still lacking. The rapid transition of scientific, disciplinary knowledge into applicable, interdisciplinary know-how and its dissemination are therefore key elements to improving risk and disaster management in an integrative manner. In line with GRF Davos’ activities, Planet@Risk will cover the entire spectrum of risks, threats and disasters societies are facing today, covering environmental, economic, geopolitical, societal and technological risks. Theories, methods and tools for analysing, modelling and accessing these risks and hazards will be discussed and evaluated in this journal.

GRF Davos’ e-Journal Planet@Risk shall become an innovative platform for knowledge and know-how sharing and for practical case studies thus contributing to a successful implementation of the integrative risk management approach. Planet@Risk shall contribute to bridging the gaps between science, practice, and different sectors in academia. It fosters a multidisciplinary approach, as it will in particular present results of inter- and trans-disciplinary research projects with a special focus on their applicability into practice. Being primarily focussed on the implementation of practical know-how, Planet@Risk is complementing our second initiative which we are realizing in close cooperation with ELSEVIER Publishing Company, the peer-reviewed and primarily science focussed “International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction” IJDRR.

Planet@Risk shall also serve as a mean for assessing ‘grey literature’, reports, case studies, and reviews. By swiftly collecting and pooling these different types of literature, the documents shall be easier findable, accessible and citable as part of an inter- and transdisciplinary knowledge pool for the risk reduction and disaster management community.

Grey literature may be defined as “a field in library and information science that deals with the production, distribution, and access to multiple document types produced on all levels of government, academics, business, and organization in electronic and print formats not controlled by commercial publishing i.e. where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body.” . Information from local knowledge, data, or studies referred to as grey literature has mostly not gone through a review process for scientific journal publication because the main purpose of the documents is not academic but action orientated. DRR therefore is subject to a vast variety of grey literature like policy statements, technical or project reports, government documents, annual reports, working papers, conference proceedings, diploma theses, brochures, audiovisual and online material, making it even more important for these documents to be accessible and assessed by a broad group of stakeholders strongly involved in risk and disaster management.

Planet@Risk shall also serve as a platform for “good practice” case studies, in particular addressing examples where science has provided guidance to successful implementation and has originated innovative solutions in DRR. Furthermore, many publications on successful practices are documented in other languages than in English, impeding easy and wide dissemination. Planet@Risk shall provide a platform to make these documents better accessible for the wide-spread, quite heterogeneous risk community.

To summarize, Planet@Risk shall serve as a platform for:

  • Bridging the gaps between science and practice to accelerate the transfer of scientific findings into good practice.
  • Promoting an inter and transdisciplinary approach, involving not only scholars in multiple disciplines (e.g. from engineering to social sciences, urban and land use planning to economics and finance), but also practitioners in the different fields, public policy makers at the national and community level, and community, NGO, IGO and UN- representatives.
  • Providing a platform to assess and agree on good practice examples for all types of environmental and natural hazards, man-made risks and disasters.
  • Assessing ‘grey literature’ on risk reduction and disaster risk management and thereby making it available in one location to facilitate access and citation of the documents.
  • Providing and facilitate a knowledge sharing pool for the risk reduction and disaster management communities.
  • Providing scientifically sound and approved material for white papers.

As an electronic and open access journal Planet@Risk has the advantage of providing quick publication possibilities and is freely accessible for everybody. Quality control and publication assessment is guaranteed through a short double review process by an international editorial board.

I would like to take this opportunity to heartily thank our sponsor, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Berne, Switzerland for their financial support to design and implement the concept for Planet@Risk, the Editorial Board members who secure the quality of the journal and last but not least the authors for their valuable work they share with us.

I wish you lots of enjoyment with our first issue of Planet@Risk!

Walter J. Ammann

Editor-in-Chief President/ CEO Global Risk Forum Global Risk Forum GRF Davos Promenade 35 CH-7270 Davos Platz Switzerland Email: info@planet-risk.org