Update: Pictures and The Antalya Statement from the Expert Forum 2015
A conference on “Why Lessons Matter”. The Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in a Changing Climate: Lessons Learned about Lessons Learned Forum was held in Antalya, Turkey the 10th – 13th of February 2015.
Disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) communities have separate missions with overlapping objectives, though they operate at different time scales. They share the overarching goal of creating resilient societies in the face of changing climate and environmental conditions. By bridging, better yet blending, their overlapping activities they can help to reinforce each other by improving the efficiency and effectiveness more quickly and more sustainably of the outcomes of their projects and programs. Such benefits can be gained by sharing their methodologies and lessons identified and by working to integrate, where beneficial, their activities at the different time and space scales at which they operate.
Various studies of hazards and disasters undertaken over decades contain direct or indirect references to lessons that had previously been identified but had apparently not yet been implemented only to be “re-discovered” following the next disaster. This activity questions why similar lessons tend to reappear following the occurrence of disasters. Are there good reasons for not learning from past experiences? Where do lessons come from and does that make a difference with regard to their potential “re-usability” by future decision makers? Can organizations learn?
Questions such as these must be addressed, if collecting lessons from experience is to continue to be considered valuable to the DRR and the CCA decision-making processes. Have we been looking in the right direction when it comes to DRR “lessons learned”? is the missing aspect a needed focus on management of “lessons identified”? Management guru Peter Drucker made the following relevant observation that applies to Lessons drawn from specific hazards and disasters: “Knowledge, especially advanced knowledge, is always specialized….By itself it produces nothing.” Lessons not stored, re-used or shared, one could argue runs the risk of producing nothing of value for the long term.
This conference was convened to look at lessons learned about lessons learned about hydro-meteorological DRR and CCA. The conference was not a scientific conference about the science of hydro-meteorological hazards. It was more about the usability of the lessons identified from scientific and societal findings related to disaster risk reduction and a changing climate. It was held at Antalya, Turkey, 10-13 February, 2015.