Risk management is inspired by the anticipated reduction of losses (human and material) that natural hazards may cause in the future. It is a policy by means of which the possibility of losses is identified, analysed and quatified, and at the same time measures of prevention, mitigation, reduction and retention or transfer of risk can be proposed and executed.
Considering these poor results, it seems reasonable to ask why the historical memory is lacking and why risk management performance is so deficient in many countires that are so frequently and intesely affected by natural hazards. Perhaps a part of the answer lies in the fact that, so far, the scientific community has been incapable of generating awareness in decision-makers, of provideng them with tools to address their politiacal arguments in a convincing way towards establishing public policies, and in incorporating risk management in public-private investments and planning.
- the degree of exposure to hazards
- the degree of fragility (inverse of resilience) of the elements exposed
- the social-economic value of possible losses
- the alterations to the human quality of life (deaths, injuries, trauma, forceful displacements, etc)
- the impact on environmental-natural goods, services and functions.
The first step that the scientific community should take is learning the language of political decision-makers and private investors. The goals of this pursuit can be to: (1) orientate and influence decision-makers to incorporate risk management in national development planning, public policies and investment processes; (2) foster interest in, and awareness and appropriation of the topic, so that national leaders leaders and entrepreneurs will commit themselves to the actions of risk management
The means of achieving such a strategy should take into account the following: (1) understanding the idiosyncrasy of decision-makers and adapting the technical content of information and action proposals; (2) presenting the message in an attractive way, making it profitable from the managerial and political standpoints; (3) highlighting the advantages of preventive vision, as well as the responsibilities acquired by inaction; (4) making clear that it will not be acceptable to plead ignorance, considering the present information available; (5) underlining the fact that development and reduction of vulnerability are two inseparable processes.