Maximilian S.T. Wanner defends his thesis on 15 September


Maximilian S.T. Wanner defends his thesis Change and Progress in Disaster Risk Reduction on 15 September at 10:15.

Maximilian S.T, Wanner, photo Mikael Wallerstedt

The external reviewer is Andreas Duit, Department of Political Science, Stockholm University.

The members of the examining committee are Associate Professor Evangelia Petridou, Risk and Crisis Research Centre, Mid Sweden University, Associate Professor Nina von Uexkull, Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University and Professor Sten Widmalm, Department of Government, Uppsala University (chair of the public defence).

Most welcome to Brusewitzsalen, Östra Ågatan 19, Uppsala!

The defense is also viewable through Zoom at:

Change and Progress in Disaster Risk Reduction 

Maximilian S.T. Wanner.

Over the last decades, extreme temperature, droughts, large wildfires, storms, heavy rainfalls, and extensive flooding have hit countries all over the world. Consequently, governments and authorities need to change and adapt their efforts, policies, and legal frameworks for disaster risk reduction (DRR).

In the wake of disasters, research and public discourse often focus on what went wrong and what could have been done better. In turn, opportunities to learn from positive experiences are often overlooked. This dissertation broadens the focus to consider progress and positive DRR cases. It sets out to document to what extent and how countries have been able to change and strengthen preparedness and DRR efforts.

This work shows a positive global trend where countries have indeed made significant progress to strengthen disaster risk reduction capacities. Meanwhile, a few countries are showing a lack thereof.

The dissertation identifies several factors that can spark change and support progress in enhancing DRR in countries around the world. For example, countries perform better when there is continuous leadership, that is, when an authority or even influential individual actors push and support DRR over an extended period. Whether citizens can voice concerns, participate in politics, and influence policy also matters – particularly in cases where large parts of the population are affected by disasters. Furthermore, countries tend to strengthen their efforts when disasters cause significant economic damage.

One implication of this work is that in order to improve disaster preparedness and reduce disaster risk, countries can gain from enabling leadership and creating space for citizens to speak up and influence policy-making. More preparatory work can also be undertaken to identify new avenues and measures for enhancing disaster risk reduction. This collection of ideas is important to have at the ready for implementation when all eyes are on risk reduction once again in the wake of disasters.

A takeaway from this work is that new knowledge can be gained by learning from cases of change and progress, particularly in countries and contexts where progress is least expected. 

Find out More about Maximilian S.T. Wanner here

Full-text available on DiVA Open Access

Public Defences

Last modified: 2023-11-23