Culture and disaster risk management - stakeholder attitudes during Stakeholder Assembly in Lisbon, Portugal

Sandra Appleby-Arnold, Noellie Brockdorff

Research output: Book/ReportBook


This report provides a summary of the topics discussed and the results of the third CARISMAND Stakeholder Assembly conducted in Lisbon, Portugal on 27-28 February 2018. In order to promote cross-sectional knowledge transfer and gather a variety of attitudes and perceptions, as in the first and second CARISMAND Stakeholder Assemblies held in Romania and Italy in the previous years, the audience consisted of a wide range of practitioners who are typically involved in disaster management, e.g., civil protection, the emergency services, paramedics, nurses, environmental protection, Red Cross, firefighters, military, and the police. Further, these practitioners were from several regions in Portugal, including the island of Madeira. The 40 participants were recruited via invitations sent to various Portuguese organisations and institutions, and via direct contacts of the Civil Protection Department in Lisbon which is one of the partners in the CARISMAND consortium. The event consisted of a mix of presentations and discussion groups to combine dissemination with information gathering (for the detailed schedule/programme see Appendix 1). Furthermore, this third Stakeholder Assembly was organised and specifically designed to discuss and collect feedback on a comprehensive set of recommendations for disaster practitioners, which will form one of the core elements of the CARISMAND Work Package 9 ‘Toolkit’. These recommendations, which have all been formulated on the basis of Work Packages 2-10 results, were structured in four, main “sets”: 1. Approaches to ethnicity in disaster management; 2. Culturally aware disaster-related training activities; 3. Cultural factors in disaster communication, with the sub-sets: a. Cultural values and emotions; (cross-)cultural symbols; “physical” aides and methods; b. Involvement of cultural leaders; involvement of specific groups; usage of social media and mobile phone apps; and 4. Improving trust, improving disaster management. In an initial general assembly, the event started with presentations of the CARISMAND project and its main goals and concepts, including the concept of culture adopted by CARISMAND, and the planned CARISMAND Toolkit architecture and functionalities. These were followed by a detailed presentation of the first of the above mentioned sets of recommendations for practitioners. Then, participants of the Stakeholder Assembly were split into small groups in separate breakout rooms, where they discussed and provided feedback to the presented recommendations. Over the course of the 2-day event, this procedure was followed for all four sets of recommendations. To follow the cyclical design of CARISMAND events, and wherever meaningful and possible, the respective Toolkit recommendations for practitioners provided also the basis for a respective “shadow” recommendation for citizens which will be discussed accordingly in the last round of CARISMAND Citizen Summits (Citizen Summit 5 in Lisbon, and Citizen Summit 6 in Utrecht) in 2018. The location of the Third Stakeholder Assembly was selected to make use of the extensive local professional network of the Civil Protection Department in Lisbon, but also due to Portugal being a traditional “melting pot” where, over more than a millennium, people from different cultural backgrounds and local/ethnical origins (in particular Africa, South America, and Europe) have lived both alongside and together. All documents related to the Working Groups, i.e. discussion guidelines and consent forms, were translated into Portuguese. Accordingly, all presentations, as well as the group discussions were held in Portuguese, aiming to avoid any language/education-related access restrictions, and allowing participating practitioners to respond intuitively and discuss freely in their native language. For this purpose, simultaneous interpreters and professional local moderators were contracted via a local market research agency (EquaçãoLógica), which also provided the basic data analysis of all Working Group discussions and an independent qualitative evaluation of all recommendations presented in the event. The results of this analysis and evaluation will demonstrate that most recommendations were seen by the participating practitioners to be relevant and useful. In particular, those recommendations related to the use of cultural symbols and the potential of mobile phone apps and/or social media were perceived as stimulating and thought-provoking. Some recommendations were felt to be less relevant in the specific Portuguese context, but accepted as useful in other locations; a very small number was perceived to be better addressed to policy makers rather than practitioners. These and all other suggestions for improvement of the presented CARISMAND Toolkit recommendations for practitioners have been taken up and will be outlined in the final chapter of this report.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018


  • emergency management
  • disaster relief
  • civil defense readiness


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