CARISMAND - Culture And RISk management in Man-made And Natural Disasters


Period:  10/2015 – 09/2018
Status:  Finished
Contacts:  Alexandra Tsvetkova

CARISMAND is devoted to the role of culture and risk management in natural and man-made disasters. The project studies issues related to the level of preparedness, types of reactions in case of disasters, post-event recovery, and the role of the individual and group cultural characteristics in these issues. Culture, in this context, defined as assemblage specific characteristics of a group of people which spread from attitudes, values, language, history, religion and literature to cuisine, social habits, music, and art. Cultural factors are important in the way people react in events of crisis, participate in handling those events, and receive humanitarian aid. Such factors could negatively affect the efforts to provide professional help due to a lack of understanding by the competent actors and the specifics in the cultural expectations among the affected societies. The project focuses on risk as a non-objective category developed under social and cultural factors. Therefore, taking into account these local cultural differences in the disaster management process would result in more effective efforts as well as societies better prepared for disaster reaction.

CARISMAND aims to identify the cultural factors of influence and the existing gaps and opportunities in the current policies and procedures in disaster management. The project also has the objective to develop a set of measures designed in accordance with the cultural factors of influence and thus support stakeholders’ efforts in disaster management. These aims will be achieved first through identification of the gaps and relations between disaster management, cultural characteristics, and risk perceptions through a wide-range multidisciplinary perspective. Then a feedback loop between the disaster management stakeholders and the citizens will be developed. The purpose is to develop, practically test, and clearly formulate best practices of considering the cultural factors of influence. The project’s approach is based on research of both natural, man-made, and technical disasters with focus on the risk perception aspects and in the context of cultural factors. The approach is illustrated through research questions concerning whether disasters are caused intentionally or not, the level of “visibility” of hazards, the various time scales of each disaster, and other aspects.

The project is funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme, Call H2020-DRS-2014: “Disaster-Resilience: Safeguarding and Securing Society, Including Adapting to Climate Change”, Ethical/Societal Dimension topic 2: “Better Understanding the Links Between Culture, Risk Perception and Disaster Management”.

LIBRe Foundation participates in the project with 21 other partner organizations from 11 different countries.

The foundation’s team coordinates the activities covering dissemination and communication with stakeholders, as well as event organization within Work Package 10 ‘Dissemination, Communication, Event Management’. The Foundation is also an active participant in the organization of meetings between citizens and experts and takes part in all other work packages.