21 June 2019

Striking a Balance: Centralising and Decentralising Disaster Management through New Technologies

Executive Summary

In December 2017 the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies at RSIS identified four policy balances that must be struck when using emerging technologies in humanitarian operations. This report specifically explores how to balance the potential of emerging technologies to strengthen centralised disaster management against their ability to decentralise capacity, which could increase the autonomy of affected communities to directly manage their own risks. It presents two principal findings. First, investigating the potential for emerging technologies to decentralise elements of disaster management is under prioritised. Second, while both globally and locally oriented innovators are exploring some possibilities for decentralisation, they do so quite differently. The report offers a series of policy recommendations based on these two findings.

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