Greetings and a warm welcome to the fall issue of HazNet.
Sadly, the year 2017 has secured a place for itself in the record books—and in the minds of people around the world—as among the most disaster affected years in memory. For disaster practitioners and researchers, it’s unlikely to be forgotten anytime soon.
It’s appropriate then, that this fall 2017 issue focuses on “Building Back Better”, the theme of the Eighth Annual National Roundtable on Disaster Risk Reduction and First Joint Meeting with Canada’s Climate Change Adaptation Platform. Bridging these two arenas of policy and practice is a much needed first step toward building resilience across professional sectors and governance silos. Leadership at the political, staff and citizen levels will play a key role in this process. As highlighted by Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development Julie Gelfand in audit released in October 2017, stronger leadership is urgently needed for Canada to move beyond its “endless” planning: “It’s time for change. The federal government needs to start doing the hard work to turn this latest broad framework into tangible and measurable actions.” Within the 19 departments and agencies examined by the audit, only five had fully assessed risks and taken steps to address climate change. The other 14, including Public Safety Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada had taken “little or no action” to address climate risks. Moving this agenda forward and communicating to Canadians in a transparent, accountable and accessible way will be key. The spring and fall issues of HazNet highlight innovation in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation practice and the gaps remaining to increase resilience.