Currently, a new generation of “climate science translators” (CSTs) is currently evolving, both as independent professionals and affiliated with humanitarian agencies. While people in this role represent an opportunity to foster communication and collaboration between climate science, applications, policy and decision making, there are neither clear job profiles, nor established criteria for success. This needs to change if we want to be ready for a globalized world with all its advantages and disadvantages. Capacity building needs to be at the core of every research- or data-driven project. A paragraph about capacity building just to get a proposal funded is not enough.
Working for SOS Children’s Villages International, who run nearly 600 projects in 135 countries, as Disaster Risk Management Coordinator I concentrated mainly on strategic development, disaster preparedness via new technologies, the translation of early warnings into early action and capacity building with a focus on climate services. Together with DHL we adapted an incredible global near-real time alerting system that covers street-level incidents just like events on sub-continental scales. DHL published an article about our collaboration on their logistics of things platform. What I will definitely remember from our pilot studies is the gap between the risk perception of communities at risk and quantitative risk profiles. This is not only just interesting. From a disaster risk reduction perspective it simply does not make much sense to protect people against any kind of hazard without involving them, particularly not if they consider other hazards more relevant.