This Sustainability Special Issue seeks to bridge the gap between uncertainty research and sustainable disaster risk management in order to identify and address how uncertainty must be considered in disaster preparedness measures. Papers are currently sought from a wide range of different academic fields and contexts. Submission deadline is 31 October 2019. 

In disasters, research has identified the importance of a sustainable approach to disaster risk management that considers pre-disaster recovery planning and considers how decisions made during the response and recovery to a disaster can actually enhance preparedness for future disasters, considering all hazards. However, these decisions, and the expected impacts of these decisions, are often subject to high levels of uncertainty. This Special Issue, seeks to bridge the gap between uncertainty research and sustainable disaster risk management in order to identify and address how uncertainty must be considered in disaster preparedness measures.

The influence of uncertainty in all phases of a disaster or crisis is increasingly being recognized as an area where research is needed. Issues requiring attention range from uncertainty in technical risk assessments to uncertainty in communication, decision-making, inter-agency relationships, leadership, community relationships, ethical expectations, and expected individual or group behaviors. This brief overview highlights the multi-disciplinary nature of this field of study and the consequent need for inter-disciplinarity in both the research on the role of uncertainty and how it translates into practice. A key goal of this Special Issue is to call for contributions from cognate disciplines. It will consider empirical research studies, theoretical papers, case studies, and other contributions that advance the understanding of uncertainty in a sustainable disaster risk reduction (DRR) and recovery context. Contributions from a wide range of different academic fields including (but not limited to) natural hazards, engineering sciences, science and technology studies, ethics and philosophy, policy science, sociology, psychology, and anthropology are welcome. The editorial process will contribute to integrating diverse perspectives to identify potential areas for future collaborative transdisciplinary research.

The editors welcome papers that address topics including, but not limited to:

  • How uncertainty should be considered in technical risk assessment, mitigation, response, and recovery planning (including the Sendai Framework).
  • The role and management of uncertainty in sustainability frameworks (including the Sustainable Development Goals).
  • Approaches to considering and addressing uncertainty and decision-making at the individual, community, and national levels.
  • Ethical considerations around uncertainty in disaster and sustainability research and practice.
  • Indigenous perspectives of uncertainty in risk, planning, and decision-making.
  • How education and training for leadership building and decision-making can build capacity and capability for uncertainty.
  • The influence of uncertainty on relationships and communications, particularly participatory and engagement approaches; and how to manage or cope with that uncertainty.
  • Other topics that bridge between uncertainty, risk, disasters, and sustainability.

Guest Editors

Dr. Emma Hudson-Doyle
Prof. Douglas Paton
Prof. David Johnston

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles, as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed, open access, semi-monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is CHF 1700 (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well-formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during.

Submission deadline: 31 October 2019

More information. 

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