Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)

Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)

Young people have a significant role to play in engaging in DRR planning at all levels, driving innovation and acting as the communicators and translators of new technology to the needs of the most vulnerable. The DRR team have three objectives in line with the WYN Mission and objectives:


  1. Promote networking, knowledge sharing and collaboration among young practitioners and researchers within and across generations, on water-related DRR;


  1. Collate, share and support innovative youth-led initiatives from local to global levels on water-related DRR;


  1. Support meaningful, science-informed youth engagement in water and DRR related policy design, implementation, monitoring and review through the UN Major Group of Children and Youth (link).


Figure 1: WYN DRR Team Objectives


Networking, knowledge sharing and collaboration

The WYN DRR team organised and collaborated on various networking, outreach and knowledge sharing events and sessions in 2017 including:

  • Future Earth Emergent Risks and Extreme Events, Knowledge Action Network, Tokyo, Nov 2017 – see more info here.
  • Strengthening DRR across the Americas – Regional Summit on the contribution of Earth observation, Argentina, Aug 2017 – read about WYN activities here.  
  • Interactive workshop in Integrated Flood Risk Management, UN MGCY Youth Forum, Global Platform on DRR, Cancun, May 2017 – see details here.
  • Capacity Building Workshop – Seeds for a Safer Tomorrow Toolkit, UN MGCY Youth Forum, Global Platform on DRR – see webinar and toolkit here.
  • Youth engagement at the International Conference on Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems – see details here including poster and publication.
  • Young Scientists session at the United Kingdom Alliance for Disaster Research (UKADR) conference, London, Jan 2017.
  • Creative Disasters Networking Event with RADIX, London, Dec 2017 – read more here (link coming soon).  

Furthermore we support youth led scientific research and publications which share our knowledge to a wider audience. For example leading a collaborative publication on The Power of Networks  (link), contributions to the UN MGCY Science Policy Interface Publications – Urban Edition and DRR Edition (link), a poster at the MIT Water Summit 2016 (link), and a book chapter on DRR including Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) (link).


Supporting innovative youth led initiatives

We strive to collate existing youth initiatives and give them the recognition and support they deserve through our interactive YouKnow platform.

We have supported the following competitions that give young people opportunities to share and further their innovative ideas:

  • Global competition for youth led projects: Flood and Drought Special , see further information about the winners here.
  • Youth for Water and Climate, Global Water Partnership COP 22, see further information here.  
  • Urban Deltas competition for Habitat III, see further information here.  

The team has also supported local capacity building workshops on DRR, see example here for a workshop on flood and drought risk management conducted by Water for Life Cameroon

We also support youth led research projects at the local level. Read about the research conducted on the impacts of the El Nino in Kenya here.


Support meaningful, science-informed youth engagement in water and DRR related policy

The WYN DRR team have engaged in numerous policy related events and activities in connection with the United Nations Major Group of Children and Youth (UN MGCY).

  • WYN DRR team member acted as the co-chair of the UN MGCY Youth Forum at the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction organising committee  – see final report here and video here .  
  • Youth island at GSTIG 2018 Connecting technological innovation to decision making for sustainability – read more about WYNs engagement here.
  • The WYN acted as one of the co-chairs of the Children and Youth Forum at the 3rd UN World Conference on DRR, see UN MGCY report here and journal publication here.
  • Supported establishing the UN MGCY Young Scientists Platform on DRR to enable stronger engagement of young scientists in DRR policy implementation, monitoring and review, see concept note here and young scientists roadmap here, launched at the UNISDR Science and Technology Conference.
  • WYN organised a youth consultation to support the HABITAT III process for the New Urban Agenda  and a session on DRR and CCA during the Children and Youth Assembly of the HABITAT III Conference for Sustainable Urban Development (link).

Furthermore WYN has engaged in the Conference on Youth (COY 13) in Bonn – read more about our session on ‘Youth actions for combating climate change and water challenges’ here.


DRR Coordinator

Lydia Cumiskey

Lydia was born and bred in a small town in Ireland called Ballinamore. She developed a keen interest in water through her Civil Engineering degree at University College Dublin and went on to study Flood Risk Management (FRM) led by IHE-Delft, The Netherlands in 2011. After falling in love with Bangladesh and Flood Early Warning Systems she went on to work with Deltares as a Disaster Risk Management (DRM) advisor. While writing her thesis in 2013 she came across the Water Youth Network and quickly got engaged to funnel her creative energy into something that can help lots of other youth interested in FRM and DRM around the world. After acting as the co-chair for the Children and Youth Forum at the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, Sendai, Japan 2015 with the UN Major Group for Children and Youth, she went on to establish the DRR team within the WYN. She loves coordinating such a positive, energetic and proactive team of young professionals who are always ready to find the next opportunity to build capacity, share knowledge and motivate other young professionals. After three years working at Deltares she decided to take a big step to leave beautiful Delft behind and head to London to peruse a PhD on integrated FRM at The Flood Hazard Research Centre. Be it in her PhD or the WYN, Lydia is always striving to glue elements of science, policy and practice together. Aside from WYN and PhD life Lydia loves making cards, sewing, hiking and going home to Ballinamore!

Her LinkedIn profile can be found here and her email address is l.cumiskey@wateryouthnetwork.org



DRR Co-coordinator

Robert Šakić

Robert was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and since then lived and studied in Croatia, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Slovenia, before settling down (for now) in the UK, where he is a PhD student and Hydro Nation Scholar of the Scottish Government at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, studying the interplay between local knowledge and disaster risk reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa. By educational background, Robert is an engineer (MEng Civil Engineering, MSc Flood Risk Management) ‘gone’ social scientist in his PhD. Throughout his education, he researched karst hydrology, flood resilience in urban areas, risk governance and community-based disaster risk reduction. Robert’s professional ambition is to couple his engineering skills with appreciation for social sciences and break the silos between different scientific and practical field. He sees WYN as a platform for likeminded enthusiasts that still dream to change the world, and was an active member since 2015. When he is not doing his PhD or co-coordinating the DRR working group, Robert loves to travel, read, laugh and dream big.

His LinkedIn profile can be found here and his email address is r.sakic@wateryouthnetwork.org



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