D7.4 Final project report

Executive summary

Achieving societal resilience in the face of disasters and crises requires a better involvement of the population. When a disaster strikes, members of the population provide resources and information that contribute in critical ways to the response to and recovery from the event. Their involvement nonetheless introduces new risks and uncertainties in an already complex situation. Project ENGAGE is focused on improving the interactions between formal and informal actors in disaster management. Its primary objective is to make solutions to improve these interactions more effectively known and usable by authorities and emergency organizations. By “solutions”, we mean technologies, methods, guidelines, strategies or approaches, etc. Our main way of achieving this objective was to develop a publicly available catalogue in which solutions used successfully around the world are organized and presented in great details to facilitate their identification, selection and use by stakeholders. 

This deliverable provides an overview of the project ENGAGE and its main outcomes, referring the interested readers to more specific resources (websites, deliverables) for further reading. The document is primarily addressed to an external audience, practitioners, researchers and policymakers interested in disaster management and societal resilience, especially in relation to the participation of the population to these topics. 

After an overview of the project itself (societal relevance, objectives, path taken for the development of its main technical results), the document describes the main results, which are aimed primarily at the formal actors of disaster management (authorities, emergency organizations and NGOs). 

Based on literature review, interviews, surveys and extensive analysis of cases, the first outcome of the project is the knowledge generated about the contribution of the population to disaster management, as well as the identification of needs and requirements to enhance this contribution. This knowledge constituted the basis for a theoretical model of societal resilience. Informed by this knowledge, the main outcome of the project is the Catalogue of Solutions, a resource aimed at providing inspiration and guidance to authorities and emergency organizations. The CoS is embedded in the Knowledge Platform, which provides additional informational resources that enrich the catalogue, such as a list of informal solutions that emerged primarily from citizens’ initiatives. In parallel, the project explored the use of AI in the development of an emergency communication chatbot. The chatbot developed is a functional prototype that instantiates a comprehensive blueprint informed by extensive literature review and expert input. 

These results were developed through the involvement of a variety of stakeholders beyond the project partners, especially members of the KI-CoP (Knowledge Innovation Community of Practice), through increasingly realistic validation activities. The document provides some elements about the main validation activities (four exercises) and results, and some lessons learned about the involvement of stakeholders (including citizens) in the project. 

The document concludes with some reflections on limitations and achievements of the project, paving the way for future work. The project results highlighted in this report are the result of 3.5 years of work carried out by 15 partners across Europe, representing many countries and fields of research and practice.