authority in domestic and international spheres?). Strategic decision-making needs to be cognizant of local priorities, risks and scope for adaptation. Empowering local actors - community groups or local government - needs to be undertaken within a framework that links the local to the national and global. Providing institutional frameworks for timely information flow between international-level scientists and individuals having to cope with environmental risk amidst global change is perhaps the core challenge for natural disasters studies over the medium term. Disasters specialists are not alone in this endeavour and it dovetails into calls for revision of global/local systems of environmental governance and for reform of the relationship between political institutions and private sector actors (for example, in the WTO).
There is great scope for academic researchers, activists and policy-makers to feed into this ongoing process of disaster-development integration. The four themes identified in this concluding section offer potential starting points for academic contributions, with political ecology and complexity theory being well placed to provide theoretical and methodological frameworks. Of course it is likely that there are many more ways in which analyses of social and environmental change in the context of global flows and local contexts can inform disaster studies, and we hope that this book might at least contribute to debate from which new directions of analysis and policy will emerge.