The 1990 initiation of the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction marked its 30th year in 2019. The three decades since then have seen significant developments in science and technology and their incorporation into the decision making in the field of disaster risk reduction. The disasters that have occurred during that time have enhanced the importance of the field, and new research and innovations have evolved. This article summarizes this evolution through the review of specific milestones. While the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 provides opportunities for synergies with the sustainable development agenda, the science and technology communities have also changed their roles from advisory to co-designing and co-delivering solutions. Higher education plays an important role in developing new generations of professionals, and the role of thematic incubation in higher education institutions is highlighted along with the development of the professional society in disaster risk reduction. The evolution from Society 4.0 (information age) to Society 5.0 will see an enhanced role of the technology-driven approach in disaster risk reduction, while traditional knowledge and indigenous technologies still remain valid for society. Scientists and science communities need to be more sensitive to changing the “last mile” concept to “first mile” thinking with respect to the users’ needs and perspectives.
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