Global risk analysis and reporting

Climate change, population growth, unsustainable consumption, biodiversity loss, ecological degradation, disease outbreaks, food insecurity, political instability and conflict, financial instability and inequality, are driving risk and increasing vulnerability in development and humanitarian contexts across the world. 

The shifting nature of risk requires a transition from treating hazards in isolation to recognizing the systemic nature of risk, where shocks often cascade and compound in complex ways with broad social, fiscal, economic and environmental implications. 

Disaster risk solutions must be better integrated across multiple sectors, taking explicit account of interdependencies, co-benefits, and trade-offs as countries and communities confront the complexities of our climate future.     

UNDRR aims to help its partners, through initiatives such as the Global Risk Assessment Framework (GRAF), to enhance their understanding of the changing nature of risk and to scale up and accelerate solutions for resilience. The program is: 

  • Strengthening access, analysis, and visualization of risk data 
  • Catalysing new knowledge for risk-informed Development and Humanitarian Action 
  • Providing technical support and developing innovative tools 
  • Influencing agenda setters and financing systems 

This work contributes to the achievement of the Sendai Priority Actions and builds on key recommendations and lessons learned set out in UNDRR’s Global Assessment Reports and related policy guidance.

Innovative solutions

Risk Information Exchange (RiX)

The RiX aggregates open-source information for sharing risk data among global and national end-users such as government ministries and departments, disaster management and civil protection agencies, sector planners, finance and investment officials, bilateral and multilateral organizations; NGOs and INGOs; researchers; and the private sector.  

The RiX does not duplicate existing risk and climate data, instead it aggregates risk information from traditionally siloed climate change, humanitarian and development networks and synthesizes data sources into a common platform accessible to all government, development and humanitarian actors. 

Supporting planning and fostering collaborations

UNDRR works with governments to bring together representatives from different ministries and departments to jointly review the risk information landscape and analyze inter-connected risks and cascading hazards. In 2022, training and capacity-building investments have been delivered in Costa Rica, Fiji, Guyana, Maldives, Somalia, Sudan, Trinidad & Tobago. Work is also ongoing to support strengthening risk understanding in Government Disaster Risk Reduction planning processes. 

Strengthening risk analysis for UN-coordinated planning processes

UNDRR is developing methods and capacities for joint analysis of inter-connected risk in Humanitarian Programme Cycle (HPC) and UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDSCF) processes. Upon request, UNDRR facilitates joint analysis of risk, determining risk reduction actions for priority hazards and developing planning scenarios. Working across the nexus, findings are used to inform the development of Humanitarian Needs Overviews and Common Country Assessments respectively. 

In 2022, HPC workshops were held in South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia and Niger. The outputs of each workshop are summarized in the risk chapter of the respective HNO (see HNO South Sudan p38-45; HNO Sudan p37-44; HNO Somalia p50-58; HNO Niger p37-41). CCAs updates were supported for Madagascar, Eswatini, Seychelles, Mauritius. For each of the countries RiX Spotlights, manually curated overviews of risk information were developed (see example Madagascar).

Downscaling INFORM

UNDRR is partnering with UNDP and JRC to establish a global support unit and create and maintain INFORM sub-national models in fragile countries to strengthen the capacity of local actors in collecting, analyzing, and applying risk data. In Bangladesh, UNDRR supported the downscaling of INFORM in 2021/22 to inform preparedness and anticipatory action.

Comprehensive Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Fiji (CRVAF) for Climate Change Adaptation in Fiji

UNDRR has supported the Fiji Government by providing Technical and advisory services to Ministry of Economy on Climate Resilience and Vulnerability Assessment Framework (CRVAF) to inform the relocation of up 15 vulnerable communities, including community hazard surveys, GIS/remote sensing. The Comprehensive Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Framework (CRVAF) is an integral part of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and will be used as a tool to identify and assess climate hazards, including their likelihood and impact as well as the exposure and vulnerability of at-risk communities, and to support decision-making on adaptation options, including the feasibility of planned relocations. More specifically, the CRVAF should enable: 

  • comparisons of the communities’ current and anticipated risks levels due to climate change 
  • identification of suitable relocation sites 
  • comparisons between the risk levels of the communities’ current locations and potential relocation sites 
  • identification and assessment of the effectiveness and suitability of different risk-reducing options, including relocation as a last resort 

 See the story map from UNOSAT.

Risk-sensitive financing Costa Rica

UNDRR is supporting the Government in the modelling of direct and cascading impacts of multi-hazard events on strategic sectors of priority to national authorities. In a first step, the risk data ecosystem was assessed at the country level to inform data availability for modelling of inter-connected and systemic risks. Building on this evidence-based fiscal risks are being analyzed and quantified to identify and recommend financial de-risking options. Lessons learned were shared at the Forum of Latin American and Caribbean countries on Sustainable Development 2022.

Global Crisis Databank

Complementing the Desinventar platform, UNDRR is collaborating with the IFRC and other partners on the development of a Global Crisis Databank. The lack of a centralized database and harmonized approaches to capture information on hazard, impact and response is inhibiting our ability to learn more from these events and anticipate and prepare for future crises. 
The Global Crisis Databank’s aim is to leverage observational data about past hazard events and their impacts to help inform preparedness, anticipatory action and risk management. The partnership is part of a broader information management system and is made publicly available via the IFRC Go Platform.

Specifically, the databank will enhance the understanding of spatial and temporal disaster trends, the impacts of climate change -- and other factors in observed and future disaster risk, extensive risks -- and how to reduce them, and seasonal risks.

Together these elements will support the validation and calibration of disaster risk/hazard impact models and the establishment of triggers for forecast-based financing and forecast-based action.

Read more on the IFCR GO blog and read the concept note.

Improving measurement of vulnerability to floods by matching historical flood data and impact

Complementing the work on the Global Crisis Databank, UNDRR is developing a quantitative model-based framework for assessing indicators used to measure human vulnerability to flood displacement. The project leverages the Global Flood Database (GFD) which links global flood events to geolocated data on displacement and mortality estimates for 913 events, in 169 countries, covering 15 years of records. It also leverages recent advancements in quantitative disaster-displacement risk modelling (ODDRIN) which has been previously applied for earthquake and cyclone risk modelling.  

Phase 2 of this project aims to help UNDRR, governments, development and humanitarian actors' understanding of flood displacement and explore multiple potential future scenarios in real-time. 

Diagnostic of risk data ecosystems

In collaboration with the OCHA Centre-for-Humanitarian Data, UNDRR participated in a diagnostic of the risk data ecosystems in HRP (Humanitarian Response Plans) countries. The results helped inform State of Humanitarian Data Report 2022 and provided the basis for a roadmap for UNDRR to support the scale-up of humanitarian action. The roadmap explores UNDRR’s added value to support advanced risk modelling, communicate risk findings, sharing of risk data, advocate for trigger development based on environmental and socio-economic data, link climate change and humanitarian community and the development of climate science translators.  

Understanding Systemic and Cascading Risks: Learnings from COVID-19

with the support from GIZ, UNDRR kicked off a study in early 2021 on lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic on the cascading and systemic nature of risks. The study focused on five countries to assess how the pandemic exacerbates risks, and what actions were taken to avert, minimize and address risks. The study provided recommendations for decision makers for prevention and risk management to reduce the impact of pandemics, especially in the most vulnerable. In doing so, the project also analysed how far COVID-19 affected progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and evaluated the role of social protection as a potential risk management approach. 

Guidance and Technical Resources

Towards a climate-risk data architecture: common and open risk metrics to align finance with climate-resilient development goals

Mobilizing finance needed for climate change adaptation and resilience requires a new climate-risk data architecture to provide globally consistent, open baseline datasets on climate risk and resilience metrics as a global public good. This discussion paper was prepared to showcase the need for – and the benefit of having – a globally consistent, open baseline dataset of climate risk and resilience metrics as a global public good to help mobilize finance for adaptation. The Glasgow Climate Pact agreed at COP26 included the call to double climate finance for adaptation.

Strengthening Risk Analysis for Humanitarian Planning: Integrating Disaster and Climate Risk in the Humanitarian Programme Cycle 

During the last decade, the costs of humanitarian appeals increased by 400%. According to OCHA’s financial tracking service, more than 50% of the costs for international humanitarian response could not be covered in 2021. Between 2030-2050, the impacts of climate change are anticipated to lead to skyrocketing humanitarian costs exceeding USD 20 billion per year. While around 50% of disaster impacts can be predicted with varying degrees of confidence, only a fraction of funding is dedicated to risk reduction and preparedness, underscoring the need for more risk-sensitive humanitarian planning and action. In the Pathway for Peace study, the United Nations and World Bank produced a business case to show that conflict prevention, besides saving millions of lives, is also economically beneficial: preventing outbreaks of violence would create net savings close to USD 5 billion per year. Similarly, a study commissioned by USAID looking at Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, Economics of Resilience to Drought, quantified the savings from earlier response: investing in more proactive responses to avert humanitarian crises could reduce the cost to international donors by 30%, as well as protecting billions of dollars of income and assets for those most affected.


  • Systemic Risk Assessment Reports for Eswatini, Costa Rica, Sudan and Somalia
    Working in collaboration with UNDRR’s national partners in each country, UNDRR will examine simultaneous, cascading and compound losses arising from priority hazard events identified by national partners in the last five years in each country, with a view to bringing more policy attention to these systemic level impacts. While each of these countries is regularly affected by a variety of hazards, they are also facing climatic events which pose threats to their societies, economies and the general well-being of their populations. Mapping and measuring multi-hazard and inter-connected risks constitute a critical input to effective disaster risk management; quantifying socio-economic effects beyond the first order impacts that often form the core of recovery efforts helps partners to avoid underestimating the cascading and systemic effects across multiple sectors. The assessment will improve knowledge about the fundamental physical, organizational, socio-economic, and systemic processes involved as shocks and disasters ripple across multiple sectors, with differential impacts across population groups. 
  • The Words into Action Guide on the Science-Policy-Society Ecosystem
    "The Words into Action Guide on the Science-Policy-Society Ecosystem aims to provide knowledge and practical guidance on how to create fertile conditions for a successful flow of knowledge and practice among science-policy–society stakeholders in relation to DRR. The guide highlights core aspects and challenges in fostering and developing these relationships by providing examples, case studies and effective practices. The guide's usefulness lies in showcasing how intrinsic and contextual factors might influence the effective uptake and use of scientific knowledge in DRR.”
  • Briefing note on hazard escalation and existential risk 
    The briefing note  explores the following questions:
    (1) which hazards and underlying drivers have the potential to provoke catastrophic or existential disasters, and how can these be differentiated and better defined?;
    (2) what are the characteristics of hazards capable of cascading into catastrophic and/or existential impacts? Under what conditions can their impacts escalate?;
    (3) what are the implications of this understanding for global and national hazard surveillance, preparedness and disaster risk reduction?
    The briefing note will contribute to UNDRR’s research and understanding of systemic risk. It will contribute to refinement and use of UNDRR-ISC Hazard Information Profiles (HIPS) and improved description and definition of hazards.
  • Special Report on Risk-informing the Sustainable Development Goals: Metrics and measures to build resilience in a changing climate  
    UNDRR’s GAR 2022 report highlighted that disaster risk is increasing and urgent action to prevent or reduce it will be fundamental to achieving the sustainable development goals (SDG) and Paris Agreement targets. (GAR 2022). Building on this premise the GAR Special Report 2023 aims to explore the question; what does risk-informed sustainable development look like in an increasingly complex and risky world?  At its core the report will make the case that risk-informing the sustainable development goals requires building resilience within and across sectors and SDG target areas, and explore what it requires for governments and societies to better understand how choices or inaction to promote social well-being (People), ecological well-being (Planet) and economic well-being (Prosperity) interact.   
  • Briefing note on cognitive decision-making
  • Risk Analytics for decision making (UNDRR / IDF)  
  • UNDRR Guidance on UNSDCFs and Common Country Assessments 
  • Update on WiA on Risk Assessment  
  • Guidance on Systemic Risk Assessment 
  • Voices Of The Displaced in Policy Formulation:
    Preparation Of Bangladesh National Action Plan On Internal Displacement 2022-2042 


This image shows students wearing masks and a motorcycle driving through flooded streets.
Breaking the cycle of risk
The planet is a network of interconnected systems, risk is complex. UNDRR wants to break the cycle of disaster > response > recovery > repeat.
What is the SF - header
What is Disaster Risk?
Disaster risk is expressed as the likelihood of loss of life, injury or destruction and damage from a disaster in a given period of time.

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