Digital maturity for disaster risk reduction

Source(s): UNDRR Bonn Office
Bonn technical forum
From left: Animesh Kumar, head of UNDDR's Bonn Office, Sanny Jegillos, Senior Officer, UNDP; Loretta Hieber Girardet, Chief, Risk Knowledge Branch, UNDRR; Rajesh Sharma, in Bonn where a new report on data and digital maturity for DRR was launched this week.

BONN, 30 November, 2022: A new report launched by UNDP and UNDRR is intended to boost the development of a new state-of-the-art disaster losses and damages tracking system.

‘Data and digital maturity for disaster risk reduction: Informing the next generation of disaster loss and damage databases’ provides a detailed assessment of national disaster loss databases in a representative sample of 13 countries and is a collaboration between UNDP and UNDRR.

‘Failures in governance are the biggest single factor in driving disaster risk alongside climate change, poverty, and poor urban planning. This new report provides the evidence that the new disaster losses and damages tracking system will serve as a timely initiative which will motivate governments to make robust national disaster loss data bases an integral part of risk governance,’ said Loretta Hieber Girardet, Chief, Risk Knowledge, Monitoring and Capacity Development Branch.

The report’s findings have been further confirmed by over 100 experts from some 40 UN Member States and international organisations meeting over two days this week in a Technical Forum in Bonn to address challenges in ‘Tracking of hazardous events and disaster losses and damage.’

Among the challenges listed by experts meeting in Bonn were limited capacity to collect accurate data at local level; no shared model for reporting losses; separate data bases for separate hazards, not understanding systemic risk; difficult to collect disaggregated data by gender, age and disability.

Speaking at the Bonn report launch, UNDP’s DPP and Resilience Advisor, Rajesh Sharma, said: ‘Efforts are now starting to develop a new generation disaster loss accounting system which will improve on Desenventar which has been in use since 1994.

‘UNDP will collaborate with UNDRR and other partners to provide an adaptive tool in data management, hazardous event monitoring and analytics which will provide a better understanding of the cascading impacts of disaster risk.’

Head of UNDRR’s Bonn Office, Dr. Animesh Kumar, said: ‘The initiative to develop a next generation hazardous event and disaster losses and damages tracking system will greatly improve the quality of information needed to benchmark successes, or failures, in managing disaster risk and adapting to a changing climate.

‘The report offers some key lessons to guide the next generation of disaster losses and damages tracking system by contextualising technical assistance to the data and digital maturity level of a country. These include the importance of government leadership, decentralisation, global standards adapted to varying degrees of data and digital maturity. The ultimate goal is to create a digital ecosystem that supports data-driven decision-making, actionable information, facilitates collaboration and effective management of disaster risk.’

The report follows on a new initiative by UNDRR to develop and pilot a new Risk Information Exchange (RiX) platform for all UN Member States who have adopted the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

If no reliable in-country repository of datasets exists, RiX is intended to be a key resource listing existing risk data and analyses across multiple hazards at country level and to support national disaster management authorities in identifying relevant initiatives and datasets on hazards, exposure and vulnerability, and historical losses and damages from shocks and disasters.

RiX includes data that can be filtered by all these components and support forward looking analysis at a time when climate change is proving to be catastrophic for many vulnerable countries. It is also intended to strengthen humanitarian planning.

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