Towards a new generation disaster tracking system

Source(s)
UNDRR Bonn Office
Bonn technical forum
The view from the platform at UNDRR's Technical Expert Forum 2022 on 'Tracking of hazardous events and disaster losses and damages' in Bonn
Tejas Tamobhid Patnaik/UNDRR

BONN – 29 November 2022: Experts from some 40 countries gathered in Bonn today to improve understanding of disaster losses and damages following agreement at COP27 to scale up support for vulnerable countries struggling to cope with extreme weather due to climate change.

Opening the two-day Technical Expert Forum, Loretta Hieber Girardet, UNDRR Chief of Risk Knowledge, Monitoring and Capacity Development Branch, highlighted the need for ‘a better understanding of how much we are losing, especially at the local level. We need to have an efficient and systematic system of recording such localised losses and damages – to both understand the evidence of impact of the climate emergency, and to benchmark our progress in mitigating and adapting to climate change and reducing the risk of disasters.’

Ms. Hieber-Girardet said that the Forum will be ‘very helpful in taking stock of our collective progress in measuring disaster impacts, developing a shared understanding of gaps and challenges, and design of a roadmap to track losses and damages at all scales.’

She added that the Forum was a demonstration of the collective effort of UNDRR, UNDP and WMO to ‘shape and design a new generation disaster losses and damages and hazardous event tracking system.’

Setting the scene, Mr. James Douris, scientific adviser, World Meteorological Organization, said that the know-how exists to provide good analysis of disaster-related data and to provide good risk information but there was a need for internationally accepted standards and systematic recording of hazardous events in ways that people understand so that there is interoperable storage of data and information.

Mr. Rajesh Sharma, UNDP’s DRR and Resilience Advisor, also highlighted the importance of government leadership. If disaster data systems are to operate smoothly and effectively there needs to be government ownership. He also stressed the need for data collection to be tailored to both national and local requirements.

A succession of country and disaster management agency representatives gave presentations throughout the day highlighting their achievements in data collection and management but most of the focus was on the challenges.

Ms. Valentina Grigoryan, Armenia, highlighted the lack of modern hydro-met data analysis and user-friendly digital access to weather forecast and risk information.

Mr. Anwar Baksh, Trinidad and Tobago, which is currently experiencing heavy floods, highlighted the need to break down silos across sectors in the collection of disaster data and to establish a National Working Group on Disaster Risk Information. The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management look forward to the delivery of the UNDRR sponsored Risk Information Exchange (RiX) which will help to list existing risk data and analyses across multiple hazards.

Ms. Sally Rimon, Kiribati, said the country was now doing its mid-term review of Sendai Framework implementation but faced the challenge of adopting a multi-sectoral approach while ensuring the consistency of data collection. 

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