Tag Archives: disaster risk reduction

Defensive approaches to extreme weather

The problem:
Extreme weather such as floods, droughts and heatwaves has huge human and economic costs at present. The problem is set to get worse not only due to climate change but also because of projected demographic changes such as a growing and aging global population, increasingly located in areas exposed to extreme weather.

Key facts/ messages:
– Combining scenarios of demographic change with predicted climate change demonstrates that people and their assets will be increasingly exposed to extreme weather over coming decades.
– There are a range of defensive options that can reduce the impact of extreme weather on people.
– While engineering options such as sea walls tend to be the most effective, ecosystem-based options can be more affordable and have positive additional benefits. Hybrid options can combine the advantages of both.

Read the full brief and share your comments:
https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/6734141-Mace-Defensive%20approaches%20to%20extreme%20weather.pdf

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Disaster risk reduction: a cross-cutting necessity in the SDGs

The year 2015 presents an unparalleled opportunity to align landmark UN agreements through the convergence of three global policy frameworks: the post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (March 2015), The Sustainable Development Goals (September 2015; SDGs) and the Climate Change Agreements (December 2015: COP21). These major global policy instruments need to align urgently to facilitate and encourage better participation in disaster risk reduction (DRR), sustainable development and climate-change mitigation and adaptation from the science and technology communities.

Implicit in the SDGs, is the conviction that health is not just a matter of biology but also a product of societal architecture and is, therefore, amenable to human intervention – an approach with a large body of evidence behind it. Similarly, disasters are not natural events. They are endogenous to society and disaster risk arises when hazards interact with the environmental, social, physical and economic vulnerabilities and exposure of populations. Thus, the overall focus of disaster risk management has to shift from shielding social and economic development against what are seen as external events and shocks, to one of transforming development in order to accept and manage risks, as well as to strengthen resilience, thereby enabling development that is sustainable.

Read the full brief and share your comments:
https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/6724139-Aitsi-Selmi-DRR_A%20cross-cutting%20necessity%20in%20the%20SDGs.pdf

Disaster Risk Governance: The essential linkage between DRR and SDGs

The issue of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) is intimately linked to Governance model used by states to implement a comprehensive strategy to manage such risks and undertake integrated management. Depending on the chosen Governance model, the DRR circle can be either virtuous or vicious. At this moment when decennial appraisal of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) is taking place and looking for better strategies, the first results are mixed about the effectiveness of selected governance. Fortunately, as we shall see below, interesting and successful examples exist.

The Governance concept has undergone some trends in the last years and knows some nuances according to different authors. However, a more comprehensive approach of this concept can be stated. For the Canadian Institute on Governance (IOG), “Governance is a straightforward process, akin to a steersman in a boat. (…) Governance is complicated by the fact that it involves multiple actors, not a single helmsman. These multiple actors are the organization’s stakeholders (…) Decision makers are then accountable to those same stakeholders for the organization’s output and the process of producing it.” (IOG, 20151)

The same philosophy is included within the UNDP definition, which states “Governance is the exercise of political, economic and administrative authority in the management of a country’s affairs at all levels. It comprises mechanisms, processes and institutions through which citizens and groups articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations and mediate their differences.
Governance encompasses, but also transcends, government. It encompasses all relevant groups, including the private sector and civil society organizations.” (UNDP, 2010)

This more comprehensive approach to governance is found particularly in the field of Disaster Risk Governance.

Read the full brief and share your comments:
https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/6719138-Meerpoel-The%20essential%20linkage%20between%20DRR%20and%20SDGs.pdf

Loss Data Underpinning Disaster Risk Reduction

At present, our understanding of appropriate long-term disaster risk management is limited by the lack of in-depth knowledge on the impacts of disasters. In this regard, recording disaster impacts at detailed level is crucial for informed decision making, using methodologies that allow aggregation over space and in time. Scientific approaches for record disaster losses consistently and accurately are essential to move from undependable evidence driven mainly by media coverage to more systematic and proven datasets on disaster impacts. New partnerships between science and DRR actors are enabling just this.

Disaster loss data recording is the mechanism that links the science of risk assessment to the policy making for reducing disaster risks. Loss data collections are useful, for identifying trends and patterns in the data over time sand for tracking relationships between development and disaster risk (IFRC, 2005). As evidenced in the Global Assessment Report (GAR), loss data, recorded in national and global disaster databases are increasingly being used within risk modelling platforms to guide the decision-making processes of DRR (ISDR, 2013). When combined with ancillary data such as disaster risk
management expenditures or demographic information (Gall et al., 2015), disaster loss data are essential indicators on the relevance of DRR policies in a broader context of development and climate change.

This note discusses the relevance of disaster loss data for evidence based policy in DRR and the main application domains of loss data within the European Union (EU) Member States.

Read the full brief and share your comments:
https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/6714137-Corbane-Loss%20Data%20Underpinning%20Disaster%20Risk%20Reduction.pdf

Monitoring disaster risk reduction targets: the example of INFORM

Disaster risk consists of three elements: hazard, exposure and vulnerability. Risk can be reduced by controlling the frequency and intensity of hazards (e.g. flood protection, slope stabilization), reducing or limiting exposure (e.g. urban planning, urbanization policy, room for rivers to flood in unexposed areas) and reducing vulnerability (e.g. early warning, seismic building codes, contingency and response plans, evacuation). Further, to avoid disasters, society must build resilience to recover quickly after a hazard, mainly through effective response, reduced poverty, risk financing (public or private) and other coping mechanisms.

Accurate measurement of a complex phenomenon as risk is a non-trivial task. Because of its many dimensions, different stakeholders can perceive risk differently. One person’s loss can be another ones gain. Some communities express risk in terms of loss of life and others in financial numbers. Besides this conceptual uncertainty, the various components are not easy to quantify and involve scientific disciplines ranging from natural sciences to social sciences. Due to their nature, some risks can’t be compared on the same scale (e.g. earthquake risk versus droughts).

Nevertheless, there is a need to create multi-hazard risk metrics based on scientific evidence to inform disaster risk reduction policy. One tool that has been used to integrate information from different disciplines and communities is a composite indicator.

This note discusses the opportunities, challenges and strengths of composite indicators to measure progress in disaster risk reduction, and in particular the experience of a recently developed Index for Risk Management – INFORM.

Read the full brief and share your comments:
https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/6709136-Groeve-Monitoring%20disaster%20risk%20reduction%20targets_INFORM.pdf

Adaptation and resilience in the face of climate change: protecting the conditions of emergence through good governance

Super wicked problems such as global climate change (Levin et al. 2012) and the extensive subsequent changes to the environment, biodiversity and human economies cannot be tackled with the usual disciplinary approaches that have long been the basis for policy making. Problems in social and environmental planning tend to become wicked because their causes are complex and subject to different interpretations according cultural values and beliefs. Consequently there are no objectively definable solutions to wicked problems and disagreement on what might be done to address a problem may be profound. In the case of climate change, the problem is super wicked because of the urgent need for solutions, lack of a central decisionmaking authority, and those responsible for solving the problem are also creating it.

The concept of resilience in complex adaptive social-ecological systems (SES) provides a relatively novel way of thinking about change at all scale levels from the local to the global. It enables people to develop strategies that either enhances the resilience of an existing system, so that it can absorb and recover from disturbance like fire, floods and disease outbreaks, or deliberately transforms the system into a new state that is better able to meet long term human needs. A SES resilience perspective recognizes that change in all biological systems (including all forms of human organization) begin with the very small and grows upwards.

This brief describes resilience concepts and argues that they provide a foundation for the development of adaptation policies based on a relatively simple model of the drivers and feedbacks that define the change process at work in a system. It also makes some suggestions on how national policies might support the growth of resilience and adaptive capacity for coping with climate change.

Read the brief and share your comments below:
https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/6579124-Vasseur-Adaptation%20and%20resilience%20in%20the%20face%20of%20climate%20change.pdf

Disaster Reduction Through Risk Targets

This contribution seeks to provide some replies with respect to seismic risk to the following questions:

· How can science contribute to evidence-based target level setting on disaster risk reduction?
· How can policy-makers use findings from disaster risk scenarios?
· What are the emerging solutions that science can provide to address disaster risk?

Read the full brief and share your comments below:
https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/641995-Douglas_Disaster%20Reduction%20Through%20Risk%20Targets.pdf

Managing water variability, from floods to droughts

If people are prepared, they are much more resilient to natural disasters. Knowing the global hotspots of flood and drought risk, and quantifying the level of risk for individual locations, can ensure local inhabitants are as well equipped as possible to handle the worst climate-related events that come their way.

Click on the below link to read the full brief and share your comments.
https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/629976-Smakhtin-Managing%20water%20variability,%20from%20floods%20to%20droughts.pdf

Transforming disaster risk reduction for more inclusive, equitable and sustainable development

This article highlights three key areas in which efforts to reduce the underlying causes of vulnerability and drivers of risk to environmental hazards need to be improved in order to create more inclusive, equitable and sustainable development: 1) the role of context and culture in creating risk, 2) the need to better link disaster risk reduction (DRR), climate change adaptation (adaptation) and development, and 3) the enabling of transformative change.

Read the full brief below and share your comments
https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/616462-thomalla%20et%20al%20-%20transforming%20disaster%20risk%20reduction%20for%20more%20inclusive%20equitable%20sd.pdf