Standard approach: The EU wants to systematically record disaster losses across the Union such as this flood damage in a village in Romania.
GENEVA, 16 January 2014 –
A comprehensive study has outlined the path towards a standardized European approach to systematically record and manage disaster loss databases.
The report, titled ‘Recording Disaster Losses: Recommendations for a European approach’, is in response to the European Union’s desire to find a mechanism to record systematically disaster losses and provide European loss data to international initiatives so that global trends can be charted.
“Risk assessment requires accurate recording of previous disasters and in particular the associated losses in terms of human casualties, property and environment damage as well as economic loss,” the report says.
As part of the European Union’s (EU) disaster prevention framework, the study recommends a conceptual approach based on three areas: disaster loss accounting, disaster forensics, and risk modeling.
First, a thorough system to account for disaster losses would enable trends to be documented and statistics aggregated to inform local, national and international disaster risk reduction programmes.
Second, better forensics would enable lessons to be learnt by measuring the relative contribution of exposure, vulnerability, coping capacity, mitigation and response to the cause of disasters.
And third, loss data would help calibrate and validate risk assessment and forecast models so that vulnerabilities can be better inferred.
The study’s recommended conceptual model takes account of existing EU policies and the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015, which includes a priority of action to identify, assess and monitor disaster risks.
The EU’s ambition is to record loss data locally and to manage records on an EU-wide basis. Recording losses at regional and national level and managing them globally would ensure coherence with other international databases.
The study analyzed the scale and the scope of existing loss databases and weighed up the appropriateness of a European approach taking stock of international experiences and EU laws.
The Directorate General Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection of the European Commission tasked the EU’s Joint Research Centre to present recommendations for a European approach to standardize loss databases.
The three-month study represents a preliminary step that needs significant follow-up, including the establishment of a forum to build consensus on the exact approach to be taken by member states.