Putting science to work for resilience

Participants engaged in the first GRAF Expert Group meeting in Geneva
 
By Jeanette Elsworth

GENEVA, 14 June 2018 – Experts from across multiple sectors and global regions met this week in Geneva over two days to brainstorm ideas for an open user platform that will help communities and decision makers more easily apply their understanding of risk to generate better targeted solutions for resilience.

The group of 32 included representatives from science, big data, technical modelling and the insurance industry as well as special interest groups such as youth, to hone the vision for the Global Risk Assessment Framework (GRAF), which will be developed over the coming months.

In her opening remarks, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mami Mizutori, summarized the overall objective of the project.

“GRAF is an opportunity to bring all our combined expertise and energy together to transform the way decisions are made, to better understand systems’ impact, to manage and reduce existing risk, and to mobilize finance and investment,” said Ms. Mizutori.

Participants agreed that a user-centric, co-development approach was necessary to generate a truly interactive platform driven by the needs of the communities it serves, from national or local government to cities, towns and villages.

John Schneider, from the GEM (Global Earthquake Model) Foundation, said that it was vital that that the framework supported implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the global plan to reduce disaster losses, while pulling in experiences from around the globe. “We need the GRAF to amplify the work of all the partners in this field”, he said.

At the same time, Claire Souch of the Insurance Development Forum spoke of the framework “bridging the gap between creators and end users” to create communities and “webs of participants” as opposed to passive users of the information.

While practical issues on the GRAF’s development, such as governance and methodologies, were debated, participants agreed unanimously with the overarching vision of the project – to accelerate the shift from response to prevention; an idea that is fundamental to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

“In this day of technology and knowledge, why are losses from disasters continuing to rise at a faster rate than economic growth and GDP?” said Ian Burton, University of Toronto.

The GRAF will be introduced as part of the 2019 Global Assessment Report for Disaster Risk Reduction, published by UNISDR every two years, and launched in Geneva at the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in May 2019.

The Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction 2018, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 3-6 July 2018 The Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction 2018, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 3-6 July 2018.
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