Risk information is everybody's business. Here is why it is a whole-of-society effort

More risk data is produced every day. However, new findings often don't make it out of the scientific silos to the broader public. In the face of false information, it is essential to find new ways of making risk information accessible to everyone.

  • Risk information should provide scientifically sound information, tailored to the everyday concerns of society.
  • Science, private sector, governments, and media need to understand each other’s interests and qualities.
  • A whole-of-society approach calls for all parties to communicate clearly and listen carefully.

Different stakeholders may have different priorities and angles around risk . For example, public leaders may prefer a responsive angle on manifested disasters for strategic reasons, while private developers may not want to stress risks to prevent them from raising a lot of attention.

Establishing collaboration requires dialogues between institutions. This is easily hindered by unclear distribution of responsibilities or language and jargon barriers.

5 ways to enable an all-of-society approach

To create a holistic conversation around risk, stakeholders need to develop strategies for closer collaboration. Here are five enablers that support these dialogues and facilitate effective communication:

1. Building trust

People are willing to collaborate on risk communication when strong relationships are in place. Long-standing partnerships between universities and municipalities, for example, benefit from knowing each other's objectives and differences to build trust and understand each other’s priorities.

2. Clear communication

Clear communication is key when bringing together the private sector, governments, and civil society. Only when all parties understand the different risk scenarios and risk reduction options, can they develop solutions that serve the community. "Knowledge brokers", knowledgeable in various fields, can play an important role in "translating" across sectors and aligning conversations.

3. Financing innovative collaborations

Informative, unbiased risk communication requires independent funding for thorough research and reviewing. Finance for collaboration on risk communication is increasingly important, at a time when independent media are financially constrained by the economic downturn.

4. Understanding each other's needs

Effective collaboration with the media and creative sectors is enabled if all parties understand each other’s needs. For instance, scientists who approach media with interesting stories, written in simple language, show an understanding of media timeframes and requirements. RSuch stories can give insight into how DRR issues affect audiences' everyday lives.

5. Creating incentives

Collaborations can flourish if they clearly benefit all practitioners and rule out reasons for mistrust. Hence, underlining the proactive position of risk communication and the increase in credibility are among the most important steps.

Political figures as well as scientists benefit from early on communication, rewarding them with greater credibility and confidence.

Incentives targeting the private sector may aim at openly informing the greater public about potential risks and in return tailoring their products to meet the consumers' needs.

Within the media and creative sectors, creative and engaging programming that helps audiences feel informed and empowered to act can attract other stakeholders.

Risk communication that serves society

Risk communication should support informed decision-making. Available data needs to be translated into information and actionable knowledge.

Therefore, practitioners of diverse backgrounds need to find new ways of collaboration that highlight shared perspectives, bring together visions, and foster creativity.

Disaster risk is ultimately linked to people's everyday lives and therefore can be explored through a wide range of programming and formats. This is where all stakeholders come together; in providing scientifically sound information, tailored to the everyday concerns of society.

[Source: UNDRR]

Forest fires: €170 million to reinforce rescEU fleet

Following a record-breaking forest fire season in Europe, the Commission is proposing today €170 million from the EU budget to reinforce its rescEU ground and aerial assets  starting from the summer of 2023. The rescEU transitional fleet would therefore have a total of 22 planes, 4 helicopters as well as more pre-positioned ground teams. As from 2025, the fleet would be further reinforced through an accelerated procurement of airplanes and helicopters.

Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič said: "Due to climate change the number of regions affected by wildfires is increasing, going beyond the traditionally affected Mediterranean countries. The last summers have clearly shown that more firefighting assets are needed at EU-level. By building up our fleet of aerial means and ground forces, the EU will be able to ensure a prompt, flexible response, including in situations where fires are burning in multiple Member States at the same time.”

Commissioner for Budget and Administration, Johannes Hahn said: “While the record-breaking forest fires this summer may have been overshadowed by other crises, today's proposal to reinforce rescEU shows that the EU budget will continue to support those in need. European solidarity across EU Member States remains strong and we are ready to support this solidarity with financial means.”

Wildfires in the EU are increasing in scope, frequency, and intensity. By 1 October, the data for 2022 reveal a 30% increase in the burnt area over the previous worst year recorded (2017) and a more than 170% increase over the average burnt area since EU-level recording started in 2006.

This season, the Emergency Response Coordination Centre  received 11 requests for assistance for forest fires. 33 planes and 8 helicopters were deployed across Europe via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, which were joined by over 350 firefighters on the ground. In addition, the EU's emergency Copernicus satellite provided damage assessment maps of the affected areas.

Makati City becomes the second Resilience Hub in Asia-Pacific

The City of Makati in the Philippines is named as the second Resilience Hub of Making Cities Resilient 2030 (MCR2030) in the Asia-Pacific region on 27 September 2022.

Makati has already been recognized as a Role Model City of the MCR 2010-2020 initiative by sharing know-how and experiences for reducing disaster risk, building urban resilience with other cities and participating in regional forums.

Under the leadership of Mayor Mar-len Abigail S. Binay, the city has adopted the principle of “Resilience is everybody’s business” at all sectors of society to manage disasters and build urban resilience in the country.

“We’re committed to continuing the journey of advocating resilience as a way of life through a Resilience Hub by collaborating with our constituents, partners and other local government units,” said Ms. Binay.

The Chief of the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific at the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), Mr. Marco Toscano-Rivalta, congratulated the Mayor, the City of Makati and its people for their vision and determination to continue strengthening disaster resilience and supporting other cities along the resilience pathway.

“Disaster risk is local, and it is at the local level where leadership, partnerships and solutions make a difference. MCR2030 is a catalyst for local action, a platform for collaboration and sharing of knowledge to localize disaster risk management and the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction,” said Mr. Toscano-Rivalta.

Makati, also known as a financial hub of the country, has developed a three-year plan of the Resilience Hub, which focuses on creating and building an online knowledge portal. The portal’s objective is to enhance peer-to-peer support, and disseminate risk data, information and expertise by conducting workshops, seminars and events related to strengthening urban resilience towards disaster risk reduction.

The plan also aims to improve city-to-city cooperation by working with other local governments in the Asia Pacific Region and beyond, promote synergies between cities to learn from each other and other disaster risk reduction activities, including capacity building, disaster preparedness, response and prevention.

The city is also in the process of developing the Makati Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Academy to learn from its best practices, using case studies and knowledge bases from other cities, leveraging experiences from an international group of practitioners who already participated in the initiative.

Notably, the city has continually mainstreamed and institutionalized disaster risk reduction management across all levels of the city since signing up to the MCR campaign in 2010.

As one of the pilot cities applying MCR tools, Makati held multi-sectoral annual workshops, reviewed and reassessed the city’s progress in implementing the Ten Essentials for MCR2030 through the Local Government Self-Assessment Tool.

The city was one of the first municipalities to utilize the Disaster Resilience Scorecard for Cities, which was developed through then UNISDR’s collaboration with global technology companies such as IBM and AECOM.

In 2017, the city established a resilience roadmap called the Makati Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan, using the now adapted Disaster Resilience Scorecard. Makati used Disaster Resilience Scorecard for Cities - Public Health System Resilience Addendum to enhance the city’s disaster risk reduction management.

NSA, CISA: How Cyber Actors Compromise OT/ICS and How to Defend Against It

The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) published a Cybersecurity Advisory that highlights the steps malicious actors have commonly followed to compromise operational technology (OT)/industrial control system (ICS) assets and provides recommendations on how to defend against them.

“Control System Defense: Know the Opponent” notes the increasing threats to OT and ICS assets that operate, control, and monitor day-to-day critical infrastructure and industrial processes. OT/ICS designs are publicly available, as are a wealth of tools to exploit IT and OT systems.

Cyber actors, including advanced persistent threat (APT) groups, have targeted OT/ICS systems in recent years to achieve political gains, economic advantages, and possibly to execute destructive effects. Recently, they’ve developed tools for scanning, compromising, and controlling targeted OT devices.

“Owners and operators of these systems need to fully understand the threats coming from state-sponsored actors and cybercriminals to best defend against them,” said Michael Dransfield, NSA Control Systems Defense Expert. “We’re exposing the malicious actors’ playbook so that we can harden our systems and prevent their next attempt.”

This joint Cybersecurity Advisory builds on previous NSA and CISA guidance to stop malicious ICS activity and reduce OT exposure. Noting that traditional approaches to securing OT/ICS do not adequately address threats to these systems, NSA and CISA examine the tactics, techniques, and procedures cyber actors employ so that owners and operators can prioritize hardening actions for OT/ICS.

Defenders should employ the mitigations listed in this advisory to limit unauthorized access, lock down tools and data flows, and deny malicious actors from achieving their desired effects.

EU-funded project supports stress testing of Tajikistan’s disaster risk management system

Experts from the National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction of Tajikistan, international and local organizations, and representatives of business and academia participated in a stress testing workshop of Tajikistan’s disaster risk management (DRM) system against the most impactful disaster scenarios in the country. The workshop was funded by the European Union (EU) and organized by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) within the joint project on disaster risk reduction in Central Asia.

Tajikistan’s Committee of Emergency Situations & Civil Defense and UNDRR concluded a comprehensive DRM system capacity assessment and planning exercise, which revealed major needs and challenges in the system and suggested a targeted plan of action to strengthen the disaster risk reduction (DRR) policy implementation in the country.

As the next step of the process, the EU-UNDRR project supported the National Platform to conduct a stress test analysis - a scenario-based multi-stakeholder assessment process to evaluate the state of national capabilities to reduce, absorb and transfer disaster risk and develop a targeted action plan to further support the strengthening of the DRM system. During the meeting, participants developed disaster scenarios for Tajikistan based on relevant sources, and prioritized required DRM system capacities against the disaster scenarios.

Over the past years, Tajikistan has made significant progress in increasing its capacity in DRM and in the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. As part of the work towards reducing disaster risks, Tajikistan has developed and adopted the National Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction in 2019, its implementation is guided by the National Platform for DRR. However, the increasing challenges posed by climate change and the rapid change of the global hazard trends may create strong stress for the DRM system of the country.

CREWS commits additional funding to strengthen Early Warning Systems in the Caribbean

Different and multiple hazards, such as severe weather conditions in land and at sea, droughts, hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes, pose a serious threat to the Caribbean, which is one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world. Combined, geological and hydro-meteorological hazards have affected more than 100 million people in the region, causing significant economic losses and casualties.

The development of Early Warning Systems has been identified by the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Paris Agreement as a key pathway to prevent disasters and reduce the negative impacts of multiple hazards.

As defined by the UNDRR, Multi-hazard Early Warning Systems are "an integrated system of hazard monitoring, forecasting and prediction, disaster risk assessment, communication and preparedness activities systems and processes that enables individuals, communities, governments, businesses and others to take timely action to reduce disaster risks in advance of hazardous events".

The Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems Initiative (CREWS) is a mechanism that provides financial support to Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to establish risk-informed early warning services, implemented by three partners, based on clear operational procedures. CREWS has recently donated an additional $1 million to support the project Strengthening Hydro-Meteorological and Early Warning Services in the Caribbean , which will be implemented by UNDRR in 2022.

The project aims to strengthen Early Warning Services (EWS) in the Caribbean and to articulate the response capacity of individuals, institutions, and communities through the development of a regional strategy to strengthen and streamline early warning and hydro-meteorological services. This includes developing appropriate approaches to risk-informed decision-making for EWS, identifying gaps in risk assessment at regional and national levels, and evaluating the resilience of already existing infrastructure such as forecasting centres, shelters, and National Meteorological and Hydrological Services. The project will also examine opportunities for building partnerships with the private sector and assess socio-economic benefits to ensure the sustainability of investments and activities.

This project aligns with the Sendai Framework and focuses on the implementation of target G, which aims to “substantially increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments to people by 2030”. The Sendai 7 campaign of the 2022 International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction will be focusing on this same target. Ensuring access to Multi -hazard Early Warning Systems in the Caribbean is regarded as a tool that enables individuals, communities, governments, businesses, and other stakeholders to take timely action to reduce disaster risk in advance of hazardous events.

This is also a matter of urgency, as disclosed in the Regional Assessment Report on Disaster Risk in Latin America and the Caribbean (RAR21), published last year: “In the short and medium term the occurrence of new mega-disasters in the region is almost inevitable given the extreme risk embedded there. It is therefore urgent to strengthen corrective and reactive management capabilities, especially early warning systems, preparedness and response.”

Landmark IPCC report must be wake-up call for greater investment in disaster risk reduction

Following the release of the IPCC Working Group II Report on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, issued the following statement:

The findings of the latest IPCC report are dire. Communities around the world are being affected by climate change at a magnitude worse than expected. The devastating impacts of climate disasters are affecting every part of the world.

As the UN Secretary-General António Guterres said today “The IPCC report is an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership.”

Many of the changes are at risk of becoming irreversible. On our current trajectory, the world is set to breach the 1.5 °C safe global temperature limit by the early 2030s, spiralling to dangerous levels of disaster risk. Almost half the human population is already in the danger zone

It is incomprehensible that we knowingly continue to sow the seeds of our own destruction, despite the science and evidence that we are turning our only home into an uninhabitable hell for millions of people.

Based on current trends, a record increase in medium and large-scale disasters is expected with droughts doubling, and extreme temperature events almost tripling to 2030. Overall, disaster events have doubled in the last 20 years compared to the previous 20 years. If countries and governments do not manage it properly and respond to the climate emergency with urgency, there’s a very real chance that we’ll see them double again.

Yet the world also has an opportunity to meet these challenges. At the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Bali, Indonesia this May, organised by the UN and hosted by Indonesia, leaders will gather to discuss how to accelerate action for reducing these risks.

The IPCC report points to many solutions on improving regional and local information, providing sound data and knowledge for decision makers. This does work. Countries have succeeded in saving many lives through improved early warning systems and preparedness.

But climate disasters will undoubtedly worsen. There are very low levels of investments in disaster prevention and disaster risk reduction for the world’s most vulnerable countries on the front lines of impacts. We need to ramp up investment in disaster prevention if we are to cope with the exponential rise of disaster events in recent decades.

A crucial recommendation in the report today is the need for climate-resilient development – inclusive governance that embeds finance and actions across governance levels, sectors and timeframes.

Furthermore, all countries are impacted by climate change, but not in the same way. The most vulnerable communities and nations are the hardest hit, and need greater support on climate finance to adaptation and to avert, minimize and address losses and damages. This means increasing financing for climate change adaptation from tens to hundreds of million dollars.

We need to ensure that regulations and funding take into account disaster risk and that climate risk in financial markets is disclosed. Governments need to make disaster resilience a priority through dedicated funding to prevention.

International Code Council resources help prepare for safety and recovery as Atlantic hurricane season begins

The International Code Council is committed to helping communities stay safe in the midst of hurricanes and tropical cyclones as June marks the beginning of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season and preparing for natural disaster safety and recovery is a top priority.
All levels of government and the private sector must work together to ensure communities are safe and resilient from devastating natural disasters. Throughout hurricane season, the International Code Council is dedicated to helping communities stay safe in their homes, workplaces and neighborhoods.
The Code Council and its members are ready to help through the Disaster Response Alliance. Local and state jurisdictions in the U.S. as well as federal agencies may also contact the Disaster Response Alliance for help to reach skilled professionals who volunteer to assist jurisdictions that request aid with building damage assessment, building inspections and other code-related functions in disaster areas. Code Council members also assist devastated communities with post-disaster building plans reviews, inspections and permit operations through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC).
“The momentum and awareness we’ve raised during Building Safety Month about the importance of disaster mitigation and building code adoption continues as we enter this year’s hurricane season,” said Code Council CEO Dominic Sims, CBO. “Code officials play an integral role in preparing communities for natural disasters and in navigating recovery after a devastating event. The Code Council and its members are ready to help protect our communities.”
The Code Council, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and state and local officials will host a webinar on the implementation of FEMA’s new disaster recovery policy for code enforcement and administration. This new policy offers building officials and communities an effective way to access many of the resources needed to effectively administer and enforce building codes and floodplain management ordinances for up to 180 days following a major disaster declaration. Register for this free webinar to learn about more about this important new policy, including what activities are eligible and how to apply for reimbursement.
Resources to help prepare for hurricane season:
- Seasonal Hurricane Predictions
- FEMA: Hurricane Safety
- Building Safety Month Week 4: Disaster Preparedness
- Visit the Code Council’s Hurricane Safety & Recovery page to access more useful links and resources to help prepare for hurricane season.

European Parliamentarians set out to strengthen disaster resilience

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) Regional Office for Europe and UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Ms. Mami Mizutori, together with Members of the European Parliament Ms. Sirpa Pietikäinen, Ms. Lídia Pereira and Ms. Monica Silvana Gonzalez, held a discussion on building greater resilience in Europe and beyond.

Members of the European Parliament play a key role in leading the change towards a resilient future in the face of growing climate impacts felt worldwide. This is important as the latest figures show that in the last 20 years both the number of recorded disasters and resulting economic losses almost doubled. The discussion highlighted the urgent need to invest in prevention to save lives and looked at how the EU is actively implementing the Sendai Framework priorities.

MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen highlighted that comparing the cost of investing in disaster risk reduction (DRR) to that of inaction is crucial to understand the importance of investing in prevention. A science-based approach should be adopted when it comes to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (Sendai Framework).

MEP Lídia Pereira emphasised that economic growth needs to address climate adaptation and disaster resilience. Infrastructure investments in particular need to be resilient. With the $80 trillion to be invested in infrastructure globally, the investments must go through a robust screening process to ensure they are disaster resilient.

MEP Monica Silvana Gonzalez underlined that people and communities can better resist disasters if the risk of their occurrence and vulnerabilities to impacts are reduced, a point she stresses in her report on the impacts of climate change on vulnerable populations in developing countries. She further noted that a greater commitment to the Sendai Framework is necessary and that it is important to look at how EU resources can be better invested in disaster risk reduction.

MEP Dragoș Pîslaru, from his point of view as rapporteur of the EU recovery instrument to COVID 19 (Recovery and Resilient Facility), reflected that the Sendai Framework is important for recovery policies and noted that it is important to cooperate to make sure we are better prepared in the future.

Ms. Mami Mizutori, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for DRR, emphasized that now is the moment when we can put words into action, to build a more resilient future, so that every decision you make in forming policies and investing are risk-informed and have a “think resilience” approach. The participating Members of the European Parliament all expressed support to continue this momentum and work together towards building a more resilient future.

Governments call for more public and private investment in disaster prevention and risk reduction

Member States gathered virtually to adopt the Outcome Document of the 2021 Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Forum on Financing for Development. This year’s outcome document provides indispensable intergovernmental policy guidance to countries on financing for disaster risk reduction and risk-informed investing.
For the first time at the ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development, Governments recognise the systemic nature of risk and the need to strengthen the understanding of risk in economic and financial planning across all sectors and at all levels. There is a clear call to redress the balance from investing in response towards investing in prevention and risk reduction. Risk-sensitive public investment planning; the consideration of risk in land use planning; risk-sharing mechanisms that create an enabling environment for public-private partnerships; and diagnostics for infrastructure investments that include resilience and climate change adaptation are some of the policy options identified to accelerate financing for disaster risk reduction.
To support these efforts, national and regional development banks and international financial institutions are invited to integrate disaster risk reduction and resilience into COVID-19 economic recovery strategies. The outcome document also breaks new ground in recognizing the need to strengthen the resilience of the financial system through systematically integrating climate, environmental and disaster risks into global risk monitoring to inform future decision making.
Application of this intergovernmental policy guidance at national level will undoubtedly bring significant benefit to the implementation of national and disaster risk reduction strategies. It can also support coherence between financing for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation and ensure that the financing for the Sustainable Development Goals and COVID-19 socioeconomic recovery strategies build resilience and reduce the risk of future disasters.
Deliberations at the Forum, which ran from 12 to 15 April, were guided by the 2021 Financing for Sustainable Development Report. This year’s report includes a dedicated chapter that provides guidance to ministries of finance and planning to integrate disaster risk reduction into their policy decisions. During the forum, UNDRR, in partnership with UNDESA and the Co-Chairs of the Group of Friends for Disaster Risk Reduction, organized a side event titled “Financing for Disaster Risk Reduction and a Risk-Informed Approach to Investing Across the SDGs”. The event brought together a variety of development finance practitioners from government and the private sector to discuss the comprehensive approach needed to finance disaster risk reduction and capitalize on public sector policy-setting and private sector innovation.
In her opening remarks, Ms. Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, stated that “the current approach to funding disaster risk reduction is not keeping pace with the exponential rise of disaster risk” and called for “a paradigm shift in political attitudes towards financing for disaster risk reduction especially in places that are largely unprotected from the ravages of the climate emergency and the threat of biological hazards”. Mr. Shaun Tarbuk, Chief Executive of the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation, announced an upcoming report with UNDRR titled “From protection to prevention: the role of cooperative and mutual insurance in disaster risk reduction”.
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