Science for Disaster Risk Management: what are the priorities? Dr Nicola Ranger DFID, Research and Evidence Division Science underpins our commitment to increasing preparedness and resilience… The HERR in 2011 highlighted the need for HM Government to go beyond its historical focus on responding to crisis, toward a more anticipatory approach in its humanitarian work, with a greater investment in building the resilience of least developed countries. DFID committed to making resilience a core part of its approach in all country programmes A continuing theme throughout the HERR was the need to make better use of science in predicting and preparing for natural disasters and in informing investments in resilience. Humanitarian Evidence and Innovation Strategy Focus on four challenges… One: Decision-makers do not have routine access to good information about risk. Two: We don’t really know which interventions are most effective in reducing risk, saving lives and rebuilding livelihoods after crises. Three: The capacity to design and deliver humanitarian response and to build resilience is already stretched and will become increasingly overwhelmed Four: The right systems and incentives are not in place to ensure that evidence is available and used to inform decision-making. Reaffirming our commitment in 2014… WBG-IMF Spring Meetings Resilience Dialogue, 11th April 2014 “We urgently need larger, sustained investment in preparedness and resilience” Science and Innovation continues to play an important role, e.g.: “As humanitarian need grows it is clear we need to find new and innovative approaches, building a 21st Century approach to disasters” “For the most part, disasters are no longer the unexpected cataclysms of old. The science of predicting and understanding risk is getting better every day”. • Innovative early warning systems that improve communication and coordination for response • Monitoring systems to track disasters and their impacts • Detailed risk assessments 2012 Foresight report on Reducing Risks of Future Disasters: Priorities for Decision Makers identified significant opportunities for science to better support preparedness and response: e.g. • Higher resolution models, with the potential to increase the reliability of weather forecasting, will become widely available in the next 20 years • Satellite observing systems combined with improved models could significant improve flood risk assessment and warnings with the next 10 – 20 years • Drought forecasting is expected to mature, partly as a result of improved global observations What are the needs related to risk assessment and early warning systems? • Commissioned scoping study to better understand the needs and opportunities in three regions: South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean. • 5 month study led by HR Wallingford (with several partners) • Components: – – – – – Literature review Case studies (11 cases led by Practical Action) Online survey (~300 respondents from regions) Workshops (Caribbean, 3xEast Africa, London) Interviews (~30 in regions) Limited number contributors Subjective assessment of effectiveness • Subsequently followed-up with NERC workshop on scientific opportunities (focused on geophysical hazards) 1. Progress but not enough… Source: UNISDR 1. Progress but not enough… Flood UNISDR Progress reports may be optimistic, particularly concerning access to risk information at the local level and to vulnerable groups Drought 2. Heterogeneous needs… • Some shared needs – improved communications of information to most vulnerable groups and ‘science to action’ • Regionally differentiated needs, e.g. – Africa – flood/drought assessment and warnings – Asia – strong cyclone and flood risk. Weaker on drought and landslides – Caribbean – strong cyclone, weaker drought and flooding • Nationally specific needs – major differences in capacity (e.g. Haiti) • Community-specific needs – information does not reach most vulnerable Effectiveness of cyclone warning systems 3. The “last mile” is by far the longest… Sub-Saharan Africa South Asia Caribbean Considerable gaps in data availability and monitoring Gaps in science for drought & landslides, vulnerability & exposure Gaps in science for floods & droughts, vulnerability & exposure Some systems in place but major gaps, particularly for flooding Generally, systems in place for main hazards but some gaps Generally, systems in place for main hazards but some gaps Communication/ Dissemination Major gaps in communication to the most vulnerable Major gaps in communication to the most vulnerable Generally, systems in place for main hazards but some gaps Response Information (risk assessments and warnings) does not always lead to action Underpinning Science and Data Risk Assessment and Warnings Tools Information (risk assessments and warnings) does not always lead to action Information (risk assessments and warnings) does not always lead to action Humanitarian Evidence and Innovation Strategy Focus on four challenges… One: Decision-makers do not have routine access to good information about risk. Two: We don’t really know which interventions are most effective in reducing risk, saving lives and rebuilding livelihoods after crises. Three: The capacity to design and deliver humanitarian response and to build resilience is already stretched and will become increasingly overwhelmed Four: The right systems and incentives are not in place to ensure that evidence is available and used to inform decision-making. What do we need? • Co-production of risk assessments and warning systems with the intended beneficiaries – The right information, to the right people in the right way – Building trust in information (& the right messenger) – Challenge – how to scale-up effectively and efficiently? • Honest broker of risk assessment and warning systems – Robust, reliable and independent evaluation of systems and tools – Increased accessibility of information – Minimum standards • Better understanding the political economy (at all levels) – Better understand major institutional barriers to uptake of information and how these can be overcome; overcoming coordination issues Opportunities for science and innovation… • Next generation of remote sensing data offers opportunities to overcome data scarcity in some areas and enhance science (e.g. Earthquake risk assessment and new sentinel satellite) • Shift toward more open access data and models (UNISDR global risk model, Global Earthquake model etc.) • Innovation in seasonal and multi-annual forecasting could stretch warning lead times • Innovative sources data: crowdsourcing (e.g. open street map) • Big data opportunities (e.g. vast untapped data sources) Needs from science… • More open access data and models (filling the gaps) • More disaggregated vulnerability and exposure data (response capacity) • Making risk assessment more relevant: multihazard risk assessment, cascading hazards, indirect impacts • Greater inter-disciplinarily work – better understanding risk drivers e.g. climate variability and trends, food prices, political instability, etc. • Real-time risk monitoring - coupling risk assessment and monitoring/forecasting to produce real-time risk information • Long-term risk projections (risk is not stationary) Direct economic losses and fatalities in low and middle income countries. Source: Munich Re Need science to get better at articulating and demonstrating its value to decision makers The right science in the right way -co-production, end-to-end research, the right partners, building local capacity, relevance, honest broker…) What are we doing? • Humanitarian Innovation and Evidence Strategy (approx. £40m investment in research and evidence over 5 years), e.g. – Improving the application of risk modelling for disaster risk management – Pakistan (with GFDRR) – Building evidence base on risk to urban populations in developing countries (with ESRC) – Using risk models to evaluate the benefits of sovereign risk transfer (with the World Bank) – interesting work on risk models to evaluate humanitarian impacts • Scoping new programme: Science for Humanitarian Emergencies and Resilience (SHEAR) Challenge – How can we work better together?