New tool measures disaster losses

Saturday 7 April 2018 | Published in Environment


New tool measures disaster losses
Charles Carlson (left) and Muraai Herman (right) work for Emergency Management Cook Islands. The pair attended an introductory training course for the Sendai Framework Monitor in Suva, Fiji earlier this month. 18032818

An online tool has been launched by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The Sendai Framework Monitor (SFM) was launched in the Pacific at the beginning of this month. The framework monitor is a five-year, voluntary, non-binding agreement which recognises that governments have a primary role to play in reducing disaster risk. However, it also notes that this responsibility should be shared with other stakeholders, including those from the private sector.

“The monitoring and reporting (of disasters) is always a very time consuming process and hopefully having this new online tool in place for measuring disaster losses will help ease the process across all sectors” says Emergency Management Cook Islands director Charles Carlson.

The SFM aims to collect comprehensive data on disaster losses from 10 countries around the Pacific, including the Cook Islands.

It focuses on the adoption of measures which address the dimensions of disaster risk. These dimensions include the amount of exposure to hazards, vulnerability, capacity, and the characterisation of risks.

Carlson says that despite the challenges, reporting is a critical process for informing policymakers, improving coordination efforts, preparedness, and most importantly making better informed decisions.

It is hoped that the SFM will help to prevent the creation of new risks, reduce existing risks, and increase resilience to withstand residual risks. The Sendai Framework Monitor has four main priorities including understanding disaster risk, strengthening disaster risk governance, investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience, and enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response in recovery, rehabilitation, and reconstruction.

Senior disaster managers and statistics officers from the 10 Pacific nations attended an introductory training course for the SFM in Suva, Fiji. All of the represented countries are exposed to a high level of disaster risk. The risks are linked to climate change, including rising sea levels and the growing intensity of extreme weather events.

The SFM introduces seven global targets to assess progress towards desired outcomes such as reducing global disaster mortality, reducing the number of people affected by disasters, reducing economic loss from disasters, reducing disaster damage to infrastructure and the disruption of basic services, and increasing the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information.

The framework is based on 38 indicators that will track progress in implementing the framework’s targets and related sustainable development goals (SDGs). It will use existing data in the Pacific Disaster Loss Database and will help countries to develop disaster risk reduction strategies, make risk-informed policy decisions, and help to better allocate resources with a hope of preventing further vulnerabilities to disasters.

“It is great to have a head start with this online reporting system but it still requires the support of the other sectors to provide us with the information” says Carlson.

- Liam Ratana