UNDERSTANDINGUnderstandingRiskRISKBest Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment              Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Pr oceedings f r om t he 201 2 UR For um                                           Understanding Risk (UR)                ...
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Key     Search for content you are interested in with the following tags. These are placed at the beginning of each articl...
Contentsv	    Acknowledgmentsvi	 Overviewviii	 Forewordx	    Risk in the 21st Century, Rowan Douglas, Chief Executive Offi...
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AcknowledgmentsTo the Understanding Risk (UR) CommunityT  he spirit of collaboration leading up to the 2012 Understanding ...
Proceedings from the 2012 UR ForumCape Town, South Africa. Credit: Thinkstock.comThe Understanding Risk (UR) CommunityUR  ...
OverviewThe first UR Forum was held in Washington D.C. in June 2010. Since then the world has witnessed highimpact disaste...
Proceedings from the 2012 UR ForumForewordT      he second “Understanding Risk” (UR) Forum was held in Cape Town, South Af...
ForewordOther sessions highlighted the advances in hazard assessments, including Flood Risk across Spatial Scales,Landslid...
Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum                                                       stRisk in the 21 CenturyRowan Dou...
Risk in the 21st Centuryinformation), culture (public                  As such, there is tremendous            But now in ...
Proceedings from the 2012 UR ForumMajor Disasters since UR2010Since the first meeting of the Understanding Risk (UR) Commu...
Major Disasters since UR2010                                               CHINA                                          ...
Assessing Risk ina Changing ClimateDr. Maarten Van Aalst,                     Science, policy, and practice all demonstrat...
Proceedings from the 2012 UR ForumIn this context, existing risk                          A country’s capacity to meet the...
Assessing Risk in a Changing ClimateClimate Risk Management and                           determines next steps included i...
QProceedings from the 2012 UR ForumOverlapping mandates and                    communication. An exciting example      agr...
Q&A                                      	                                         Honorable Patricia de Lille            ...
Photo: Aerial view of the Japanese ground self-defense force and disaster relief crews. Credit: Thinkstock.com
Thinking about theUnthinkable                     7
ICELAND                                                                                          USA                      ...
Thinking about the UnthinkableThe final part of the answer is that     earthquake triggered the tsunami       the entire l...
Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum2010 Eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland. Photo: Thinkstock.com.power ou...
Thinking about the UnthinkableUnited States and Eastern Europe,          the global agricultural system. A           to cr...
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MEXICO                                                                                               MALAWI               ...
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
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Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum

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Understanding Risk (UR) is a community of more than 2,600 leading experts and practitioners in disaster risk assessment from around the world. Members of the community include representatives of government agencies, multilateral organizations, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, research institutions, academia, community-based organizations, and civil society.

Every two years, the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) convenes the UR Community at UR Forums. Forums are “state of the art” events that showcase best practices and the latest technical know-how in risk assessment. UR provides partners with the opportunity to highlight new activities and initiatives, build new partnerships, and further foster advances in the field.

UR is a community of global experts in the field of disaster risk assessment. UR community members share knowledge and experience, collaborate, and discuss innovation and best practice in risk assessment. This Community convenes every two years at UR Forums.

The first UR Forum was held in Washington D.C. in June 2010. Since then the world has witnessed high impact disasters and extreme events that have changed the way we understand disaster risk. UR 2012, held in Cape Town, July 2-6, convened 500 risk assessment experts from more than 86 countries to address this challenge, underscoring the importance of integrating disaster risk management (DRM) and climate change adaptation (CCA) as a core element of development.

Organized in partnership with the Government of South Africa and the European Union (EU), UR 2012 showcased new tools for decision–makers, strengthened regional and global partnerships, and built technical capacity in the Africa region through a series of training events.

The UR Community of Practice remains a unique platform for incubating innovation and forging partnerships
and will continue to work collaboratively to build resiliency to disaster risk in the future.

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Understanding Risk - Best Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment: Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum

  1. 1. UNDERSTANDINGUnderstandingRiskRISKBest Practices in Disaster Risk Assessment Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum
  2. 2. Pr oceedings f r om t he 201 2 UR For um Understanding Risk (UR) is a community of global experts in the field of disaster risk assessment. UR community members share knowledge and experience, collaborate, and discuss innovation and best practice in risk assessment. This Community convenes every two years at UR Forums. Join the Community www.understandrisk.org Photo: Confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, Missouri, USA. Credit: © Digital Vision.
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  4. 4. Key Search for content you are interested in with the following tags. These are placed at the beginning of each article. ICELAND CHINA USA JAPAN morocco PAKISTAN MEXICO HAITI dominica SAHEL INDIA jamaica Saint Lucia niger YEMENEL SALVADOR Saint Vincent SRI LANKA PHILIPPINES TRINIDAD & TOBAGO ghana HORN OF AFRICA INDONESIA kenya ZambeZi basin malawi la reunion namibia Mozambique PACIFIC ISLANDS CHILE SOUTH AFRICA NEW ZEALAND This map will indicate which countries and regions are highlighted in each article. This volume is a product of the staff of the World Bank. The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this volume do not necessarily reflect the views of the Executive Directors of the World Bank or the governments they represent. The World Bank does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this work. The boundaries, colors, denominations, and other information shown on any map in this work do not imply any judgment on the part of the World Bank concerning the legal status of any territory or the endorsement or acceptance of such boundaries. Published in Washington D.C. December, 2012 Editors: Emma Phillips and Noosha Tayebi Contributor: Brendan McNulty Designed by Miki Fernández (miki@ultradesigns.com), Washington, D.C. Copyright ©2012 by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank 1818 H Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20433 U.S.A. All rights reserved Manufactured in the United States of America First printing November 2012
  5. 5. Contentsv Acknowledgmentsvi Overviewviii Forewordx Risk in the 21st Century, Rowan Douglas, Chief Executive Officer, Global Analytics, Willis Rexi Map of 2010-2012 DisastersProceedings from the Forum1 Assessing Risk in a Changing Climate5 Q&A with Honorable Patricia de Lille, Mayor of Cape Town, South Africa7 Thinking about the Unthinkable13 Advancing Risk Assessment for Financial Applications21 The Global Assessment Report23 Q&A with Alan Knott-Craig, Chief Executive Officer, World of Avatar25 New Tools and Methodologies for Building Disaster Resilience: Moving from Risk Assessment to Mitigation29 Open Data35 Applications of Crowdsourcing for Development and Disaster Response41 Community-Based Risk Assessment44 The Climate and Gender Game47 Satellite Earth Observation in Support of Disaster Risk Management in Africa55 Drought Response and Resilience - Innovations in the Horn of Africa and Beyond61 Flood Risks across Spatial Scales67 Landslide Risk Assessments for Decision-Making73 Meteorological, Hydrological, and Climate Services to Support Risk Analysis81 Working Together to Advance Earthquake Risk Assessment85 Training Sessions at UR 2012 Forum iii
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  7. 7. AcknowledgmentsTo the Understanding Risk (UR) CommunityT he spirit of collaboration leading up to the 2012 Understanding Risk (UR) Forum in Cape Town was inspiring. We cannot mention all of the organizations and individuals involved, but would like to highlight a few key partners.First off, we would like to thank the 2012 UR partners: the Government of South Africa and the Department ofCooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs’ National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC), the Global Facilityfor Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), and the African Caribbean and Pacific - European Union (ACP-EU)Program.A special thank you to all the organizations that were involved in the UR Forum: the African Development Bank(AfDB), the African Union (AU), AusAID, Australia - Indonesia Facility for Disaster Reduction (AIFDR), Cape TownDisaster Risk Management Centre (DRMC), CAPRA, Council for Geoscience, Council of Scientific and IndustrialResearch (CSIR), Deltares, European Space Agency (ESA), Esri, Global Earthquake Model (GEM), HumanitarianOpenStreetMap Team (HOT), IVM Institute for Environmental Studies, Intergovernmental Authority onDevelopment (IGAD), Kenya Red Cross, Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), North-West University,Open Data for Resilience Initiative (OpenDRI), Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre, South African InsuranceAssociation (SAIA), Southern African Development Community (SADC), South African National Space Agency(SANSA), Tulane University, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the United Nations InternationalStrategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) Willis Research Network, World Food Program (WFP) and the WorldMeteorological Organization (WMO).We would also like to extend our gratitude to our opening and closing speakers: Honorable Minister Richard Baloyi,Rowan Douglas, Ebrima Faal, Hildegarde Fast, Francis Ghesquiere, Jonathan Kamkwalala, Alan Knott-Craig, MayorPatricia de Lille, Andrew Maskrey, Ken Terry, and Richard Young. Thank you to the Mayors present at the Roundtable:Mayor Maabad Hoja, Mayor Didas Massaburi and Lord Mayor Mahmad Kodabaccus.Thank you to our Session Leads for putting in extensive time and effort into organizing their sessions, and for writingthe summaries for this publication: Philippe Bally, Kate Chapman, Derek Clarke, Trevor Dhu, Souleyman Diop, RosaugeGuale, Emmanuel Kala, James Kisia, Jaap Kwadijik, Olivier Mahul, Jean-Baptiste Migraine, Jane Olwoch, AbdishakurOthowai, Rui Pinho, Eugene Poolman, Julio Serje, Robert Soden, Maarten Van Aalst, Kenneth Verosub, and Cees vanWesten. A special thanks to all of their panelists.We would like to acknowledge the teams who were involved: the staff and volunteers from the Cape Town DisasterRisk Management Center (DRMC), the Cape Town International Convention Centre, Imfunzelelo, Multi-ImageProductions, and the following individuals: Claus Astrup, Abigail Baca, Judy Baker, Trish Barrett, Laura Boudreau, AnnaBurzykowska, Zelda Coetzee, Eric Dickson, Laura Dorling, Tiguist Fisseha, Marc Forni, Niels Holm-Nielsen, SarwatHussain, Christina Irene, Oscar Ishizawa, Henriette Mampuya, Marc Neilson, Ariel Nunez, Kristina Nwazota, NothandoNyathi, Greg Pillay, Charlotte Powell, Fernando Ramirez, Keiko Saito, Sahar Safaie, Mmenyane Seoposengwe, AlannaSimpson, Anthea Serritslev, David Sislen, Wilfred Solomons, Zuzana Svetlosakova, Joaquin Toro, Sonam Velani, andErika Vargas.And last, but not least, to the core Understanding Risk team in South Africa: Ane Bruwer, Zena John, Craig Meyer,and in Washington, D.C.: Chalida Chararnsuk, Miki Fernández, Brendan McNulty, Francis Muraya, Emma Phillips, NooshaTayebi and Doekle Wielinga; thank you for your time, dedication and creativity in making this event happen! v
  8. 8. Proceedings from the 2012 UR ForumCape Town, South Africa. Credit: Thinkstock.comThe Understanding Risk (UR) CommunityUR is a community of more than 2,600 leading experts and practitioners in disaster risk assessment from around the world. Members of the community include representatives of government agencies,multilateral organizations, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, research institutions,academia, community-based organizations, and civil society.Every two years, the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) convenes the URCommunity at UR Forums. Forums are “state of the art” events that showcase best practices and the latesttechnical know-how in risk assessment. UR provides partners with the opportunity to highlight new activitiesand initiatives, build new partnerships, and further foster advances in the field.vi
  9. 9. OverviewThe first UR Forum was held in Washington D.C. in June 2010. Since then the world has witnessed highimpact disasters and extreme events that have changed the way we understand disaster risk. UR 2012, heldin Cape Town, July 2-6, convened 500 risk assessment experts from more than 86 countries to address thischallenge, underscoring the importance of integrating disaster risk management (DRM) and climate changeadaptation (CCA) as a core element of development.Organized in partnership with the Government of South Africa and the European Union (EU), UR 2012showcased new tools for decision–makers, strengthened regional and global partnerships, and built technicalcapacity in the Africa region through a series of training events.The UR Community of practice remains a unique platform for incubating innovation and forging partnershipsand will continue to work collaboratively to build resiliency to disaster risk in the future. vii
  10. 10. Proceedings from the 2012 UR ForumForewordT he second “Understanding Risk” (UR) Forum was held in Cape Town, South Africa from July 2-6, 2012. Organized in partnership with the Government of South Africa’s National Disaster Management Center (NDMC), Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), the Forum broughttogether 500 risk assessment experts from more than 86 countries around the world. The Forum wasconvened by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) in collaboration with the WorldBank’s Africa Region.These proceedings seek to convey the richness of the discussion that took place during UR2012. Theevent was a resounding success, not only because it brought together the world’s leading experts in riskassessment, but also because it was a testimony to the tremendous progress achieved in understanding risksince the UR Forum series was first launched in 2010, in Washington, D.C.Crowdsourcing, a topic that was completely new just two years ago, has now become part of themainstream. It is noteworthy that this concept is now used to support Risk Assessments for FinancialApplications in order to strengthen the financial resilience of governments, businesses, and householdsagainst the economic burden of disasters.It is also clear from the discussions that there is a growing consensus about the need for more OpenData. Many initiatives demonstrated that this could be done for the benefit of all. The session on the useof Satellite Earth Observation demonstrated how much new thinking has evolved and permeated thediscussion, with a renewed focus on the need to bridge the gap that still exists between image providers andactual users on the ground.The Honorable Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs of South Africa, Mr. Richard Baloyiopened the Forum with a keynote address that highlighted the importance of the disaster risk management(DRM) and climate change adaptation (CCA) agendas to the African continent. Extensive participation byAfrican delegates confirmed that identifying risk is particularly relevant for Africa and that progress has beenmade in the developing world to make better use of risk assessments.Holding the Forum in South Africa enabled the UR community and practitioners to focus on DroughtResponse and Resilience. Drought is a challenge that affects the region on a regular basis, and as theongoing crises in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel demonstrate, the economic and social impacts arefar-reaching. It is heartening that the 2013 Global Assessment Report will have a particular focus ondeveloping methodological approaches to measure drought hazards and drought intensity to better addressthis challenge.viii
  11. 11. ForewordOther sessions highlighted the advances in hazard assessments, including Flood Risk across Spatial Scales,Landslides Risk Assessments, and Earthquake Risk Assessments, also relevant to the African context.New Tools and Methodologies for Building Resilience were highlighted, focusing on the extensiveprogress being achieved in making these tools available to non-specialists for the analysis and communicationof risk, as well as the importance of Community-Based Risk Assessments that engage local and impactedcommunities in the risk reduction process.Finally, the last two years confirmed the need for the world to continue Thinking about the Unthinkable.The Great Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami of March 2011 and the floods in Thailand come as a starkreminder that we face a future of increasing uncertainty about extreme events. The cascading impacts andfar-reaching consequences disrupted energy policies and value chains all around the world. The release of theIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and
Disastersto Advance Climate Change
Adaptation (SREX) Report was at the core of discussions on Meteorological,Hydrological, and Climate Services and the need to Assess Risk in a Changing Climate.We are pleased that all these topics are included in this volume, summarizing the stimulating discussions thattook place in Cape Town. Since the 2010 Forum the UR Community has been growing from strength-to-strength, tackling issues of economic, social, and environmental vulnerability with renewed commitment tohelping communities build resilience.We are confident that the UR Forum series will lead to new partnerships and innovative advances in riskassessment, so essential for achieving sustainable development in Africa and beyond. We look forward to thenext UR Forum in 2014, and to continuing the excellent spirit of cooperation that took root in Cape Town,South Africa.Francis Ghesquiere Jonathan Kamkwalala Ken TerryHead of the GFDRR Secretariat & Sector Manager, Water Resources Head of NDMCManager of the DRM Practice Group Africa Region Department of CoGTAWorld Bank World Bank South Africa ix
  12. 12. Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum stRisk in the 21 CenturyRowan DouglasChief Executive Officer, Global Analytics, Willis ReAt the 2010 Understanding Risk (UR) Forum we described thiscommunity of four hundred risk experts and practitioners as a ship thatwas setting sail. We were aware that not all the key institutions wewanted were there at the time, but those who were there needed to beon that ship. Two years on, what has happened? The ship is now a flotillaof ships that have set sail and have remarkably entered the main shippinglanes. Why is that? Cooperation (APEC). But perhapsL ast year saw the most century will look like, but as we look remarkable and shocking at the perfect storm of further most critically, at the G20 meeting stream of natural climate concern, population growth, in Los Cabos, Mexico, naturalcatastrophes to befall our and concerns around finance and disasters were on the agenda forcommunities in many years, others, we have an interesting time the first time.from floods in Thailand to the ahead of us.earthquake and tsunami in Japan. In the UR world, much hasTheses catastrophes affected all Over the last few years we have happened too. What we previouslycommunities, even those that were seen that disasters have moved talked about in theory is nowconsidered to be the most prepared to the top levels of public policy. happening in practice. Two yearsand able to confront those We see it here in Cape Town, at ago the Global Earthquake Modelchallenges. They also had a global the local level through the work of (GEM) Foundation was being talkedeffect because of the increasingly the United Nations International about in theory. Today you caninterconnectedness of modern Strategy for Disaster Reduction attend a training session in thesociety and supply chains. (UNISDR); with the national Openquake modeling platform. As programs, for example in the United a result, a number of communitiesThe first ten years of this century States or the United Kingdom, have been connected.have been an overture of the where natural catastrophe is21st century. The shocks coming considered a key concern in building Looking ahead, we need to thinkfrom the financial markets, natural resilience and security as a platform about how this flotilla is going tocatastrophes, and security have for growth; and we see it in our navigate the “seven seas”. We havechanged the tempo of the post multi-national institutions, where to understand how to navigate theWorld War II period of growth natural catastrophe is at the top of climate, the crust, catastrophe,to a period of uncertainty. We do the agenda for the European Union capital, communications (bothnot know what the rest of the (EU) and the Asia-Pacific Economic understanding and conveyingx
  13. 13. Risk in the 21st Centuryinformation), culture (public As such, there is tremendous But now in an increasingly uncertainpolicy and decision-making within opportunity for science, technology, world, the principals of applyingpublic and private spheres), and and academy to cross boundaries math and science to socio-economiccommunity (at local, national, and and show impact and relevance. challenges as they did 200 hundredglobal scales). Whether through the power of years are being re-expressed super-computing or models, or today through technology. It isDuring the Romantic Period in the ability of us all to contribute also recognized that countries andthe 18th century, artists and and receive information at micro individuals need to come togetherintellectuals tried to connect an scales, there is an opportunity for to mutualize and share their risk atincreasingly industrialized society international institutions to develop both local and global scales.with nature through the arts, a framework together to confrontmusic, and literature. We are this challenge. What are the challenges movingnow entering, not least through forward? To some degree thethe work of the UR community, a There is also a huge challenge supply side is taken care of: we havenew Romantic period. But today and opportunity for emerging the technology, we can usually findwe are connected back to nature economies. South Africa, Mexico, the information to the level wethrough the pervasive power of and others are taking a lead in need, and we can usually find thethe modeled and networked world. this space. Through the need to financing we require.We are connected not just through confront the challenges of naturalour emotions, but also through our catastrophe other public policy The real challenge is to create thebalance sheets, financial decision- benefits and mindsets have been generation of demand. We need tomaking, and fiscal processes. This created. be able to incentivize and ensuremarriage of technology, data, those who need to take decisionsfinance, and policy is at the heart of An exciting opportunity exists for about securing their future andconfronting the challenges we face business and the world of insurance. understanding their risks obtainaround natural disasters. Insurance has receded in peoples’ the right information; and that we consciousness until quite recently. deliver it to them effectively. Seemingly ‘local’ disasters have much broader impacts. As businesses become more interconnected and supply chains become more international, seemingly local events have increasing global impact. The 2010 eruption of the volcano Eyjafjallajökull had negligible impact in Iceland, but affected international air travel in Europe for over two weeks, leading to major economic losses in travel, tourism and trade. A study by Oxford Economics found that the total impact on global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in just the first week of disruption from the ash cloud amounted to approximately $4.7 billion1. Similarly the 2011 floods in Thailand reduced Japan’s industrial output by 2.6% between October and November of that year, due to disruptions in electronics and automotive “just-in-time” supply chains2. 1 Oxford Economics, (2010). 2 Mitchell, Mechler, and Harris, (2012). xi
  14. 14. Proceedings from the 2012 UR ForumMajor Disasters since UR2010Since the first meeting of the Understanding Risk (UR) Community in Washington, D.C. in June 2010, the world has seenhundreds of natural disasters that have caused more than US$1 trillion in losses, the vast majority of them uninsured, andaffected thousands of lives. Below are some of largest disasters in terms of economic losses and human impact. united states 2011 176 1,150 2012 US$14,000 Hurricane Sandy* niger 2011-2012 Haiti mali 3,000,000 2010 222,570 2011-2012 3,700,000 US$8,000 2,970,000 burkina fasoKey 2011-2012 2,850,000 nigeria Drought 2010 40 1,500,200 Earthquake US$30 Flood ethiopia 2011-2012 Storm CHIle 4,805,679 2012 Year 2010 562 1,000,000 Fatalities 2,671,556 Total affected US$30,000 Est. damages (US$ million)* When this publication went to printHurricane Sandy devastated portions ofthe Caribbean and the Mid-Atlantic andNortheastern United States in late October2012. Preliminary estimates of losses dueto damage and business interruption wereestimated at US$65.5 billion.xii
  15. 15. Major Disasters since UR2010 CHINA 2010 2010 2,968 1,691 112,000 134,000,000 japan 500 18,000 2011 19,846 pakistan 2010-2011 368,820 2010 35,000,000 US$210,000 1,985 2,370 20,359,496 US$9,500sudan 20123,200,000 djibouti thailand philippines 2010 2011-2012 2012 813 11 200,258 9,500,000 320,277 US$40,000 US$8.9 somalia 2012 india 2012kenya 3,000,000 101 fiji 2,200,000 2012 2012 5 14,9843,750,000 US$40 new zealand 2011 181 301,500 US$15,000 xiii
  16. 16. Assessing Risk ina Changing ClimateDr. Maarten Van Aalst, Science, policy, and practice all demonstrate thatDirector, Red Cross / Red disaster risk management (DRM) and climate changeCrescent Climate Center adaptation (CCA) are intimately connected. Evidence suggests that weather and climate extremes are changing and new risks are emerging. We need to think about how to manage not only the reoccurring risks of the past, but also those of the future. Policy and practice also need to bridge short and longer timescales relevant for decision-making.New Risks weather and climate events uncertainty remains high. Climate (‘climate extremes’) in some regions extremes are essentially becomingT he Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) already. For the coming two or more unpredictable. High levels of recently released a Special three decades, the expected vulnerability, combined with moreReport on Managing the Risk of increase in climate extremes severe and frequent weather andExtremes and Disasters to advance will probably be relatively small climate extremes, may result inClimate Change Adaptation (SREX). compared to the normal year-to- some places, such as atolls, beingSigned off by all governments, this year variations in such extremes. increasingly difficult places in whichreport presents the best scientific However, as climate change to live and work3.knowledge on how extremes are becomes more dramatic, its effectchanging, but also how changing on a range of climate extremes will become increasingly important and New Measuresrisks can best be managed. A new balance needs to be struckKey findings from the report will play a more significant role in disaster impacts. between measures to reduceindicate that disaster risk willcontinue to increase in many risk, transfer risk, and effectivelycountries as more vulnerable There is better information on prepare for and manage disasterpeople and assets are exposed what is expected in terms of impact in a changing climate. Thisto weather extremes. Climate changes in extremes in various balance will require a strongerchange has altered the magnitude regions and sub-regions; though for emphasis on anticipation and riskand frequency of some extreme some regions and some extremes reduction.3 Mitchell and van Aalst (2012).Photo courtesy ofthe IPCC Special Report 1
  17. 17. Proceedings from the 2012 UR ForumIn this context, existing risk A country’s capacity to meet the weather and climate extremes aremanagement measures need to challenges of observed and projected changing, fundamental adjustmentsbe improved as many countries trends in disaster risk is determined are required to avoid the disasterare poorly adapted to current by the effectiveness of their national losses and tipping points. Any delayextremes and risks, let alone those risk management system. Such in greenhouse gas mitigation is likelyprojected for the future. This systems include national and sub- to lead to more severe and frequentwould include, for example, a wide national governments, the private climate extremes in the futurerange of measures such as early sector, research bodies, and civil (Tables 1 and 2).warning systems, land use planning, society, including community-baseddevelopment and enforcement of organizations. There is exciting work underwaybuilding codes, improvements to that demonstrates how integratedhealth surveillance, or ecosystem In a situation where vulnerability and climate risk management ismanagement and restoration. exposure are high, capacity is low, and being implemented. Based on itsTable 1: Observed changes in temperature and precipitation extremes since the 1950sTable 1 shows observed changes in temperature and precipitation extremes, including dryness in regions of Asia since 1950,with the period 1961-1990 used as a baseline (see box 3.1 in Chapter 3 of SREX for more information)Region and Trends in maximum Trends in minimum Trends in heat waves/ Trends in heavy precipitation Trends in drynessSub-region temperature temperature warm spells (rain, snow) and drought (warm and cold days) (warm and cold nights)North Asia Likely increase Likely increase Spatially varying Increase in some Spatially varying in warm days in warm nights trends regions, but spatial trends (decrease cold (decrease cold variation days) nights)Central Asia Likely increase Likely increase Increase in warm Spatially varying Spatially varying in warm days in warm nights spells in a few trends trends (decrease cold (decrease cold areas days) nights) Insufficient evidence in othersEast Asia Likely increase Increase in warm Increase heat Spatially varying Tendency for in warm days nights (decrease wave in China trends increased dryness (decrease cold cold nights) Increase in warm days) spells in northern China, decrease in southern ChinaSoutheast Likely increase Likely increase Insufficient Spatially varying Spatially varyingAsia in warm days in warm nights evidence trends, partial lack trends (decrease cold (decrease cold of evidence days) for northern nights) for northern areas areas Insufficient Insufficient evidence for Malay evidence for Malay Archipelago ArchipelagoSouth Asia Increase in warm Increase in warm Insufficient Mixed signal in Inconsistent signal days (decrease nights (decrease in evidence India for different studies warm days) cold nights) and indicesWestern Asia Very likely increase Likely increase Increase in warm Decrease in heavy Lack of studies, in warm days in warm nights spells precipitation mixed results (decrease in cold (decrease in cold events days more likely nights) than not)Tibetan Likely increase Likely increase Spatially varying Insufficient InsufficientPlateau in warm days in warm nights trends evidence evidence (decrease cold (decrease cold days) nights)2
  18. 18. Assessing Risk in a Changing ClimateClimate Risk Management and determines next steps included in to support risk assessment andAdaptation Strategy, the African the Project Concept Note. investment screening.Development Bank (AfDB) hasdeveloped a Climate Safeguards An online tool is currently being In practice, implementation ofSystem to screen projects for piloted before intended roll- such intentions will not always beclimate risk. It targets the early out across all Bank operations. straightforward. Experience fromstages of the project cycle, so that Alongside the online tool, there a range of integrated climate andthe risks can be integrated during will be country Adaptation Profiles DRM programs implemented overproject preparation. Projects are and a knowledge base to guide the past ten years suggest that thecategorized as Category 1: Very investment planning and project key is a combination of promotingvulnerable; Category 2: Potentially preparation. Other institutions are the right instruments, addressingvulnerable; or Category 3: Not taking similar initiatives, including incentives and setting up the rightvulnerable. This classification a range of knowledge portals institutions. Table 1: Projected changes in temperature and precipitation extremes, including dryness, in Asia Table 1 shows projected changes in temperature and precipitation extremes, including dryness in Asia. The projections are for the period 2071-2100 (compared with 1961-1990) or 2080-2100 (compared with 1980-2000) and are based on GCM and RCM outputs run under the A2/A1B emissions scenario.Region and Trends in maximum Trends in minimum Trends in heat waves/ Trends in heavy precipitation Trends in drynessSub-region temperature (the frequency temperature (the frequency warm spells (rain, snow) and drought of warm and cold days) of warm and cold nights)North Asia Likely increase Likely increase Likely more Likely increase Inconsistent in warm days in warm nights frequent and/or in heavy change (decrease in cold (decrease in cold longer heat waves precipitation for days) nights) and warm spells most regionsCentral Asia Likely increase Likely increase Likely more Inconsistent signal Inconsistent in warm days in warm nights frequent and/or in models change (decrease in cold (decrease in cold longer heat waves days) nights) and warm spellsEast Asia Likely increase Likely increase Likely more Increase in heavy Inconsistent in warm days in warm nights frequent and/or precipitation change (decrease in cold (decrease in cold longer heat waves across the region days) nights) and warm spellsSoutheast Likely increase Likely increase Likely more Inconsistent signal InconsistentAsia in warm days in warm nights frequent and/or of change ac ross change (decrease in cold (decrease in cold longer heat waves most models days) nights) and warm spells (more frequent Low confidence in and intense heav y changes for some precipitation areas suggested over most regions)South Asia Likely increase Likely increase Likely more Slight or no Inconsistent in warm days in warm nights frequent and/or increase in change (decrease in cold (decrease in cold longer heat waves %DP10 index days) nights) and warm spells More frequent and intense heavy precipitation days over parts of S. AsiaWest Asia Likely increase Likely increase Likely more Inconsistent signal Inconsistent in warm days in warm nights frequent and/or of change change (decrease in cold (decrease in cold longer heat waves days) nights) and warm spellsTibetan Likely increase Likely increase Likely more Increase in heavy InconsistentPlateau in warm days in warm nights frequent and/or precipitation change (decrease in cold (decrease in cold longer heat waves days) nights) and warm spells 3
  19. 19. QProceedings from the 2012 UR ForumOverlapping mandates and communication. An exciting example agriculture, information about theinstitutional turf battles, for is the use of games for decision- coming season, or the envelopeinstance, between the ministry of makers. These games confront of possible conditions (includingenvironment (often responsible for decision-makers, from local farmers uncertainties) for the comingclimate change), and ministries of to high-level policy-makers with 5-10 years may be much morecivil defense/home affairs (often the costs and benefits of action relevant, and offer pragmatic waysresponsible for DRM) are still or inaction with regards climate to address the rising risks in awasting scarce capacity. Adaptation information (see article on Climate changing climate.and DRM should preferably be Games, p. 44).handled by the same government Contributors to the sessioninstitutions. Overall responsibility Conclusionfor risk management should be Climate science, which has made Co-Session Lead: Ebrimaplaced at a high level institution, great progress, is just one piece Faal, Regional Director, Africanclose to economic planning. Development Bank of the puzzle. It is highly relevantImplementation should fall to the Panelists but often difficult to apply off-respective sectoral ministries, as the-shelf. An essential change of Balgis Osman-Elasha, Climatewell as other relevant actors at Change Adaptation Expert, African mindset, particularly for the climate Development Bank/IPCCdifferent levels. science community is to think Alhamndou Dorsouma, Climate about actionable information, more Change Specialist, AfricanIn that context, risk assessments directly linked to decision-making, Development Bankneed to be actionable for decision- and to produce the relevant Sofia Bettencourt, Leadmakers, from politicians, policy- guidance for interpretation, jointly Operations Officer, World Bankmakers, and donor agencies to with users. Tony Nyong, Head, Gender,traditional leaders and individuals Climate Change and Sustainablein vulnerable areas. Besides simpler One key lesson is to look at the Development Unit, Africanand more tailored forecasts, key climate science products relevant Development Banktools to communicate the message to the timescales for decision- Laban Ogallo, Professor/ Director,should include providing economic making, including not just long- IGAD Climate Prediction andanalyses and risk maps. Applications Center term climate projections, but Alhassane Diallo, Director also seasonal forecasts, historical General African Centre ofPanels of trusted national climate information, and proper Meteorological Application forexperts can play a key role in characterization of historical Developmentconvincing policy-makers at the variability. James Kisia,Deputy Secretarynational level. At the local level, General, Kenya Red Crossit requires engagement with Long-term trends may be relevant Youcef Ait-Chellouche, Deputytrusted intermediaries, such as for longer-term infrastructure Regional Coordinator, Unitedcommunity leaders. A strong focus investments. For many other Nations International Strategy forshould be on awareness raising and decisions, for instance in Disaster ReductionFurther Resources IPCC SREX: http://ipcc-wg2.gov/srex Useful SREX interpretation, including regional summaries: www.cdkn.org/srex AfDB climate safeguards system: http://72.26.119.91:8080/GCAP-CSS/afdbhomepage.html;jsessionid=E3E362D500C7 567533667683896C9795 Red Cross and Red Crescent Climate Center: http://www.climatecentre.org/4
  20. 20. Q&A  Honorable Patricia de Lille Interview with Mayor of Cape Town, South AfricaHow do we make disaster risk assessment as attractive to decision-makersand donors as disaster response?The benefit of a disaster risk assessment is that it provides one with a risk profileof the hazards that could impact your City. It allows one to take remedial actionand be pro-active so that the impact of the hazard can be mitigated and reduced.Very often the funds allocated to remedial risk reduction action will be less thanthe funds that will be allocated for dealing with the aftermath of a disaster, e.g.ensuring appropriate drainage systems are installed in preparation for the rainyseason, versus dealing with flood damage and relocations of communities.What is the most effective way to engage a Minister of Finance to startthinking about and allocating resources for risk assessment?It will be helpful to point out that the risk assessment is a diagnostic tool thatenables one to gauge what the risk profile of your City is. The risk assessment isuseful in that it provides one with a strategic risk profile of the hazards that couldimpact the City. Therefore funds spent on this risk assessment initiative amounts tomoney well spent, as it identifies the hazards that could impact the City, and allowsone the opportunity to undertake remedial risk reduction action, i.e. how to lessenthe impact of the hazard by formulating a disaster management plan, preparednessmeasures, and technical and engineering interventions, etc.In your career, what event (large or small) have you been most proud to havebeen involved with?In the City of Cape Town there is a high incidence rate of fires in informalsettlements. In an effort to reduce the risk of fires in these informal settlements, Idonated funds from my office for the purchase of 1000 fire extinguishers that wereprovided to households in the Joe Slovo Informal Settlement, Langa. A day was setaside where I visited the community in December 2011, and with the assistance ofthe Fire Service and Disaster Management, a demonstration was provided how thefire extinguishers should be used. A fire was lit as part of the demonstration, and Iused the fire extinguisher to supress the fire, indicating to the community how easyit could be done to avoid fire spread. The media was also invited to this event. 5
  21. 21. Photo: Aerial view of the Japanese ground self-defense force and disaster relief crews. Credit: Thinkstock.com
  22. 22. Thinking about theUnthinkable 7
  23. 23. ICELAND USA JAPAN PAKISTAN PHILIPPINES INDONESIADr. Kenneth L. Verosub,Distinguished Professor,University of California (UC) DavisFor the 2012 Understanding Risk (UR) Forum a distinction was made betweenBlack Swans and White Whales. Black Swans were events that no one everexpected would happen; White Whales were events that we knew were out therebut were thought to be extremely rare. unthinkable event, we run the riskI n the two years since then, the find it difficult to appreciate how distinction between Black Swans the interconnected complexities of of overconfidence. We assume and White Whales has become modern society are amplified under we can extrapolate from whatless distinct because, more often extreme conditions. In the language we know and what we’ve alreadythan not, it turns out that at least of structural engineering, under seen to what we think will happen.someone somewhere has predicted such conditions, the response of This overconfidence can manifestany given Black Swan event. Even the system becomes non-linear, and itself in different ways: we do notthe archetypal Black Swan event, the when that happens, models based think more research is required;bringing down of the Twin Towers in on a linear response simply fail. we believe our existing tools will beNew York City, was on the radar of adequate for the job; we select thesome security analysts. Hurricane Katrina, for example, wrong people (risk and insurance pushed New Orleans to the point managers) to do the analysis; weThus for the 2012 UR Forum, we that the existing dysfunctionalities base our decisions on the wrongchose to label all extreme events of the city (in the areas of factors (profits); and/or we arewith the simple generic term of governance, planning, poverty motivated by the wrong reasons“unthinkable” and to address the levels, emergency response, law (liability and public relations).deeper question of how we could enforcement, etc.) combined withhelp decision-makers think about a devastating hurricane, had an Another part of the answer isthe unthinkable. overwhelming impact on the city. that too often we think only in Barry Commoner’s First Law of terms of top-down responses. The Ecology (“Everything is connected first responders in any disasterThe Challenge of to everything else)” applies here. or emergency are the people whoThinking about the The difficulties that the United are directly affected by it. Part ofUnthinkable States military had in providing what prepares them to respond isWhy is it so difficult for officials, ready-to-eat meals (MREs) to the ability to draw upon traditionaladministrators, planners and the population of New Orleans wisdom as well as immediatepeople, in general, to think about was directly related to America’s situational awareness. For example,the unthinkable? Part of the involvement in a war in Iraq, to several communities affected byanswer is that no one wants to which most of the available MREs the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004hear about how bad things could be. had already been sent. had relatively few fatalities becauseHowever, a larger problem is that they had an oral tradition thatmany people, including disaster risk Even when we try to grasp the told them to flee inland when themanagement (DRM) practitioners, enormity of the impact of an waters receded.8
  24. 24. Thinking about the UnthinkableThe final part of the answer is that earthquake triggered the tsunami the entire length of the Indus River.we need a new perspective for and the tsunami in turn triggered The flooding directly affected 20dealing with unthinkable events. A the nuclear meltdown. million people and caused economiccareful reading of historical records losses of almost $50 billion. Inprovides clues as to what kinds of In terms of the tectonics, the terms of the bestiary, this would beunthinkable events might be lurking initial earthquake was caused a domino event. As the flood waveout there. by simultaneous rupture on moved downstream, it affected six adjacent segments of an different areas in different ways,We also need to develop a oceanic fault, which generated an but the net result was a cumulativevocabulary or “bestiary” to describe earthquake with a magnitude of 8.9. humanitarian and economic disaster.unthinkable events. There are Prior to this, the maximum thataspects of certain unthinkable anyone had expected was that at An example of a compound eventevents that are similar, and most three segments of the fault is the 1991 eruption of Mounthaving a better way to describe could rupture simultaneously. Pinatubo, Philippines, that coincidedthose similarities could help in with a typhoon passing by theunderstanding the risks and Analysis of the historical record volcano, resulting in a lethal mix ofplanning for them. indicates that in 869 A.D. the same ash and rain. Tens of thousands region was hit by a large tsunami, of people were evacuated and the generated by what is estimated surrounding areas were severelyLessons Learned from to have been a magnitude 8.6 damaged by pyroclastic flows,Recent Unthinkable earthquake with a return period ash deposits, and subsequently,Events of about 1000 years. Therefore, by the lahars caused by the rain,Since the UR Forum in 2010, the the information was out there, but destroying infrastructures andworld has experienced several insufficiently incorporated into the altering the river systems.unthinkable events. Perhaps the thinking of those trying to assessmost impressive was the 2011 the risk. Another example would be the heatTohoku earthquake and tsunami in wave that affected Washington,Japan and the subsequent nuclear Another unthinkable event was the D.C. earlier this summer. The heatemergency at the Fukushima Daiishi flooding in Pakistan in 2010, which wave itself would probably havenuclear facility. In the language of began with very intense rainfall in been manageable, but it coincidedthe bestiary, this would be classified the northwest of the country and with a regional outbreak of severeas a cascade event since the eventually led to inundation along thunderstorms that caused massive 1 Domino event: An initial set of impacts leads to another set of impacts, which leads to another set, and so on. ry A Bestia 2 Cascade event: The impact of an initial event is exacerbated ibe to Descr by the impact of a second, and/or even a third event. ble Unthinka 3 Compound event: Two separate phenomena, neither of Events which is inherently out of the ordinary, combine to produce an extraordinary event. 4 Perfect storm event: A series of elements come together in just the right way to produce an unthinkable event. 9
  25. 25. Proceedings from the 2012 UR Forum2010 Eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland. Photo: Thinkstock.com.power outages. The pairing of was just enough to carry the ash to unthinkable event. One such scenariothese two phenomena did not quite altitudes that were crossed by the could be a massive global foodcause an unthinkable event, but it flight paths of commercial aircraft. crisis. In one sense, this is not suchis not hard to imagine that a slightly And the ash was injected into a an “unthinkable” event; there arelonger heat wave and a slightly stagnant weather pattern that held warnings that continued warmingmore severe power disruption the ash over northern and central due to global climate change couldcould well have had a much greater Western Europe for weeks. lead to a global food crisis. But it isimpact. Moreover, one could also “unthinkable” in the sense that mostview this event as a precursor for If any one of these conditions decision-makers are confident thatfuture unthinkable events in which had not occurred, there would the global agricultural economy, andsevere heat as a manifestation of have been no significant impact its complex network for growing andglobal climate change combines with on aviation or the global/regional distributing food, has the resiliencewidespread power outages caused economy at large. In fact, a to weather any shock to the system.by the recognized vulnerabilities of year later Grimsvotn volcanothe electrical grid system. erupted in Iceland under similar Our thesis is that this represents circumstances, except that it gross overconfidence that theA perfect storm event would be missed a stagnant weather pattern system will respond linearly to largethe shutdown of European air by three days and had no significant events and that because it hastraffic in 2010 as a result of the impact on aviation. been able to cope with previouseruption of the Eyjafjallajokull smaller events it will also be able tovolcano in Iceland. In that case, Scenario for an cope with a larger one.the volcano erupted through a Unthinkable Event:glacier in just the right way to Global Food Crisis This summer the most severeproduce large amounts of unusually It is clear that different factors can threat to global agriculture hasfine ash. The force of the eruption come together to create a particular been the massive drought in the10
  26. 26. Thinking about the UnthinkableUnited States and Eastern Europe, the global agricultural system. A to create a situation where notthe failed monsoon in India, and massive volcanic eruption, especially enough food is being produced and/severe rains in Brazil. As a result of one near a major rice-producing or what is produced is not beingthese factors, prices on the global region on the Pacific Rim, could collected and distributed properly.grain market have risen significantly. blanket a region with a heavy layerClimate change also indicates of volcanic ash, shutting down We may be closer to the secondthat the combined challenges to agriculture production completely. condition than we realize: recentagriculture from weather-related studies indicate that 30-50% of thephenomena are likely to be more A more global impact could result food produced globally is wastedfrequent and severe. Even if this from an eruption like the one in 1815 for one reason or another. Theyear does not produce a global food from Mount Tambora in Indonesia. multiplicity of pathways shows thatcrisis, it certainly demonstrates That eruption injected sulfur dioxide picking one particular pathway andthe potential for several weather- into the upper atmosphere, and the preparing for it is not likely to be arelated events to come together to sulfur combined with water vapor worthwhile exercise.Our thesis is that this represents gross overconfidence that the system willrespond linearly to large events and that because it has been able to cope withprevious smaller events it will also be able to cope with a larger one.create a compound event resulting to form droplets of sulfuric acid What is needed instead is a flexiblein a global food crisis. that created a veil, blocking sunlight and resilient response structure and reducing surface temperatures that is capable of dealing with all ofA rise in grain prices also produces causing food shortages. In 1816 the ways that a given crisis or seta rise in meat prices and could Europe and North America of crises might manifest itself. Thattranslate into frustrated experienced a “year without summer,” is how we need to start thinkingexpectations about the cost and resulting in massive food shortages about the unthinkable.availability of food in general. This and subsequent disease outbreaks.could lead to political unrest, which Just as the Eyjafjalljokull eruptioncould, in turn, affect the system disrupted passenger transportation, Contributors to the sessionthat gathers and distributes food an eruption could impact the foodin a given country. This cascade of distribution network. Carl Taylor, Executive Director,events, if repeated simultaneously Fraser Institute for Healthin many countries, as occurred Thus, there are many pathways to Researchduring the Arab Spring, could also a global food crisis, some of them Gavin Macgregor-Skinner, Assistant Professor, Departmenttrigger a global food crisis. are more likely to occur, others of Public Health Sciences, College are less likely, but it’s not hard to of Medicine, Pennsylvania StateNatural hazards could also imagine some combination of them Universitycontribute to the disruption of coming together in a perfect stormFurther Resources Scott-Morgan, P. (2012). The Reality of Global Crises: Why Good Beginnings Are Ending Badly and Leaving World-Leaders Increasingly Powerless, CreateSpace Hubbard, D.W. (2009). The Failure of Risk Management-Why Its Broken and How to Fix It, Farrar, Straus and Giroux Taleb, N. (2007). The Black Swan-The Impact of the Highly Improbable, Random House Trade Paperbacks Sagarin, R. D., Taylor, T. (2008). Natural Security: A Darwinian Approach to a Dangerous World, University of California Press Savage, S. L. (2012). The Flaw of Averages-Why We Underestimate Risk in the Face of Uncertainty, Wiley Jost, C.C., Mariner, J.C., Roeder, P.L., Sawitri, E., Macgregor-Skinner, G.J. (2007). Participatory Epidemiology in Disease Surveillance and Research, http://www.oie.int/doc/ged/D4693.PDF 11
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  28. 28. MEXICO MALAWI SOUTH AFRICA Advancing RiskDr. Olivier Mahul,Program Coordinator& Laura Boudreau, AssessmentAnalyst, Disaster RiskFinancing and InsuranceProgram, World Bank for Financial Applications We all have our talents. For the disaster risk management (DRM) community, evidence suggests that reducing mortality risk from disasters is one of them: Mortality risk associated with weather-related hazards is declining globally, despite the rapid increase in population exposure to such hazards4. Likewise, we all have our low- and middle-income countries. weaknesses. And although DRM As a percentage of Gross Domestic practitioners may shine at saving Product (GDP), however, they are lives, we have fared much worse significantly higher in the latter6. with reducing economic losses: Globally, the risk of losing wealth in Moreover, a significantly smaller a disaster is increasing at a faster share of the losses incurred in pace than wealth is being created5. developing countries is typically Increasing economic strength insured; thus, the economic burden around the world is failing of these events is borne almost to translate into lower economic entirely by the households and the loss risk. governments of these countries (Figure 1). Often, households I n absolute terms, post disaster and governments do not fully losses in countries forming the understand their exposure and may Organization for Economic Co- not secure adequate resources and/ operation and Development (OECD) or purchase insurance to prepare are much greater than those in for disasters. 4 UNISDR (2011). 5 Ibid. 6 Cummins and Mahul (2010). 13

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