Over the last three years, our team has been working hand in hand with the government of Sierra Leone to enhance urban mobility in the capital city of Freetown, and to protect the local transport system against growing climate risk. This past year have been especially hard, with remote working, multiple virtual missions, and dramatic economic slow-down in Sierra Leone.
When we launched Open Cities activities in Brazzaville, Congo, in 2019, our main objective was to help the municipalities of Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire design tools to mitigate floods and erosion risks in urban areas. Little did we know that the outcome of this work would have a powerful impact on the Congolese youth.
Advances in technologies like satellites and smartphones have transformed maps as we know them. The gold standard map is now digital. It is accessible – open data approaches mean that map data can be repurposed by many agencies, organizations, and communities at once. With the growth of crowdsourcing platforms like OpenStreetMap, it is even collaborative – anyone can contribute information to the map, improving upon the work of others.
By now, most countries have adopted a digital COVID-19 surveillance dashboard illustrating data and information such as case tracing and even geo-tagged local outbreaks. However, tracking infection rates, contact tracing, and case hotspots is not enough. There is limited integration of COVID-19 data with natural hazard data and risk information. An important next step for countries to enhance their preparedness is to identify the intersections between COVID-19 epidemiological models and risk models of natural hazards.
In November 1970, Cyclone Bhola made landfall and devastated Bangladesh's coastline. Fifty years later, the country has become a leader in disaster risk reduction.
While countries at all levels of development face flood risk, the vast majority of the world’s flood exposed people – 89% – live in low- and middle- income countries. Critically, it is not only major, more infrequent floods, but also smaller, frequent events that can reverse years of progress in poverty reduction and development.
Central Asia still needs stronger regional cooperation and increased information exchange. The COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the importance—and advanced the possibility of—closer collaboration. Identifying and understanding the risks of various hazards requires continued investment. We also need to find ways to mitigate or minimize these risks, including from pandemics, which are bound to recur.
A recent publication released by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), The Power of Partnership: Public and Private Engagement in Hydromet Services, explores the “vitals” for successful public and private engagement. These include open data policies enabling private sector participation with a clear division of roles and responsibilities between sectors, as well as non-restrictive country legislation and legal frameworks.
The GFDRR and HEPRTF programs at the World Bank share a commitment to help countries prepare for and respond to unexpected and unforeseeable events. Whilst the programs are different in how they operate and function and with whom they interact in government counterparts, they share commonalities such as a strong commitment to strengthen the capacity of governments to systematically prepare for and respond to emergencies.
Resilient Shores, a new report jointly developed by the government of Vietnam, the World Bank, and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) offers a systematic analysis of disaster risks, and sets out an action plan for boosting resilient coastal development.