As part of its portfolio of urban resilience diagnostic tools, the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery’s (GFDRR) Building Regulation for Resilience Program has drawn from expert institutions and researchers to design a fire risk assessment tool for the built environment.
Ibadan is the third most populous city in Nigeria—Africa’s largest country in terms of population and economy. This city of six million also happens to be the country’s largest in terms of geographic area, but like many other cities, urbanization is largely uncontrolled, and people are exposed to disasters like floods.
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.
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.
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.
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.