As has been made devastatingly clear through 2020, the hazards facing societies today are highly complex and have cascading risks across natural, social and economic systems. This calls for a standardized characterization of hazards that can serve as a basis for countries to assess and accordingly enhance their risk reduction policies and operational risk management practices.
In recognition of this need, the ISC partnered with the UNDRR in 2019 to launch an ambitious science project to identify the full scope of all hazards relevant to the Sendai Framework from hydro-meteorological, geological and biological to environmental, chemical and technological, and develop a common set of hazard definitions.
In 2019 and the first half of 2020 a Technical Working Group led by Virginia Murray, Head of Global Disaster Risk Reduction at Public Health England, worked to draft hazard definitions and an accompanying report that provides a scientific basis for the definition of specific hazards and related metrics. The process of identifying and defining hazards initiated collaboration across many scientific disciplines, drawing on the expertise of the ISC’s Members and broader scientific community who provided peer reviews, as well as across many UN organizations.
The resulting Hazard Definition & Classification Review: Technical Report was published in mid-2020, and launched through a virtual meeting on 29 July 2020. It has been well received, and the follow-up has also resulted in opportunities to partner with key UN agencies; CODATA has been engaged to advise the UN on the development of an information management system related to the hazard information profiles. A compilation of hazard information profiles will be published in 2021.
Watch the launch of the Hazard Definition and Classification Review
Image: Denis Onyodi/URCS via Flickr.