The technical working group includes a core group of members from UN agencies, scientific community and representatives from the insurance industry and international humanitarian organisations. Their biographies appear below.

Covering man-made as well as natural hazards, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction expanded the scope of disaster risk reduction to biological, environmental, geological, hydrometeorological and technological hazards, calling on a multi-hazard approach to disaster risk reduction.

The Sendai Hazards Definitions and Classification Review, co-facilitated by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the International Science Council (ISC), is tasked with developing new hazard definitions and classifications, and seeks input from stakeholders to ensure the list is robust, and reflects the full spectrum of local and regional terminology.

The Task Team includes:

Professor Virginia Murray, Head of Global Disaster Risk Reduction at Public Health England

Virginia is chair of the UNDRR/ISC Technical Working Group for review of Sendai Hazards Terminology and Classification. She is currently the Head of Global Disaster Risk Reduction at Public Health England, and in this role, she works to deliver on the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction via key scientific partnerships. These include being a member of the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) scientific committee, which is co-sponsored by the International Science Council and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), and as co-chair of IRDR’s Disaster Loss Data (DATA). She is also an executive committee member of the Committee on Data of the International Science Council (CODATA) and a member the UNSDSN Data for Sustainable Development (TReNDS) committee. In July 2019, she presented at the Science Policy Interface session at the UN High Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development Goals on behalf of the Sendai Framework Stakeholders. Between 2008 to 2017, she was a member of and vice chair of the UNDRR Science and Technology Advisory Group

In addition she has contributed to the development and the implementation of the WHO Health Emergency and Disaster Risk Management Framework,  published in August 2019, including via the WHO Thematic Platform on Health Emergency & Disaster Risk Management Research Network. She is first author of the chapter on Health and Extreme Events in the UN Environment Adaptation Gap Report 2018.  Prior to her current role, she was Head of Extreme Events and Health Protection where she helped to develop evidence-based information and advice on flooding, heat, cold, volcanic ash, and other extreme weather and natural hazards events. She is a medical doctor who has worked as a toxicologist and as a front-line emergency practitioner.


Markus Reichstein, Chair of Risk KAN and Director, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany

Markus is Director of the Biogeochemical Integration Department at the Max-Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Professor for Global Geoecology at the FSU Jena, and Director at the Michael-Stifel-Center Jena for Data-driven and Simulation Science in Jena. His main research interests include ecosystem physiology, carbon and water cycles and their interactions from ecosystem to globe, the impact of climate variability on the carbon cycle and the role of the soil in the Earth System. He and his research group tackle these topics by combining experimental, ground- and satellite-based observations with data-driven and process-oriented models in a model-data integration approach.


John Handmer, Chair of IRDR, University of Melbourne, Australia

John Handmer is an Emeritus Professor at the School of Science, RMIT University, an Honorary Professorial Fellow at Geography, University of Melbourne, and a Visiting Researcher at IIASA, Vienna. He chairs the Scientific Committee of the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) program, and is a Fellow of the Australian Social Science Academy.  His research focuses on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.


Jonathan Abrahams, World Health Organization

Jonathan Abrahams is the WHO Disaster Risk Management Focal Point at the WHO Health Emergencies Programme in WHO, Geneva. He has responsibility for coordinating WHO’s work on health emergency and disaster risk management (EDRM) at a global level and has been undertaking this role in various positions since 2008. As the WHO focal point for the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), he provided advocacy and advice on public health to Member States for the negotiation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 that puts health at the centre of global, national and community action on all-hazard disaster risk management. In his current role, he collaborates with WHO colleagues and partners on all-hazards health EDRM programmes, technical guidance and networks, including safer hospitals, climate change, community preparedness and WHO’s thematic platform on Health-EDRM.


Anne-Sophie Stevance, International Science Council

Anne-Sophie is a Science Officer with the International Science Council. She manages the international science-policy activities related to the Sustainable Developments Goals, the post-2015 framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the new climate agreement. Within these processes, Anne-Sophie coordinates inputs from the international scientific community and supports stronger interface between scientists and policy-makers. Anne-Sophie has also worked on the design and implementation of Future Earth, a new strategic framework for global Earth system research.

She holds a Master degree in political sciences, specialising in sustainable development policies. Before joining the ISC (and ICSU), Anne-Sophie worked as an environmental project officer in a research consultancy and helped integrate engineering and scientific knowledge into local environmental policies. She also has experience in stakeholders’ management at local and European levels to support sustainability initiatives.


James Douris, World Meteorological Organization

Since 2004, Mr James Douris has been a Scientific Officer with the World Meteorological Organization Disaster Risk Reduction Programme in a number of capacities. Prior to working at the WMO, he held positions as a Financial Controller at Credit Suisse bank, Staff Meteorologist at private weather company in the United States and served as a Meteorological Station Chief in the United States Air National Guard. Mr. Douris has a Business and Finance degree from the European University and is a trained and certified Meteorologist.


Urbano Fra Paleo, UNDRR European STAG

Professor (Hab) in Human Geography at the University of Extremadura (Spain), Urbano Fra.Paleo holds a PhD in Geography and a Diploma in Environmental Engineering. He is Visiting Professor at the University for Peace (UPEACE), Costa Rica. He worked at the US Geological Survey in Denver (1995) and Hawai’i (1999), was Research Associate at The Environment Institute of the University of Denver (1996), and Associate Professor (on leave) at the University of Santiago de Compostela (2007-2013). In 2005 he was Fellow of the American Geographical Society Library of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His research interests lie in disaster risk, particularly evaluation of disaster risk governance and analysis of strategies of disaster risk reduction (DRR). He is a member of the European Science & Technology Advisory Group of UNDRR, and Senior Research Fellow of the Earth System Governance Project, he is also member of the honor society Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society.


Qunli Han, Executive Director of IRDR

Han Qunli is currently the Executive Director of IRDR-IPO (Integrated Research on Disaster Risk – International Programme Office), an international programme under co-sponsorship of ISC and UNDRR and with financial support of China. Before entering IRDR in September 2017, he was the Secretary of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB)Programme of UNESCO (June 2013-August 2017). Started in 1990, he served at different positions in UNESCO’s environmental sciences in Paris and Jakarta, and had also several management positions including the Director of Tehran Cluster Office and Director of Executive Office of the Sector of Natural Sciences. With education and training in computer sciences and environmental information systems from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) and Italy, Qunli worked as researcher (1981-1989) for several projects in Xinjiang and Loess Plateau on natural resource survey and regional development planning in China under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.


Chadi Abdallah, UNDRR Arab STAG

Chadi is a researcher at the Lebanese National Council for Scientific Research (CNRS-L), Remote Sensing Center, holding PhD in GIS and RS of natural hazards. Deputy Director and responsible of the Early Warning System platform @ CNRS-L. Adjunct associate research with American University of Beirut (AUB). Member of the DRM committee at the Lebanese presidency of councils. Chair of the Arab Science and Technology Advisory Group for disaster risk reduction (AR-STAG), and member of the UN-expert group on the GRAF.


Osvaldo Luiz Leal Moraes

Osvaldo holds a Graduate and Doctorate in Physics. His field of expertise is Atmospheric Physics. Professor at Federal University of Brazil in Santa Maria. Currently is the Director of the Brazilian Early Warning Monitoring Centre for Natural Disaster (CEMADEN).  He was Head of Centre for Weather Forecast and Climatic Studies (CPTEC) from National Institute for Space Research (INPE), Scientific Director of the Brazilian Meteorological Society and Scientific Director of the Rio Grande do Sul State Research Foundation. Moraes’s publications focus on surface-atmosphere interactions, boundary layer meteorology and disaster risk reduction. Throughout his career, he has helped develop and lead widely-recognized graduate programs and served on advisory committees of the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq).


Nick Moody, Insurance Development Forum

Nick consults to the Risk Modelling Steering Group of the Insurance Development Forum (IDF,) with the agenda of opening up catastrophe risk modelling to all sectors and states, enabling risk insight and financial resilience in vulnerable economies. He previously led the UK Met Office’s programme supporting disaster risk finance, following earlier careers in strategy and risk in the military and global business.


Claire Souch, Insurance Development Forum

Claire has 20 years’ experience of catastrophe risk modelling in the global re/insurance industry across both property and agriculture. She now consults across public-private sector initiatives on risk modelling, uncertainty, climate change and risk financing. She advises several international collaborations including the Insurance Development Forum, the Expert Group of the UNDRR Global Risk Assessment Framework and the Extreme Events and Climate Risks working group of the Geneva Association. Claire held previous positions as head of global R&D at AgRisk specialising in the development of agriculture risk models for Asia, global head of catastrophe model development and evaluation at SCOR Reinsurance, and SVP of Global Model Management and Strategy at Risk Management Solutions. Claire holds a BSc in Environmental Science, an MSc in Water Management and a PhD in drought impacts on renewal energy crops from Cranfield University.


Aslam Perwaiz, UNDRR Asia-Pacific STAG

Aslam Perwaiz is the Deputy Executive Director of the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), an inter-governmental organization based in Bangkok, Thailand.  Mr. Aslam holds a Master’s degree in Statistics and work experience over two decades in Asia, the Pacific, and Africa on economic analysis, sustainable development, disaster and climate risk management. He has represented ADPC at national, regional and international platforms on disaster risk reduction and climate resilience. Among other notable initiatives, he anchored the ADPC’s privates sector engagement “iPrepare Business” facility and post-disaster needs assessment initiative “Ready4Recovery.


Djillali Benouar, UNDRR Africa STAG

Djillali is Professor of Earthquake Engineering and Disaster Risk Management at the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Director of Research at USTHB. He obtained his PhD at Imperial College, University of London (UK) and his Master degree at Stanford University, California (USA) and made his Postdoctoral studies at the University of Tokyo (Japan). He is a founding member of the Algerian Academy of Sciences and Technologies (AAST) and received two international awards for his research from UNESCO and Thomson Reuters. He was a member of the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) Science Committee, member of the Algerian Hazards Network (AHNet) and Coordinator of the Periperi U (Partners Enhancing Resilience to People Exposed to Risks) an African Consortium, composed of 12 African universities, which is an International Center of Excellence (ICoE) of the IRDR programme.


Adam Smith, UNDRR North America STAG

Adam is an applied climatologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information Center for Weather & Climate. He performs research to homogenize and transition disparate disaster data sources into better quality-controlled disaster cost frameworks, as research tools. Additionally, Smith has expertise in developing methods to quantify natural disaster costs and uncertainty: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions

Smith regularly briefs the U.S. Subcommittee on Disaster Reduction on U.S. disaster costs and is a NOAA expert on U.S. disaster loss data in support of the international Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2016-2019), the National Institute of Standards and Technology National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (2018-2019), and the American Meteorological Society Committee on Financial Weather Risk Management (2015–2019) and the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk interdisciplinary working group on Natural Disaster Risk/Loss Data integration (2012–2015) that developed the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk. (2014). Peril Classification and Hazard Glossary (IRDR DATA Publications No. 1).


John Schneider, Secretary General, GEM Foundation

John is the Secretary General of GEM (Global Earthquake Model) Foundation, a non-profit foundation based in Pavia, Italy, which develops and disseminates open data, models and tools to assess earthquake risk worldwide.  John has been involved in earthquake and multi-hazard risk assessment model development and applications for the past 30 years, including in government (Geoscience Australia), and the private sector  (Impact Forecasting and EPRI).  John received a PhD in geophysics from the University of Wisconsin (USA).  He is also currently co-chair of the Mapping & Gap Analysis Group for the UNDRR Global Risk Assessment Framework (GRAF) and a member of the Risk Modelling Steering Group of the Insurance Development Forum (IDF).


Alonso Brenes Torres, ISC ROLAC

Alonso is a lecturer at the University of Costa Rica, at the departments of Geography, Geology, and Political Sciences; as well as international consultant on disaster risk management, climate sciences and territorial development. Since 2005 he has been working on disaster risk management initiatives, especially in projects that try to bridge scientific and technological knowledge with public policies formulation and enforcement in Latin America and the Caribbean.

He is member of the Network of Social Studies on Disasters Prevention in Latin America (LA RED), and the working group on Global Environmental Change, Social Movements, and Public Policies, of the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO). He is also a member of the steering committee on disaster risk reduction of the ICS – ROLAC, the UNESCO’s Group of Experts on Risk Management for Latin America and the Caribbean; and the editorial board of Disaster Prevention and Management Journal.


James Norris, GEO Secretariat

First and foremost, James is a geographer. As a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society he believe that geography and geospatial information (in-situ, spaced-based, human) is essential for the creation, delivery and monitoring of policies which benefit society and the environment. James is on secondment from Ordnance Survey, Great Britain’s National Mapping Agency, to the Group on Earth Observations where he leads GEOs work on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. James was the lead author of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information’s “Future Trends in Geospatial Information Management: the five- to ten-year vision – Second Edition” and most recently was invited by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction to author a chapter in the “Global Assessment Report 2019 Ch4. Opportunities and Enablers for Change. With a background in geospatial policy James is focused on turning scientific research in to action.


Simon Cox, CODATA

Simon has been researching standards for publication and transfer of earth and environmental science data since the emergence of the world wide web. Starting in geophysics and mineral exploration, he has engaged with most areas of environmental science, including water resources, marine data, meteorology, soil, ecology and biodiversity. He is principal- or co-author of a number of international standards, including Geography Markup Language, and Observations & Measurements, that have been broadly adopted in Australia and Internationally. The value of these is in enabling data from multiple origins and disciplines to be combined more effectively, which is essential in tackling most contemporary problems in science and society. His current work focuses on aligning science information with the semantic web technologies and linked open data principles, and the formalization, publication and maintenance of controlled vocabularies and similar reference data.


Simon Hodson, CODATA

Simon Hodson has been Executive Director of CODATA since August 2013. He is an expert on data policy issues and research data management. He has contributed to influential reports on Current Best Practice for Research Data Management Policies and to the Science International Accord on Open Data in a Big Data World.  Most recently he chaired the European Commission’s Expert Group on FAIR Data which produced the report Turning FAIR into Reality.

As part of his CODATA role, Simon is closely involved in an ISC and CODATA initiative to improve the coordination of standards for data integration and interoperability for interdisciplinary research and in the coordination of the CODATA Data Policy Committee. In recent years, Simon has been a co-chair (2015-2018) of the GEO Data Sharing Working Group, to which CODATA has made a long-term contribution; and co-chair of the OECD Global Science Forum and CODATA Project on Sustainable Business Models for Research Data Repositories.


Katie Peters, Overseas Development Institute

Katie Peters has been a Senior Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) since 2011. Leading ODI’s portfolio on the intersection of natural hazard-related disasters, climate change and conflict, her research focuses on disaster risk reduction in fragile and conflict affected states, the relationship between climate change and conflict, and the securitisation of climate change. Over the last 15 years Katie has provided technical advice to the UK, Australia, Switzerland and Japan, worked with a range of UN agencies and the World Bank, coordinated over 120 non-governmental organisations through the BRACED network, and worked in the field for NGOs such CARE International and Saferworld – across East Africa, the Sahel and South and South-East Asia.


Lucille Angles, UNESCO

Lucille is a disaster risk and resilience consultant currently with UNESCO’s Earth Sciences and Geo-Hazards Risk Reduction Section (NaturalSciences Sector). Lucille coordinates the Global Alliance for Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience in the Education Sector (GADRRRES). GADRRRES is a multi-stakeholder mechanism composed of UN agencies, international organizations, and global networks. Partners work to ensure that all schools are safe from disaster risks and all learners live in a culture of safety. Lucille holds an MSc in Sustainable Urbanism from UCL, London.


Peter Kearns, OECD

Peter is a Principal Administrator, at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). He works in OECD’s Environment, Health and Safety Division which addresses issues related to the human health and environmental safety of chemicals, pesticides, nanotechnology and biotechnology. During his 28 years at the OECD, he has focused on promoting international harmonisation in regulatory aspects of emerging and converging technologies. This work is evidence-based and science-based; it is where innovation meets regulation.

Peter manages OECD’s Nanosafety Programme and its Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials, which is comprised of delegates from OECD governments, as well as heading up OECD’s Environmental Biosafety Programme, the Programme on Chemical Accident Prevention, Preparedness and Response.


Jack Radisch, OECD

Jack Radisch is Senior Project Manager of the OECD High Level Risk Forum. He works with governments and industries to identify best practices in the management of complex risks.

He provides policy advice and fosters consensus across countries on questions concerning the good governance of major risks. He has published numerous articles and OECD peer reviews on risk management policies, was co-author of the G20/ OECD Framework on Disaster Risk Assessment and Risk Financing, and was main author of the OECD publication ‘Future Global Shocks’. He has worked as a public policy analyst in various fields related to the economics of security, with a focus over the past five years on countering illicit trade. Mr. Radisch is also a licensed attorney and continues to provide pro bono legal advice to indigent clients and non-profit groups.


Pascal Peduzzi, UN Environment

Pascal is the director of GRID-Geneva at the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) – a team of 20 scientists who are transforming data into information to support decisions making processes. He holds a PhD and a MSc in Environmental Sciences, with specialization in remote sensing and GIS. He is coordinating the implementation of the World Environment Situation Room, a data platform for monitoring the state of Earth Environment. As a part-time professor at the University of Geneva, Pascal teaches courses on environmental sciences, modelling disaster risk as well as on Sustainable Development.

His main areas of research are links between Global Environment Change and Risk and he is also involved in identifying Emerging Environmental Issues, as the initiator of the Environment Alert Bulletin, co-coordinator of the UN Environment Foresight report on Emerging Issues.


Michael Nagy, UNECE

Michael is an environmental statistics and environmental-economic accounting expert at the Statistical Division of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) with 20 years of experience. At UNECE he coordinates methodological work and capacity development activities related to environment statistics, environmental-economic accounting, climate change-related statistics and disaster-related statistics.

He is member of various international expert groups and has been playing a central role in the development of international statistical standards and guidelines such as the International Recommendations for Water Statistics (IRWS) and the United Nations Framework for the Development of Environment Statistics (FDES).


Chang Hun Choe, IFRC

Choe is currently working as a Resilience Coordinator of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. He has 30 years’ experience of working for the RCRC. He worked for the Red Cross Society of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as a Deputy Secretary General and for the IFRC country offices in Georgia, Armenia, Iran and Myanmar as DRR coordinator, Programme Coordinator, Recovery Coordinator and Head of Delegation. Since 2011 he has worked at the IFRC Secretariat as the Senior Officer for DRR and then the Resilience Coordinator. The areas of his expertise include disaster and crisis management, DRR, resilience and National Society Development.


Wirya Khim

Natural Resources/Resilience Officer, FAO Geneva

Ms Khim has more than 10 years of experience in the fields of natural resources management, disaster risk reduction, community-based adaptation to climate change, climate-smart agriculture, land use planning, and environmental education and capacity development. Before joining FAO Geneva in November 2015, she worked in FAO country and regional offices as Natural Resources Management Officer from May 2010 to October 2015. Ms Khim holds a Master of Environmental Management with Merit and Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Science in Natural Resources Management from Massey University in New Zealand, specializing in community-based adaptation to climate change, community-based disaster risk reduction and land use planning.


Annisa Triyanti

Young Scientist, Global STAG

Annisa is a Postdoctoral researcher on the topic of water and climate governance in deltas at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University. She obtained her PhD from the Governance and Inclusive Development Group, the University of Amsterdam with research on the topic of governance of mangrove ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction in Indonesia and India. She is also appointed as the young scientist representative for the Global Science and Technology Advisory Group on Disaster Risk Reduction, UNDRR from 2017-2019. She has been a global youth advocate with 5 years of experience in both civil society and young scientist engagement as a stakeholder group representative on the intergovernmental level. Annisa has an extensive understanding of both technical/scientific and political aspects of the global policy processes on disaster risk reduction, climate change, and sustainable development.


To be in contact with the task group, contact: hazards.terminology@phe.gov.uk


Photo by Hans-Peter Gauster on Unsplash

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