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Review of hazards definition and classification 

Status: In progress
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The project aims to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, better understand and define hazards, and support a multi-hazard approach, through a light-touch review of the UNDRR-ISC Hazard Information Profiles (HIPs).

Background

The Hazard Information Profiles (HIPs) published in 2021 by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the International Science Council (ISC) offer scientifically sound definitions for 302 hazards, supporting the multi-hazard approach of the Sendai Framework. 

These definitions are organized into eight groups: Meteorological & Hydrological, Extraterrestrial, Geological, Environmental, Chemical, Biological, Technological, and Societal. They provide a common understanding that empowers governments and stakeholders to strategize and act effectively in risk reduction and management. 

Recognized as “groundbreaking” in the 2023 Midterm Review of the Sendai Framework, the Hazard Information Profiles offer extensive information across sectors like disaster risk reduction planning, monitoring, training, and research. They are widely embraced by various stakeholders, fostering a comprehensive approach to disaster risk monitoring and planning. 

The review process 

Three years after their publication, the UNDRR and the ISC have initiated an update of the HIPs to ensure they continue to be usable, useful and used. This review will focus on adding new and relevant scientific information on specific hazards and the multi-hazard context. 

Under the joint leadership of the UNDRR and the ISC, the second phase of the Hazard Information Profiles has been initiated in August 2023.

The review process, led by UNDRR and ISC, is guided by a Steering Group, bringing together experts from UN agencies, academia, private sectors and international organizations. The Steering Committee is supported by eight technical teams, each one dedicated to one of the hazard groups. A User Group has also been set up to provide feedback from a user point of view to ensure that the HIPs continue to be usable, useful and used by different stakeholders in a broad range of sectors.

The updated HIPs will be launched at the 8th session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva in June 2025.

Rationale of the project

This project stems from the partnership agreement between UNDRR and the ISC. In May 2019, the two organizations jointly established a Technical Working Group (TWG) to identify the full scope of hazards relevant to the Sendai Framework and the scientific definitions of these hazards, drawing on the internationally agreed UN definitions and available scientific literature.

Every year, extreme events and hazards of different origins lead to disasters affecting thousands of people and resulting in significant human, environmental and economic losses. Countries and communities are implementing initiatives to reduce disaster risks and plan for response and reconstruction.  

The first step of these initiatives is to better understand the different hazards they face. A better understanding of hazards constitutes one of the four priorities of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the global framework approved by 187 countries in 2015. 

To support this priority, an initiative was launched by scientists in May 2019, during the 6th session of the Global Platform for DRR, to address paragraph 24j of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030: “To strengthen technical and scientific capacity to capitalize on and consolidate existing knowledge and to develop and apply methodologies and models to assess disaster risks, vulnerabilities and exposure to all hazards.” 

The UNDRR-ISC Hazard Information Profiles, supplement to the technical report, explored the definition of a hazard as a “process, phenomenon or human activity that may cause loss of life, injury, or other health impacts, property damage, social and economic disruption or environmental degradation” (UNGA, 2016: p.18, 2017) and provided guidance to the scope of issues that should be considered as part of holistic disaster risk management strategies. 


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Activities and impact 


Hazard Information Profiles

This report is a Supplement to the UNDRR-ISC Hazard Definition and Classification Review – Technical report released in July 2020. Aligned with the list of hazards published in the Technical Report, this Supplement comprises of a description of each of the 302 hazard information profiles (HIPs), developed using a consultative process by scientists and experts across the globe.



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Systemic Risk

Review and opportunities for research, policy and practice from the perspective of climate, environmental and disaster risk science and management


The revised HIPs will be launched at the Global Platform for DRR on 2-6 June 2025, together with a report to guide HIPs users. Additional publications are planned, with a focus on the multi-hazards approach in the HIPs.  

Funding

This activity is supported with funding for international scientific collaboration on disaster risk reduction from the International Centre of Excellence of the International Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) programme hosted by the Academy of Sciences in Taipei. The project is also supported by in-kind contributions from partners, such as the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

Steering Group

Chair

Prof. Virginia Murray

Prof. Virginia Murray

Head of Global Disaster Risk Reduction

UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA)

Prof. Virginia Murray

ISC and UNDRR leads

Anne-Sophie Stevance

Anne-Sophie Stevance

Senior Science Officer, Head

Global Science Policy Unit, International Science Council

Anne-Sophie Stevance
Jenty Kirsch-Wood

Jenty Kirsch-Wood

Head of Global Risk Analysis

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR)

Jenty Kirsch-Wood

Other members

Dr. Andrea Hinwood

Dr. Andrea Hinwood

Chief Scientist

United Nations Environment Programme

Dr. Andrea Hinwood
Bapon Fakhruddin

Bapon Fakhruddin

Water and Climate Leader

Green Climate Fund

Bapon Fakhruddin
Jim Douris

Jim Douris

Project Officer

World Meteorological Organization

Jim Douris
Justin Ginnetti

Justin Ginnetti

Senior Officer

Information Management and Risk Analysis at International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

Justin Ginnetti
Nicholas Bishop

Nicholas Bishop

Global DRR Programme Lead

International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Nicholas Bishop
Osvaldo Luiz Leal de Moraes

Osvaldo Luiz Leal de Moraes

Full Professor

Federal University of Brazil

Osvaldo Luiz Leal de Moraes
Qudsia Huda

Qudsia Huda

Head of Disaster Risk Management and Resilience Unit

Health Emergency Program of World Health Organization (WHO)

Qudsia Huda
Simon Hodson

Simon Hodson

Executive Director

CODATA

Simon Hodson
Tom De Groeve

Tom De Groeve

Head of the Disaster Risk Management Unit

Joint Research Centre of the European Commission

Tom De Groeve
Urbano Fra Paleo

Urbano Fra Paleo

Full Professor of Human Geography

University of Extremadura, Spain

Urbano Fra Paleo
Victoria Hollertz

Victoria Hollertz

Head of Global Programmes

UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA)

Victoria Hollertz
Wirya Khim

Wirya Khim

Lead of the Disaster Risk Reduction Team

FAO’s Office of Emergencies and Resilience

Wirya Khim

News & Events View all

news
08 July 2024 - 6 min read

Enhancing disaster preparedness: User feedback drives improvements to UNDRR-ISC Hazard Information Profiles

Learn more Learn more about Enhancing disaster preparedness: User feedback drives improvements to UNDRR-ISC Hazard Information Profiles
news
21 June 2024 - 5 min read

International Science Council appoints new members to IRDR Scientific Committee

Learn more Learn more about International Science Council appoints new members to IRDR Scientific Committee
flooded houses blog
09 April 2024 - 4 min read

Disaster risk reduction: UNDRR and ISC to review Hazard Information Profiles ahead of 2025 Global Platform

Learn more Learn more about Disaster risk reduction: UNDRR and ISC to review Hazard Information Profiles ahead of 2025 Global Platform

Project team

Hélène Jacot des Combes

Hélène Jacot des Combes

Project Manager

Global Science Policy Unit, International Science Council

Hélène Jacot des Combes

Publications View all

publications
24 August 2023

Hazards with escalation potential: Governing the drivers of global and existential catastrophes

Learn more Learn more about Hazards with escalation potential: Governing the drivers of global and existential catastrophes
publications
28 February 2023

Report for the Mid-Term Review of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction

Learn more Learn more about Report for the Mid-Term Review of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction
publications
24 May 2022

Policy Brief: Harnessing data to accelerate the transition from disaster response to recovery

Learn more Learn more about Policy Brief: Harnessing data to accelerate the transition from disaster response to recovery

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