Effective decision-making in disaster risk management requires good risk data. That’s why at the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR)’s Open Data for Resilience Initiative (OpenDRI), our work focuses on improving processes surrounding the dissemination, creation, and communication of risk data—from using drones to map flood vulnerability in Niger to building a geospatial data sharing platform in Bangladesh.
And while much more progress is needed to improve the quality and availability of risk data, the good news is that governments, international agencies, and scientific institutions are increasingly making their data open and available to planners, civil contingency managers, and responders. Combined with advances in technology, the movement for open data is generating an unprecedented volume of risk data. OpenDRI’s Open Data for Resilience Index monitors this trend by tracking the existence, availability, and openness of data on disaster risk and resilience worldwide.
One key challenge now is how best to capture, analyze, and communicate this data to inform decision-making. In an effort to provide a framework to guide the use of data in disaster risk management, OpenDRI has developed 10 principles that can be applied throughout a project’s life cycle to help ensure that risk data is used effectively for decision-making. Below, we break down these guiding principles and provide practical examples of how they have been applied.
- Put users at the center of project design
Risk information must be grounded in the needs of users at relevant geographic and time scales and provided through accessible and understandable formats. In a successful example of this practice, UNDP Myanmar’s SESAME (Specialized Expert System for Agro-Meteorological Early Warning) drew on local cropping practices to develop location-specific agro-advisories which covered multiple timescales.
- Engage inclusively with affected populations
- Cultivate a shared understanding of the problem
- Co-create data with users of risk information
- Promote openness in data sharing, coding, and innovation
- Understand the users of risk information
- Select appropriate communication channels for communicating risk
- Ensure that strategies are sustainable
- Encourage a culture of continuous learning and self-assessment
- Generate dialogue and debate
The key indicator of the impact of risk information on decision-making is the degree to which it generates discussion by the users of that information. OpenDRI’s Serious Games, for instance, fostered robust dialogue between users of risk information—government officials, experts, and non-experts alike—over the course of a simulation of a flood scenario for the city of La Plata, Argentina.
Interested in open data for resilience? These 10 guiding principles are the foundation of OpenDRI’s Design for Impact framework, which aims to provide project designers with a framework to guide them in using risk data for disaster risk management. Check it out!
READ MORE:Open Data for Resilience Index
Report: Design for Impact Framework: Integrating Open Data and Risk Communication for Decision-Making
Report: 10: A Decade of Progress in Disaster Risk Management
Blog: How can Bangladesh increase its resilience through data sharing
Blog: Paying it forward in a digital age: A global community committed to a mapped world
Blog: Simulating disaster risk management decisions through interactive games