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Updated United Nations Disaster Resilience Scorecard launched

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Storm gathering above buildings in Manhattan, New York City. “The Disaster Resilience Scorecard for Cities is a highly effective way to bring city stakeholders together to anticipate, mitigate, prepare for and recover from the effects of a hazard in a timely and efficient manner,” said Robert Glasser, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction.

An updated ‘Disaster Resilience Scorecard’, created to help cities and local government agencies improve their preparedness and reduce risks from disasters, was launched on 25 May. Developed for the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction by AECOM and IBM, with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the European Commission, the Scorecard aims to provide better access to information, knowledge resources and tools to effectively reduce risks from the impacts of natural hazards and climate change. This is part of United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction’s (UNISDR) Making Cities Resilient Campaign, which currently has 3,500 signatory cities.

Losses due to disasters from natural and man-made hazards including floods, storms and the impacts of climate change are mounting and on average cost governments over US$300 billion globally each year. The Scorecard provides a set of assessments that cover the policy and planning, engineering, organisational, financial, social and environmental aspects of disaster resilience. Designed to be led by local government authorities, the Scorecard aims to assist in monitoring and reviewing progress in the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction: 2015-2030, the global plan to reduce disaster losses.

Robert Glasser, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, said: “National governments have the primary responsibility of implementing the Sendai Framework working with many stakeholders, and the Scorecard is a valuable support.”

“Disaster resilience is a broad and complex endeavor that involves far more than just emergency response. It entails thinking, planning and collaborating between agencies, governments, private sector and communities in advance, during and after the event,” said Peter Williams, chief technology officer, IBM Big Green Innovations. “The Disaster Resilience Scorecard for Cities is a highly effective way to bring city stakeholders together to anticipate, mitigate, prepare for and recover from the effects of a hazard in a timely and efficient manner.”

“Applying the new scorecard can be an important first step towards building resilience to disasters. Based on the feedback we’ve received so far, we are confident the new Scorecard is pitched at an appropriate level to facilitate productive conversation – most likely through a short workshop – in cities,” said AECOM’s Ben Smith, director, sustainable development, and co-author of the scorecard. “It can help capture what works well and what needs to be improved and can support cities in establishing action plans and prioritising investment to improve their resilience. We’ve also developed supporting tools to make using the scorecard easier for cities.”

Greater Manchester in the U.K. participated in an EU funded pilot project to implement the Scorecard along with four other European cities, including Stoke on Trent, Amadora, Arvika and Jonkoping.

Kathy Oldham, Head of Civil Contingencies and Resilience Unit, Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA), commented: “Using the Disaster Resilience Scorecard gave us the opportunity to broaden and deepen our understanding of resilience, bringing together partners from across the city region in conversations to explore the different issues the Scorecard highlights. Using the framework of indicators and standards enabled us to create a snapshot of our current resilience, to build new relationships between organisations who have a role in mitigating the risks of emergencies and to draw on ideas and innovation from across the globe”

The Scorecard is structured around the United Nation’s 10 Essentials of Disaster Resilience to enable cities to identify priorities for investment and to track progress over time. The goal is to guide cities towards optimal resilience, while challenging complacency and reminding authorities and stakeholders that there is always more to be done to ensure lasting resilience. The new scorecard replaces UNISDR’s Local Government Self-Assessment Tool, with local governments now encouraged to use the scorecard to set baselines, identify gaps and develop action plans.

The Scorecard is a free self-assessment tool to be used by cities or local government agencies. The full scorecard can be accessed via the UNISDR website here.

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