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Building stronger links with the disaster risk community – GDA at UR22 conference

The World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) organised the Understanding Risk 2022 (UR22) forum between 28 November and 02 December 2022. Based in Florianopolis (Brazil) with satellite events taking place in London (UK), Wellington (New Zealand), Niamey (Niger) and British Columbia (Canada), UR22 was attended by more than 2000 people including online participants. The GDA AID Disaster Resilience team was present in Florianopolis, where it participated in one of the panel discussion.

From left to right: Alberto Lorenzo (Indra, leader of the ESA’s GDA Disaster Resilience project), Pierre Chrzanowsky (member of the Digital Earth Partnership) and Alex Chunet (ESA representative to the World Bank)

Since 2010, the Understanding Risk forum has been gathering every two years the global community of disaster risk experts and practitioners to discuss best practices related to disaster risk management. Alex Chunet, representative of ESA at the World Bank (WB), participated in the 2022 conference with the main objective of promoting the use of Earth Observation (EO) for Disaster Resilience operations and the expertise of European companies on this topic.

Both Alex Chunet and Alberto Lorenzo (Indra, leader of the GDA AID Disaster Resilience activity) took part in the panel discussion entitled “Digital Earth Partnership: How to Make Earth Observation for the Most Vulnerable?”, during which the sustainable integration of EO within World Bank’s projects and the adoption of this technology by beneficiary countries was addressed. Part of the discussion focused on the validation of EO products as well as on the communication of accuracy and uncertainty to the users. Those aspects are very closely related to the effort made by ESA to improve the acceptance and adoption of EO technologies by the WB Disaster Risk Management community. Stakeholders from the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team and Crisis Ready also took part in this session, chaired by Pierre Chrzanowsky (WB – Digital Earth Partnership).

Watch in replay the UR22 Panel discussion “Digital Earth Partnership: How to make Earth Observation for the Most Vulnerable?”

The conference was also a great opportunity to reconnect and reengage with WB stakeholders, as many were present in Florianopolis. The GDA team discussed with them the continuation of the cooperation through capacity building actions and further support from the EO European industry. In particular, the following on-going activities were addressed:

  • The use case “Support to design and suitability of Natural Based Solutions using flood hazard and green infrastructure mapping”, with members of the Global Program on Nature Based Solutions for climate resilience;
  • Conversations with the Global Program for Disaster Risk Analytics were very useful to boost the use case “Improved EO-based analytics to provide disaster risk metrics at national level in support to Country Climate Development Reports (CCDR)”
  • Finally, the GDA action discussed with representatives of the Digital Earth Partnership to create potential links with the Resilience Academy activity.

Meeting the WB Disaster Risk Management community enabled to build stronger links with them and to ensure the sustainability of the products and services delivered through GDA activities. Moreover, participating to this event allowed the GDA Disaster Resilience consortium to meet with a wide range of stakeholders working in the disaster resilience field, including government agencies, multilateral organisations, the private sector, non-governmental organisations, research institutions, community-based organisations, and the civil society. Therefore, it was a unique opportunity to communicate on the activities implemented under the GDA programme to support the integration of those technologies within the operations of International Financial Institutions.