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Mon March 04 2024

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Aecom and IBM produce disaster resilience guidance

29 May 17 Aecom and IBM have launched an updated version of the United Nations Disaster Resilience Scorecard, designed to help local authorities improve their emergency planning.

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. 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 more than US$300 billion globally each year, it is estimated.

The scorecard has been developed for the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction by Aecom and IBM, with support from United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the European Commission. The updated version has been designed to provide better access to information, knowledge resources and tools for the reduction of risks from the impacts of natural hazards and climate change. It is part of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction’s (UNISDR) Making Cities Resilient Campaign, which currently has 3,500 signatory cities.

The scorecard provides a set of assessments that cover the policy and planning, engineering, organisational, financial, social and environmental aspects of disaster resilience.

It is designed to be led by local government authorities 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.”

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Aecom sustainable development director Ben Smith, co-author of the scorecard, said: “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. 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.”

IBM Big Green Innovations chief technology officer Peter Williams said: “Disaster resilience is a broad and complex endeavour 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. 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.”

Greater Manchester 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 at the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA), said: "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."

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