10 February 2014 - 11 February 2014
IIASA, Laxenburg

UNISDR – IIASA Expert Meeting on the development of a Disaster
Risk Management (DRM) Indicator System

IIASA researchers will join UNISDR to lead development of a new system of indicators to measure progress in disaster risk management

The Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDDR) will be held in Sendai City, Japan in March 2015, at which countries will adopt the post‐2015 framework for disaster risk reduction (HFA2). UNISDR - in collaboration with IIASA researchers and leading experts in related fields - is developing a new system of DRM indicators, which will contribute to discussions on HFA2 and WCDRR. This initiative follows the fourth session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, held in May 2013 in which 3,500 participants from 172 countries called for an immediate start of work to be led by the UNISDR to develop targets and indicators to monitor the reduction of risk and the implementation of HFA2. The successor framework will address the challenges posed by increasing disaster risk over the next 20 to 30 years.

To date, the achievement of the HFA has been monitored against a set of 22 core indicators across the five Priority Areas.  Although these indicators have generated the most significant global repository of information available on the progress reported by governments in reducing disaster risk, the experience of three biennial review cycles in 2009, 2011 and 2013 has highlighted weaknesses, for example:

  • The HFA itself is structured largely around corrective risk management and disaster management. Only HFA Priority Area 4 relates to anticipatory or prospective risk management.  Therefore the HFA Monitor is only of limited value in assessing whether risk reduction is addressing the underlying risk drivers.
  • Progress is not considered with respect to the disaster risk a country faces.  For example If countries with very low disaster risk report significant progress in achieving the HFA, it is perhaps less significant than even minor progress reported by a very high risk country.
  • Most of the HFA core indicators are input‐related rather than output‐related.  Therefore, while the HFA Monitor may highlight how many countries have new disaster risk reduction legislation this does not necessarily indicate whether the legislation is effective in reducing risks.  The HFA Monitor cannot measure whether the strategic objective of the HFA, a reduction in risks, is being achieved or not.
  • Many of the core indicators relate to multiple policies, meaning that it is difficult to monitor public policy on disaster risk reduction.  There is also duplication between indicators.
  • Self‐assessment by governments is per se subjective, meaning that the quantitative benchmarking undertaken by countries does not provide a valid means of inter‐country comparison.

The proposed new indicator system will address these weaknesses, thereby raising public and stakeholder awareness and informing global policy discussions on the post‐2015 framework. 

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Last edited: 05 February 2014


Junko Mochizuki

Research Scholar

Water/Water Security

Risk and Resilience

T +43(0) 2236 807 576

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313