The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) through its Science and Technology Advisory Group (STAG) established a working group on 'Data' that has been active during 2018 and 2019. This is a part of the UNDRR drive to enhance implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) and achieve risk-informed development through science-based decision making at local, national and regional level.

The Data Working Group (DWG) has been coordinated with a selection of people working with approaches to disasters and who are active in making data work for DRR. This DWG report, completed in draft at the end of 2019 and now finalised, presents concept, activities and the implications derived from networking, interviews and sharing of policy, practice and ideas in international forums that contributed to the outlook presented here.

Partnerships have become a cornerstone of contemporary research that recognizes working across disciplines and co-production with intended users as essential to enabling sustainable resilience-building. Furthermore, research that addresses sustainable development challenges brings an urgent need to reflect on the ways tha tpartnerships are supported, and for the disaster risk management and resilience communities, efforts to support realization of the wider 2030 Agenda for sustainable development bring particular pressures. In November 2019, the UK Disasters Research Group (DRG) brought together a number of key stakeholders focused on disaster risk, resilience, and sustainability research relevant to Official Development Assistance to consider how fit for purpose existing partnership models are for the pace of change required to deliver the priorities of the wider 2030 Agenda. Participants were invited to discuss how research partnerships across three levels (individual and project-based; national and institutional; and international) could be improved based on elements that facilitate robust partnerships and learning from aspects that hinder them. From the discussions, participants emphasized the importance of effective communication mechanisms in building partnerships, co-designing projects, and establishing shared objectives. Enhanced approaches to addressing equitable partnerships and funding more substantive timelines will be key to responding to the challenges of the 2030 Agenda.

Health emergency and disaster risk management (Health-EDRM) has recently emerged as a critical field for research, policy and practice as a result of the growing recognition of health as a core dimension in disaster risk management. Global frameworks such as the WHO 13th General Programme of Work (GPW13), the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the International Health Regulations (IHR) have goals, targets and indicators that monitor the health impact of disasters and emergencies and resilience in health systems and communities. Policies and actions guided by the best possible evidence are therefore critical for managing the health risks of emergencies and disasters. However, the evidence base in Health-EDRM is very limited, reflecting the overall lack of research in this area. To address this gap, the WHO Thematic Platform for Health EDRM Research Network (Health EDRM RN) set out to develop a reference book about methods to guide Health-EDRM research: the WHO Guidance on Research Methods for Health and Disaster Risk Management was published on 11 September 2020.

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 to 2030 ('the Sendai Framework') was one of three landmark agreements adopted by the United Nations in 2015, the other two being the Sustainable Development Goals of Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The UNDRR/ISC Sendai Hazard Definition and Classification Review technical report supports all three by providing a common set of hazard definitions for monitoring and reviewing implementation which calls for 'a data revolution, rigorous accountability mechanisms and renewed global partnerships'.

'Disasters result when a natural or man-made hazard affects a human settlement which is not appropriately resourced or organised to withstand the impact, and whose population is vulnerable because of poverty, exclusion or socially disadvantaged in some way.'

This goes to the heart of our understanding of disaster risk and how we need to respond in terms of disaster risk governance and how that manifests itself in actionable national and local disaster risk reduction strategies aligned with the Sendai Framework and its efforts to reduce disaster losses.

Read more from Mami Mizutori.

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 is the UN framework agreement for disaster risk reduction. It replaces the Hyogo Framework for Action.

The Framework outlines seven clear targets and four priorities for action to prevent new disaster risks and reduce existing ones:

  1. Understanding disaster risk
  2. Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk
  3. Investing in disaster reduction for resilience
  4. Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response, and to "Build Back Better" in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction.

The UK government is a signatory to this Framework.


Dickinson, C, Aitsi-Selmi, A, Basasbe, P, Wannous, C, and Murray, V.  2016.  Global Community of Disaster Risk Reduction Scientists and Decision Makers Endorse a Science and Technology Partnership to Support the Implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030.  International Journal of Disaster Risk Science 7(1).  doi:10.1007/s13753-016-0080-y

Aitsi-Selmi, A, Murray, V, Wannous, C, Dickinson, C, Johnston, D, Kawasaki, A, Stevance, A-S, Yeung, T, et al.  2016.  Reflections on a Science and Technology Agenda for 21st Century Disaster Risk Reduction. Based on the scientific content of the 2016 UNISDR Science and Technology Conference on the Implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030.  International Journal of Disaster Risk Science 7(1). doi:10.1007/s13753-016-0081-x.

The Royal Society has been active in reviewing UK science in building resilience and convened discussion on UK science for Sendai.

The UK research councils fund research on all aspects of disaster science, from social vulnerability and risk perception to hazard modelling and engineering, medical interventions and cultural interpretation. Increasingly, research councils collaborate to support inter- and multi-disciplinary research, and support is enhanced by partnership with government or other national research councils. Please see Research Councils UK for detailed updates.

The Department for International Development also funds UKADR directly, e.g. through its Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Extremes and Disasters (BRACED) programme and other programmes including the Climate & Development Knowledge Network (CDKN).

Private research funders are also very active, notably Wellcome Trust's programme on Health in Humanitarian Crises.

The Disaster Risk Management Knowledge Centre (DRMKC) provides a networked approach to the science-policy interface in DRM, across the Commission, EU Member States and the DRM community within and beyond the EU. DRMKC send out a bi-monthly newsletter on research and policy developments, conferences and funding opportunities from the European Union.

The UK Government's process of review and engagement with science and innovation for humanitarian action and disaster risk reduction has been guided by Lord Ashdown's Humanitarian Emergency Response Review (2011). This was followed by a Government Office of Science report into Reducing the Risk of Future Disasters (2012).

Recent discussions in Government include those captured by Hansard where progress since Sendai has been debated.

Useful links