DRR and data in the news

Scientific collections and databases review by MBIE, New Zealand

LINZ report on 15 August will improve datasets for resilience in New Zealand

IBM with humanitarian organisations as partners launched Call for Code Global Initiative to support disaster recovery

KDDI, OYO and Toyota using IoT to gather data for disaster prevention

SDG experts discuss plans to save biodiversity

IGES releases a policy to localise ASEAN SDGs

A UN Human Rights Council discussed how to achieve SDGs

High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development talked of data revolution

UN Biodiversity Lab supports conservation and development with spatial data

HLPF discussed with participants on how to turn local
data into action

Using gender data to track SDG progress

Quidgest and the Government of El Salvador, in partnership with UNDP launch Data Portal to monitor
SDG projects

Latest information from OECD about impacts of digitalisation

Can more accessible data equal less disaster in Asia-Pacific?

India using soil study data to forecast flood


Publications on DRR
and data

Assessing the Real Cost of Disasters- the need for better evidence

Development and Implementation of the World Health Organization Emergency Medical Teams: Minimum Technical Standards and Recommendations for Rehabilitation

Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals 2018
by the World Bank

Climate Change Open Data for Sustainable Development: Case studies from Tanzania and Sierra Leone

Prevention, Preparedness and Response to Natural and Man-made Disasters in the Eastern Partnership Countries

Upcoming DRR
and data events

Data Science Journal call for publication on
1 September 2018 – First Submission deadline

Innovative Data-Driven Platforms for Complex Earth & Space Science Applications. The deadline for abstract submission is Wednesday, 1 August 23:59 EDT

Understanding Risk Balkans 2018 by the Water Youth Network on 17-19 September 2018

UR Tanzania 2018 is presenting new spatial tools and risk data on 29–30 August 2018

UR Finance Pacific 2018 offers discussions and training on 16-19 October 2018

Risk Data Hub & Austrian Disaster Network Days– 11-12 October 2018

The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) of Cambodia is executing the Asia Development Bank (ADB) financed “Rural Roads Improvement Project”, with Nordic Development Fund (NDF) providing parallel grant financing for Climate Change Adaptation Output (CCAO).

The project is a first for Asia and ADB is keen to see the Kingdom of Cambodia pilot replicated in other countries.


Cambodia faces an increasing incidence of disasters with severe damage, high costs and threats to lives and livelihoods, especially due to flooding. NDF, through the CCAO, is assisting MRD in establishing a pilot emergency warning system and emergency response facilities in Kampong Thom province.

This was a unique project for which the CCAO team was, for the first time in any Asian country, able to directly connect at-risk people to infrastructure sectors and the development of early warning and emergency response systems.

“Coping with climate change is highly important to rural development,” said H.E. Chang Darong, Director General for Technical Affairs at the Royal Government of Cambodia’s Ministry of Rural Development (MRD).

“We continue to seek advanced solutions to improve the Kingdom of Cambodia’s rural resilience. The emergency response component of the project was so successful, that ADB is keen to see it replicated in other districts in Cambodia.”

Tonkin + Taylor disaster risk resilience expert, Dr Bapon (Shm) Fakhruddin said: “The transport sector deals with roads and transportation, but underneath it all, it is for the people. The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) is now able to understand the link between community roading needs and disaster risk, which enables them to set up rural infrastructure and support for the community,” said

“It was a dream project – to holistically enhance people’s safety and wellbeing and not just focus on asset management. It had never happened in any sector in Asia before.”

CCAO also incorporated significant Emergency Management Systems objectives, as well as implementation strategies.

Of Cambodia’s 16.1 million people (World Bank, 2017), 82% live in rural areas. The country is rich in minerals, although most of its rural population are farmers. Three years ago, Cambodia exceeded the Millennium Development Goal and became one of the best performers in poverty reduction worldwide, with poverty reducing by 53% (World Bank, 20 February 2014). Although increased rice prices and production made a big difference, improved roading was a key player in poverty reduction, providing easy access for farmers taking their produce to market.


But Cambodia is still teetering on the brink and an economic set-back could happen at any time. It faces an increasing incidence of devastating climate change-related floods – which threaten lives and livelihoods and leave massive repair bills in their wake – and long periods of drought. The 2016 drought was the worst in decades, plunging millions of people into poverty and despair, killing wildlife and leaving lake and river fish high and dry. The country also still carries the social and economic scars left by 30 years of war.

The “Outcomes 1” planning phase took place from 2012 – 2015. An implementation plan was developed for a pilot climate change office at MRD, which is still working on the ADB loan -financed rural roads improvement project. Communities were selected for early warning and emergency response assessments, socio-economic surveys, capacity development plans, coordination mechanisms and procurement plans for the establishing of coordination and operational offices at province and district level, along with community shelters.

“Outcomes 2” (2015 to 2017) focused on implementation and establishing of early warning systems, emergency response facilities and capacity development. Cheu Teal, in Kampong Thom’s Sandan district, was chosen as a pilot area. Most of its access roads flood during the rainy season, cutting off communities and endangering lives.

The team took a pragmatic, “bottom-up” approach, starting with discussions and needs assessments at community level. Once these were completed, the practical work to improve safety and resilience got underway.

Three flood shelters were established in Kai Raing, Ang Doung Pring, and Cheu Teal. An Emergency Operations Centre was developed at Cheu Teal and an Emergency Information Centre established for Kampong Thom Province. Simulation exercises taught locals how to use roading networks to quickly access emergency shelters. Alternative route information and improved safety route signage was provided and, for the most vulnerable community, an evacuation boat was supplied.

“These facilities will build confidence within the communities to respond better to natural disasters,” said Dr Fakhruddin. “The shelters are multipurpose, not only providing safety during disastrous floods, but also enabling communities to strengthen their social activities and to develop revenue streams.”

The shelters are also happy places, providing venues for wedding parties, weekend farmers’ markets and meetings. Users are charged a small fee that goes towards maintenance.

At national level, coordination was established across a number of agencies such as the Cambodian Red Cross Society and Government agencies to enhance the country’s preparedness and mitigation measures aimed at enhancing resilience to natural hazards.

An Early Warning System (EWS) was also developed and is now being implemented. Nordic Development Fund provided parallel grant financing for CCAO.

The MRD is planning to set up a Climate Change Division to managed= future climate risk and disaster response.



More here: http://www.tonkintaylor.co.nz/news/2017/11/dream-cambodia-project-a-first-for-asia/


Call for Authors

This call for authors seeks contributions from academics and scientists who are in the fields of disaster management, data science, information management, or computer science and engineering.

Schedule and contact information

  • Volunteer recruitment deadline: 2017/7/31
  • Writing team task assignment: 2017/8/7
  • Submission deadline of each section and subsection: 2017/12/31
  • The first draft of the white paper: 2018/1/31

If you want to participate in writing the white paper (one section or subsections). Please contact Edward Chu (edwardchu@yuntech.edu.tw), Bapon Fakhruddin (BFakhruddin@tonkintaylor.co.nz) or Zhao Jing(zhaojing01@radi.ac.cn) by 2017/7/31.

Write paper aims and objectives

This white paper aims to propose the next generation disaster data infrastructure, which includes the novel and most essential information systems and services that a country or a region can depend on in reality in order to successfully gather, process and display disaster data, and to reduce the impact of natural disasters. The white paper will focus on the key requirements of the next generation disaster data infrastructure, which includes (1) effective big disaster data collection, fusion, exchange, and query, (2) real-time big data analysis and decision making and (3) user-friendly big data visualization.


Due to climate change and global warming, the frequency and severity of extreme weather has been increasing all around the world. According to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, from 2005 to 2015, over 700 thousand people had lost their lives, over 1.4 million had been injured and approximately 23 million had been made homeless as a result of disasters. The severity of future disasters is expected to surpass the past in the foreseeable future. In addition, huge amount of disaster data collected from different sources, such as local sensors, remote sensing systems, mobile devices, social media, and official responders could easily overwhelm and impair disaster risk reduction related applications, systems, and underneath hardware platforms, especially for large-scale disasters.

In order to build resilience and reduce losses and damages, Sendai Framework prioritize its actions in the following four areas: (1) understanding disaster risk, (2) strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk, (3) investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience, (4) enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction. In particular, Sendai Framework emphasized that government should strengthen the utilization of media, including social media, traditional media, big data and mobile phone networks, to support nationwide disaster management and damage reduction. The availability of access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments to people should substantially increase by 2030. For this, governments should take into account the needs of different categories of users and data dissemination in order to enhance disaster preparedness for effective response. In addition, space and in situ information, including geographic information systems (GIS), are needed to be fully utilized in order to enhance disaster analysis tools and to support real-time access services of reliable disaster data.

The white paper is temporally organized as follows: first, several future scenarios of disaster management will be developed based on existing disaster management systems and communication technology. Second, fundamental requirements of next generation disaster data infrastructure inspired by the proposed scenarios will be discussed. Following that, research questions and issues are highlighted. Finally, suggestions and conclusion are given at the end of the paper.


White paper structure and explanations (call for sections or subsections from section 2 to 6)

    1. Introduction: the motivation and the goal of the white paper
  • Related work
    1. Early warning and response system: a literature survey
    2. Social media during disasters: a literature survey
    3. Emergency communication system, network, and protocol: a literature survey
  • Future scenarios
    1. Active emergency response system for living environments: With the rapid development of disaster early warning technology and sophisticated network infrastructure, many countries have already adopted standard warning messages to inform the public that a natural disaster has occurred or will happen. For example, in the U.S., after an earthquake strikes, the official agency adopts the Public Warning System (PWS) to broadcast CAP (Common Alerting Protocol) warning messages to inform people in the affected areas through different media channels, such as radio, television, short message service (SMS), smart phones, internet or electronic signs. In addition, the XML (Extensible Markup Language)-formatted CAP messages are sent to active emergency response systems (AERS) to automatically start the process of disaster reduction, such as stopping elevators at the closest floor, cutting off the gas, opening doors and windows, slowing down high-speed trains and putting factory machines into a protection mode to avoid possible damages. In the future, the AERS will play a more important role in disaster prevention and become ubiquitous in our living environment. The AERS will support people with decision-making functionality rather than simply trigger actuators to control input and output devices. In addition, customized warning messages will be sent to different recipients based on their identities, spatial locations and the emergency levels of the disaster to assist people to be better prepared for natural disasters. Relevant city services, such as health care and transportation, will also be integrated with AERS to support mass crowd evacuation and emergency medical services. For people inside a building, unlike existing evacuation systems which provide only static information (i.e., evacuation map, fire equipment location, and emergency contacts), AERS will further provide them with dynamic evacuation instructions, real-time disaster information, and the progress of rescue operations so that people can safely leave danger areas or find a safe place to stay. For on-scene commanders, AERS will provide them with dynamic information of victims, such as their identities, spatial locations and physiological status, as well as the current situation of the disaster. Visualization technology will be used to highlight the severe level of affected areas and the status of both victims and responders. Intelligent decision-making services will also be applied to support rescue operations and health care resource management. In addition, for first responders, AERS will provide them with not only the information of victims, but also indoor navigation and real-time disaster information.
    2. Crowdsourcing supported disaster information system: a future scenario where social network can be used to collect disaster information and support decision making.
    3. Disaster emergency communications: a future scenario where emergency communication network can be used in a major disaster, such as 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami and 2010 Haiti Earthquake.
    4. Disaster data quality assurance and control: a future scenario of disaster data quality assurance and control.
    5. Disaster data standards and format: a future scenario in using standard disaster data format.
    6. Other future scenarios: open for contribution.
  • Fundamental requirement analysis
    1. Big disaster data visualization: an analysis of user and system design requirements from the aspect of data visualization, such as meaningful information extraction.
    2. Big disaster data processing: an analysis of the user and system design requirements from the aspect of big disaster data processing, such as real-time constraints.
    3. Big disaster data collection and transmission: an analysis of user and system design requirement from the aspect of data visualization, such as traffic congestion.
    4. Big disaster data quality control: an analysis of the user and system design requirements from the aspect of big disaster data quality control and assurance.
  • The next generation disaster data infrastructure


The next generation disaster data infrastructure is expected to be more intelligent than the existing one in coping with huge amount of disaster data collected from different sources, and will provide more customized emergency services in enhancing disaster preparedness and response. Based on the purposes of data processing, the next generation disaster data infrastructure is divided into three layers: application layer, data analysis layer, and data storage layer. Key research issues of each layer are listed as follows.

Table 1: Research questions of the next generation disaster data infrastructure

Layer Purposes Key research questions and issues
Application User-friendly big data visualization tools and emergency services Data virtualization for decision making in emergencies
Indoor navigation for mass crowd evacuation and rescue
Volunteer management for crowdsourcing disaster information
Data analysis Real-time big data analysis Social media assessment for disaster management
Real-time distributed computing for disaster risk assessment
Data storage Big disaster data collection, fusion, exchange and query Relicense emergency network for big data collection
Standard of disaster management supported IoT
Standard of open disaster data
Policies of sensitive disaster data exchange and sharing


    1. Application layer
      1. Big data visualization for decision making in emergencies: (1) methods, tools, and user interface to help responders to have a complete view of 2D and 3D disaster data, and (2) a discussion of scalability and dynamics issues for big data visualization.
      2. Smart devices and applications for disaster response: (1) Indoor and outdoor navigation for mass crowd evacuation and rescue (2) navigation methods or system that utilize geographic information or building information modeling (BIM) to help mass crowd evacuation and rescue, and (3) dependability and safety issues of disaster response systems.
      3. Volunteer management for crowdsourcing disaster information: (1) strategies for crowdsourcing for disaster situation information, and (2) participant selection for crowdsourcing disaster information.
      4. Other applications: open for contribution.
    2. Data analysis layer
      1. Distributed computing for disaster data processing: (1) parallel algorithms, real-time scheduling, middleware, and architecture for disaster data processing, (2) internet of things (IoT)-supported data process, and (3) cloud computing for disaster management.
      2. Social media assessment for disaster management: (1) verification mechanism for disaster information gathered from social media, (2) the effect of social media on disaster response, (3) fusion of social media and physical sensor data and (4) disaster data mining for disaster management.
      3. Disaster data quality control: (1) data profiling, (2) data standardization, and (3) data tracking and monitoring.
    3. Data sensing and storage layer
      1. Resilience emergency network: (1) IoT-supported resilience emergency network, (2) traffic congestion problems of disaster data transmission, and (3) reliability and availability of resilience emergency network.
      2. Standard of open disaster data: (1) open disaster data model, (2) open disaster format, and (3) structured data and unstructured data.
      3. Disaster data exchange, sharing and accessing: (1) policies of sensitive data access, (2) transparency and accountability issues for sharing data, and (3) disaster data storage and database.
  1. Suggestions and discussion: (1) suggestions for the public sector in developing the next generation disaster data infrastructure, (2) suggestions for the private sector in developing the next generation disaster infrastructure, and (3) private-public sector collaboration in developing the next generation disaster data infrastructure, platforms and services.
  2. Conclusion: conclusion of the white paper.

Schedule and contact information

  • Volunteer recruitment deadline: 2017/7/31
  • Writing team task assignment: 2017/8/7
  • Submission deadline of each section and subsection: 2017/12/31
  • The first draft of the white paper: 2018/1/31

If you want to participate in writing the white paper (one section or subsections). Please contact Edward Chu (edwardchu@yuntech.edu.tw), Bapon Fakhruddin (BFakhruddin@tonkintaylor.co.nz) or Zhao Jing(zhaojing01@radi.ac.cn) by 2017/7/31.

Conferencia Magistral: “Cambio Climático, Resiliencia, Manejo y Evaluación de Riesgos.”
El auditorio de la Universidad de Quintana Roo (UQROO), campus Cozumel, fue la sede oficial de la Conferencia Magistral: “Cambio Climático, Resiliencia, Manejo y Evaluación de Riesgos”, impartida por el Dr. Bapon Fakhruddin, experto internacional en la reducción y modelaje de riesgos por desastres naturales. Asesor de las Naciones Unidas para temas de Amenazas Naturales y Cambio Climático, desarrollando múltiples Sistemas de Alerta Temprana en 25 países. Esta conferencia se realizó gracias a la colaboración de Isla Cozumel con el Cuerpo Académico: “Vulnerabilidad y Diversidad de Sistemas Acuáticos y Costeros” de la Universidad de Quintana Roo (UQROO), Unidad Cozumel.
Durante la conferencia el Dr. Bapon Fakhruddin, presentó datos y modelos basados en sus investigaciones, respecto a los riesgos que hay en su país de origen (Nueva Zelanda) por el cambio climático, además de los potenciales peligros que traen los fenómenos hidrometeorológicos de la zona como los tsunamis. Explicó que trabajan con base a un modelo en el que todas las dependencias u organizaciones involucradas en la protección de la población, así como las encargadas de investigar y evaluar los posibles daños y soluciones, trabajan unidas como un solo organismo diseñando estas estrategias a corto y largo plazo, para prevenir cualquier tipo de incidente.
Isla Cozumel aunque no tiene las mismas condiciones que Nueva Zelanda, demográficamente hablando, si tiene muchas similitudes respecto a lo frágil que puede ser el ambiente debido a la insularidad, es por ello que con este tipo de acercamientos con expertos investigadores, se da un primer paso, para que poco a poco se vayan adaptando y compartiendo las investigaciones y modelos creados para ver más allá y poder prevenir situaciones como la erosión de las playas, o los riesgos que conlleva los embates de los huracanes.
Una conferencia magistral de muy buen nivel y que además tuvo muy buena participación del sector académico, investigadores, grupos ambientalistas e instancias del gobierno, quienes lograron tener una buena interacción con el Dr. Bapon, quien interactuó y resolvió sus dudas respecto al tema.
Para visualizar la transmisión de la conferencia magistral, accede a la página oficial de Ecología Cozumel o da un click en el siguiente enlace: https://goo.gl/dGV0IM


A four days training provided to the participants from different Ministry in Cambodia on climate risk and emergency management system from 19 April 2017. The training is intended as an introduction to climate risk and emergency management system. It aims to build human and institutional capacities to manage risks associated with climate variability, change, and extremes focusing on road transportation. It specifically aims to:

  • Climate context on Cambodia and its impacts on rural road infrastructures
  • Outline the climate risk management (CRM) and Emergency Management System (EMS) framework and its significance against the backdrop of a changing climate;
  • Support in the identification of ways to improve resilience of individuals and communities in dealing with climate change and community based disaster risk management;
  • Discuss on emergency response system and its implications.



Climate change adaptation activities for Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) potentially new area to explore, thus this training manuals try to cover some basics of climate change and but mostly focused on the applications and risk management aspects of it. Although experiences of developed countries are cited, the sessions focus on what climate risk and emergency response system means for Cambodian context and how to go about building resilience. Upon completion of this training, participants should be able to apply their competencies in advancing their respective institutions’ ongoing or planned CRM and EMS initiatives through greater understanding of the:

  • Interpretation of weather and climate forecast products and climate change scenarios issued by national meteorological agencies and global forecasting centers
  • Climate impacts on rural infrastructures and National emergency management system of NCDM
  • Application of risk management processes to identify, assess and deal with climate-related risks
  • Use of participatory community-based decision-making principles in climate risk management

The following themes were covered throughout the training:

  • Linking climate science to institutions and society. Raw climate information does not automatically render societal benefits. There is always the challenge of creating ‘usable’ climate information, of increasing forecast generation and application, and ensuring ‘fit’ between the timing and content of climate information to the requirements of user institutions.
  • Weather and climate. Understanding of climate-related risks requires awareness of how changes in climate are manifested through weather. In addition, it is important to understand the science behind natural variability as opposed to climate change so that root causes of (oftentimes complex) problems are better identified, and solutions can be designed and targeted more effectively.
  • Risk framework. Climate information (with the exception of past and current information) is filled with probabilities and inherent uncertainties. This presents a challenge to decision-makers who are often left with limited information (such as past climate trends and future projections) to make decisions that could impact future conditions and socio-economic vulnerabilities.
  • Emergency management system. Prior to the actual occurrence of a disaster event, the dominant disaster management activity is “preparedness”. As the event unfolds, disaster management actors become involved in the “response” phase. There is a period of “recovery” following the response to the disaster event. The “mitigation” phase then occurs as disaster management improvements are made in anticipation of the next disaster event. EOC is a central command and control facility responsible for carrying out the principles of emergency preparedness and emergency management, or disaster management functions at a strategic level in an emergency situation, and ensuring the continuity of operation of a company, political subdivision or other organization.
  • Institutional partnerships. Another important element in this training is on bridging different institutional languages and cultures (e.g. scientific vs. policy; scientific vs. operational), realigning institutional mandates, priorities, and planning horizons to ensure that climate risks are assessed and corresponding risk management solutions are integrated into programming and broader policy and decision making processes.


The greater Apia area, its communities and environmental values are highly vulnerable to natural disasters, in particular cyclones, storm surges and flooding. This vulnerability will only increase with a changing climate. There have been many assessments, projects and programs undertaken, particularly in recent times, to come to terms with the extent of this vulnerability, and to take measures to address it.

Climate change, disaster risk management, land use, coasts, water and the environment are all cross-cutting issues. Given the fragmentation of the Government and non-governmental responsibilities and funding sources, it is not surprising that a geographically ‘integrated’ approach to planning and management has been difficult to achieve.

This integrated water management plan will therefore outline the risks posed to the communities living in the greater Apia area, and recommend measures to manage these risks. It follows a ‘Ridge-to-Reef’ approach, whereby the interactions of all activities and forces on a catchment area are taken into account. This approach recognizes the importance of an integrated approach to building resilience to disasters and climate change. It also aims to support community livelihoods through the inclusion of aspects such as water, environment, land and coastal management within an overarching framework.

The IWMP attempts neither to re-invent the wheel, nor to replace other initiatives. Plans for the water and sanitation sector and the environment sector, as well as plans for disaster risk management, establish strategic directions and actions for those sectors. Key elements are emphasized in this IWMP, but not comprehensively restated. There have also been several detailed and seminal studies in recent years under the auspices of the UN, ADB, World Bank and other development partners.[1]

This Plan works with these and other previous studies, such as the draft 2011 Water and Sanitation Master Plan for Greater Apia, and the 2006 Drainage and Wastewater Master Plan, and places them in the context of the greater Apia area. It paints a picture of the status and issues relating to disaster risk management, land, water, coastal and environmental management in the greater Apia area. Building on previous work, it brings together strategies t

o address these issues in a structured and integrated framework. It is intended to help inform and prioritize sector planning activities, and to identify key investment opportunities.

The plan integrated ridge to reef approach as well as linked Sendai Framework for DRR; Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and Paris agreement on Climate Change.



Group Work Governance.JPG

[1] Including, for example:

  • Samoa Climate Resilience Investment Program (CRIP) – Situation Analysis (de Berdt Romilly et al, 2013, under the PPRC, itself established under the Multi-donor Climate Investment Fund CIF);
  • Apia, Samoa – Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment, (United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat, 2014)
  • Samoa Post-disaster Needs Assessment Cyclone Evan 2012, Government of Samoa, March 2013
  • Apia City Development Strategy, UN Habitat and PUMA, 2015




The NICZF was approved in 2010 to guide management of coastal and marine areas, with a vision of providing a sustainable approach to coastal management through establishing institutional arrangements and involving relevant stakeholders in implementation of management activities.  The responsibilities for overseeing the NICZF are shared between the Departments of Environment, Fisheries, Forestry, Agriculture, Lands, Geology, Mines and Rural Water Supply with the Department of the Environment taking the lead role in implementation. The NICFZ acknowledges the Decentralisation Act (see below), stating that the Provinces will provide local level government system support and become an integral part of the implementation process. However, at community, area council and provincial levels the PPG team was not made aware that this framework is being used as part of any planning process. Given the limited resources and capacity building needs requirements for effective implementation, it is unlikely that the NICZF will be comprehensively tested or piloted in the near future. Further, there are no references to gender equity or social inclusion issues in the NICZF, which is an area where V-CAP could provide technical assistance if requested.

Decentralization Act

The Vanuatu Decentralisation Act (2006) and the Amendment to this Act (2013) outline the roles and responsibilities of the local administration regarding decentralisation of service delivery across Vanuatu. The Department of Local Authorities (DLA), Ministry of Interior, is responsible for implementing the Act. However, the DLA is currently under resourced and lacks the capacity to drive implementation. As such, V-CAP will seek to work through and support Provincial and Area Councils (ACs) in targeted areas through planning, delivery and monitoring of locally relevant CCA solutions. This strategy is considered critical in developing local capacity and ownership for sustainable climate change adaptation. Of significance, this approach will also enable and encourage women and youth to be actively involved in local planning and decision-making processes about environmental issues given the legal requirement under the Decentralization Act for women and youth representation.

In supporting the Government’s plans for decentralization and capacity building of ACs, the V-CAP design team used the newly developed Provincial Community Profiling Survey (Shefa Province), with modifications to capture climate change issues and impacts from a ridge-to-reef perspective. This customized profiling tool, referred to as the Vulnerability and Adaptation (V&A) Assessment was developed to collect locally specific data from rural villages (in Bislama) and to enable Area Secretaries and Councils to replicate V&A’s within their jurisdictions for other purposes.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

The Government of Vanuatu ratified the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on 09 March 1993, with Initial National Communication (INC) to the UNFCCC occurring in October 1999. It is of note that Vanuatu’s first submission to the UNFCCC (2013) focused on gender balance reflecting “the determination of the country to push the gender agenda at both national and international levels”.

Priority Action Agenda 2012-2016

Gender Equity is featured in the new National Development Plan of the Government of Vanuatu which aims at accelerating development and coordinating efforts in two specific areas: (i) through a quota of 30% women in Parliament, and (ii) by mainstreaming a gender perspective in all Government policy processes.

 National Gender and Women’s Empowerment Policy

Vanuatu is currently working on finalizing a new National Gender and Women’s Empowerment Policy to 2023. This policy will aim to provide direction and guidance on strategic interventions in addressing gender inequalities and will also serve as a coordinating document for government ministries to integrate and mainstream gender perspectives in all policies and sector plans. As such, it is important that V-CAP facilitate inter-agency work between the Women’s Division and project implementing agencies to ensure that gender equality and social inclusion is fully mainstreamed in all climate change adaptation work carried out by the project.

Assessment of hazard, vulnerability and risk of extreme weather or climate events are essential in order to inform and implement appropriate adaptation/prevention/mitigation strategies. Within the present climate, extreme variations of weather and climate have severe impacts, particularly in less-developed countries. Due to complex nature and uncertainties in future climate change predictions, it is not feasible to assessment of vulnerability at detailed scales for potential hazard and risk. When aiming to understand the assessment of hazard, vulnerability and risk, there are two extreme operating scales, global (mostly in climate change) and local (mostly in natural hazards) plays dominant roles of interactions. Different approaches and methods exist for running hazard, vulnerability and risk assessment, but not able to address all physical science, engineering, and social science research. In this study, we try to discuss on the human vulnerability and risk assessment approaches, tools and techniques of natural hazard due to extreme climate events. As well as identified research gaps in assessing hazard, vulnerability and risk in response to extreme climate events. The result summarized that risk and vulnerability raise at different stages of the disaster cycle to be based on multi-scale and cross-scale analyses, consider resilience dimensions and provide innovative tools for understanding and assessing and communicating to the users. Data and inherent low resolution of the information is major constrains for details comprehensive assessment.

Human pressure has changed the physical and ecological characteristics of coastal zones for centuries. For nearly 40 years, there have been concerted efforts to improve management of the diverse human pressures that have led to deterioration of coastal environments. Since 1992, Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) has been a dominant policy paradigm for bringing together relevant sectors of society to overcome conflicts of resource use and to pursue sustainable development. There is growing evidence that, with some exceptions, these efforts were not much effectives due to extreme climate events and lack of integration with water resources management. Another reason is economic and social changes to people. There are also issues with the way the process has been interpreted, often with soft recommendations and guidelines and unclear overall goals. The time has come to take a fresh look at the future of our coastal zones integrating water resources, balancing economic development, conservation and adaptation to inevitable change. Reexamination of system scales and adoption of ‘Ridge to Reef” approach offers real perspectives for finding a way forward.

Many coastal areas and river basins worldwide are flood prone due to heavy rainfall and cyclonic storm surge. Keeping the risk of flooding at an acceptable level is an ongoing challenge. Nowadays the range of options to mitigate flood risk is becoming more diverse, varying from non-structural measures, such as early warning systems and zoning, to traditional structural measures, such as levees, dams, flood detention areas and pumping stations. The impact of structural measures on natural processes is large and often results in undesirable side effects, such as land subsidence or disturbance of ecosystem functioning and a loss of ecosystem services, with large consequences for local communities. Therefore, the potential of more nature-based flood defense solutions, such as oyster reefs salt marshes and mangroves, that are thought not to have such negative effects on the natural environment, is actively being explored. Studies should explore strong case for application of nature-based defenses and integrating water, coastal and livelihood based defenses.

Sand and dust storms (SDS) are quite common in the central and the eastern regions of the Kingdom and affect the daily life for short time intervals, (Maghrabi et al, 2009). Over the last decade, scientists have come to realize the impacts on climate, human health, the environment and many socio econimic sectors due to sand and dust storm (WMO, 2016). The most important issue with sand storms is the reduction of visibility that increases the incidence of traffic accidents and may increase the occurrence of vertigo in aircraft pilots, (UNEP, 2016; Davan et al., 1991; Kutiel and Furman, 2003).

Sand and dust storm are usually caused by thunderstorms – or strong pressure gradients associated with cyclones – which increase wind speed over a wide area. These strong winds lift large amounts of sand and dust from bare, dry soils into the atmosphere, transporting them hundreds to thousands of kilometres away. Some 40% of aerosols in the troposphere (the lowest layer of Earth’s atmosphere) are dust particles from wind erosion. The frequency of sandstorms increases during the months of March, April and May. The dust originates mainly from the arid areas across the Arabian Peninsula and transported by the southwesterly winds towards the east (Abdulaziz et al., nd). A brief life cycle of a dust storm, and how one can fuel itself, is described in Figure 1.


Figure 1 Dust Storm Life Cycle. This simplified diagram of the life cycle of a dust storm and its impacts illustrate how a dust storm can fuel itself (UNEP, 2013)

Recognizing the importance for multiple societal sectors around the world to better understand and monitor atmospheric sand and dust, in 2007, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) endorsed the launching of the Sand and Dust Storm Warning Advisory and Assessment System (SDS-WAS). It has the mission to enhance the ability of countries to deliver timely and quality sand and dust storm forecasts, observations, information and knowledge to users through an international partnership of research and operational communities (Terradellas et al. 2015). The SDS-WAS works as an international, global network of research, operational centres and users, organized through regional nodes and coordinated by the SDS-WAS Steering Committee (WMO 2015). Three regional nodes are currently in operation: (i) Northern Africa, Middle East and Europe, (ii) Asia and Central Pacific, and (iii) Pan-America.

Early warning systems create the opportunity to not only communicate a severe event, but also its anticipated impact, cost of impact and the overall level of uncertainty. With early warning people could better prepare for a dust storm by taking cover, sealing doors and windows, vacating the streets thus preventing car accidents and securing outdoor assets such as vehicles and manufacturing equipment. Forecasts enable scientists and others to observe how sand and dust storms are forming and moving over space and time. Policymakers can also use this information to determine whether or not disease outbreaks were the result of transported sand and dust or the result of human transport when taking action against health risks (Stefanski and Sivakumar, 2009; UN, 2009). A sampling of institutions and organisations from around the world that offer some forecast or warning support.