Dr John Bates, Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience
At the Cancun meeting it was confirmed that official monitoring of progress towards achieving the global targets for reducing disaster losses will begin in early 2018. The challenge is to generate and make freely available the data that is essential to demonstrating progress towards achieving these important targets for reducing harm and suffering.
While current data from participating nations provides reasonable information on the physical damage and human impact of disasters, there is still work to be done to generate the same quality of information for economic losses, losses of specific assets and infrastructure, losses of cultural heritage and disruptions to basic services .
The increased focus on the role of science and scientists in improving disaster risk reduction is welcome and the opportunities for Australia to make a valuable contribution to global disaster risk reduction are immense. The challenges, however, are substantial in the changing world in which we live.
What we need is a solid and growing evidence base to support (or not) the value and benefits of the initiatives that we are undertaking. Without this evidence base it is increasingly difficult to ensure predictable and sustainable funding. These challenges are not unique to Australia. They open wonderful opportunities to expand global collaborations and to build case studies that can be shared and used to inspire communities, nations and decision-makers across the globe.