1st Disaster Risk Management Seminar “Understanding Risk in an Evolving World: Emerging Best Practices in Natural Disaster Risk Assessment”
October 1, 2014Tokyo

Disaster Risk Management Seminar Series: co-organized by the World Bank and World Bank Disaster Risk Management Hub, Tokyo

 The World Bank Group, GFDRR recently launched a report titled “Understanding Risk in An Evolving World: Emerging Best Practices in Natural Disaster Risk Assessment” and a Policy Note titled “Understanding Risk in An Evolving World”.  This seminar was held in commemoration of the launch and more than 100 participants attended from the government, universities, research institutes and the private sector.

GFDRR has been helping high-risk and low-income developing countries by analyzing and quantifying risk and vulnerability for over a decade. Based on past experience, it is shown that appropriate information delivery to the right people at the right timing helps to reduce disaster risk and impact. The Policy note emphasized the importance of improving the quality of risk assessment by open data use, clear targeted communication approach for risk information, and collecting accurate risk information.  

Opening remarks were made by Mr. Yasusuke Tsukagoshi, Special Representative, who conveyed his condolences for those affected by the landslide in Hiroshima in August and the Mt. Ontake eruption in September. Mr. Tsukagoshi expressed the importance of mainstreaming Disaster Risk Management in development planning  in developing countries, and learning from the Japanese experience of overcoming frequent natural disasters.

Dr. Alanna Simpson, Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist, GFDRR, World Bank Group, introduced 10 recommendations and stressed the need to understand risk in advance to reduce potential damage. Dr. Simpson highlighted that risk assessment is a process, and multi-hazard and multi-disciplinary perspectives should be considered in the assessment process. She also emphasized the importance of sharing and providing open access to data across institutions and being clear about the assumptions, uncertainty and data collection methodology. 10 recommendations are; 1) Clearly define the purpose of the risk assessment before analysis starts, 2) Promote and enable ownership of the risk assessment process and efforts to mitigate risk, 3) Cultivate and promote open data practices, 4) Make better communication of risk information an urgent priority, 5) Foster multidisciplinary, multi-institutional, and multi-sectoral collaboration at all levels, from the international to community level, 6) Consider the broader risk context, 7) Keep abreast of evolving risk, 8) Understand, quantify, and communicate the uncertainties and limitations of risk information, 9) Ensure that risk information is credible and transparent, 10) Encourage innovations in open tools for risk identifications.

Mr. Iwan Gunawan, Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist, Urban, Rural & Social Development Department – Global Practice, Jakarta, Indonesia, World Bank, pointed out that many developing country governments have difficulty accessing data needed for risk analysis. To solve such issue, in Indonesia, The World Bank supported the development of an open data tool called “InaSAFE” which was developed in a participatory manner with local communities and governments. InaSAFE is a tool to map and share the collected information using user friendly interface for easy analysis. Through this experience, he stressed the importance of both tools and data and integration of scenarios into risk assessment.

Mr. Kimio Takeya, Senior Advisor, Japan International Cooperation Agency(JICA) presented the world disaster funding trend in the past 20 years, where most funding was provided for emergency response and recovery rather than preparedness. Japan is strategically funding and increasing cooperation in the area of disaster risk reduction and preparedness. Mr. Takeya stressed that scientifically based assessment is important the aim of risk assessment is disaster risk reduction which is an integral part of development. Hence, he urged the importance of the integration of Millennium Development Goals with the Hyogo Framework in the development of the post-Hyogo Framework.

Mr. Hisaya Sawano, Chief Researcher, International Center for Water Hazard and Risk Management (ICHARM), Public Works Research Institute (PWRI) emphasized the need of indicators for water-related disaster risk. He provided examples of modeling impacts using Hazards, exposure and vulnerability parameters, which showed the difference in impacts with and without interventions.

 In the Q&A and discussion session, the following five points were discussed;

  1. Risk assessment is a process, and its ultimate aim is risk reduction
  2. The Important of leveraging the comparative advantage of each organization
  3. Building trust and ownership during risk assessment is essential for effective implementation of risk reduction activities
  4.  For the results of risk assessment to be effective and implemented, the risk information needs to be communicated to the various audiences in a targeted manner.
  5. Ensuring transparency in the source and assumptions of data is critical  for open data sharing.


The World Bank, GFDRR, Disaster Risk Management Hub Tokyo will continue this type of knowledge and experience sharing activities under the “Program for Connecting Knowledge, Expertise and Technology” which aims to link Japanese experience with developing countries.

Related Links

  • The World Bank Group, Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery(GFDRR)

Recent publications by GFDRR

  • Understanding Risk in an Evolving World - Emerging Best Practices in Natural Disaster Risk Assessment
  • Understanding Risk in an Evolving World - A Policy Note
  • Understanding Risk - Review of Open Source and Open Access Software Packages Available to Quantify Risk from Natural Hazards
  • Open Data for Resilience Initiative: Field Guide
  • Crowdsourced Geographic Information Use in Government

GFDRR Innovation Lab

  • GFDRR Innovation Lab’s activities(Open Data: GeoNode, OpenStreetMap, InaSAFE, Code for Resilience and etc)



Alanna Simpson
Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist, Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), World Bank Group
“Understanding Disaster Risk In An Evolving World”

Iwan Gunawan
Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist, Urban, Rural & Social Development Department, JAKARTA, INDONESIA, World Bank Group
“Innovation on Tools and Data for Understanding Risks: Experiences and Lessons from East Asia and the Pacific”

Kimio Takeya
Senior Advisor, Japan International Cooperation Agency
“Disaster Risk Assessment as a tool for Disaster Risk Reduction, Japan and JICA7s experiences and Propose for HFA2”

Hisaya Sawano
Chief researcher, Water‐related Disaster Research Group, International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management (ICHARM), Public Works Research Institute
“Imperative Needs to Develop Water-Related Disaster Risk Indicators”

Yuka Makino

Senior Operations Officer, Disaster Risk Management Hub, Tokyo, World Bank Group

Q & A’s 

Alanna Simpson, Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist, Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), World Bank Group

Alanna Simpson leads the GFDRR Labs thematic area which is responsible for supporting the World Bank’s Disaster Risk Management (DRM) regional teams in disaster risk assessments, and geospatial and remote sensing technologies. Recent GFDRR Labs teams achievements include delivery of a publication and associated policy note on emerging best practices in disaster risk assessment covering the entire globe, the 2014 Understanding Risk Forum in London, Code for Resilience, rapid remote damage assessments to assist in the post-disaster needs assessments, continued development and deployment of the Open Data for Resilience Initiative, including geospatial platforms (geonode), crowdsourcing mapping (OpenStreetMap) and risk communication tools (eg. InaSAFE). Since joining the World Bank, She has also provided extensive technical support to risk identification projects in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Kyrgyz Republic, Vietnam, Indian Ocean Islands as well as regional efforts in Europe and Central Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.   She previously worked for the Australian Government, where she led efforts to improve natural hazard risk analysis capability in Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific. This role involved working with a broad range of scientific, mapping and disaster management agencies across the region to develop new datasets, methodologies and information on the risks from meteorological and geophysical hazards. A New Zealand and Australian national, She holds a PhD in Geoscience (volcanology) from the University of Queensland (Australia), a M.Sc. from the University of Otago (New Zealand) and a B.Sc. from the University of Auckland (New Zealand).


Event Details
  • Date/Time: 
    Wednesday, October 1, 2014
  • Venue: 
    The World Bank Tokyo Development Learning Center
    10F, Fukoku Seimei Bld. 2-2-2Uchisaiwai-cho Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
  • Language: English and Japanese (with simultaneous interpretation)
  • Inquiries: 
    World Bank Tokyo Office
    Phone: 03-3597-6650