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The Regional Expert Group Meeting on Advancing Disaster Resilience: Harnessing Data, Technology, and Policy for a Safer Tomorrow

Sources: Asian and Pacific Centre for the Development of Disaster Information Management

Date: December 2023

Introduction:

The Regional Expert Group Meeting (EGM) brought together a diverse group of participants from the governments of Asia and the Pacific, regional and international organizations and experts. The meeting was organized collaboratively by APDIM and the Committee of Emergency Situations and Civil Defense under the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan, aimed to explore the dynamic interplay between data, technology, and policy in disaster resilience efforts.

Session 1: Synergy Building: Navigating the Science-Policy-Action Nexus through Data-Driven Decision-Making and Policy Design:

Participants acknowledged the crucial role of risk data governance and policy design in disaster resilience. The CESDRR representative shared experiences from the Central Asia subregion, emphasizing the influence of data in shaping DRR-related policies and strategies. The UNDRR-APDIM joint study on "Risk Data Governance and Policy Design" findings were presented, suggesting the preparation of capacity-building materials based on the study. The session explored the utilization of data analysis and emerging technologies for policy design and evaluation. The significance of the Disaster Related Statistical Framework was also underscored.

This session highlighted the "Early Warning for All" Initiative, emphasizing the importance of whole-of-society approaches in establishing early warning systems. The APDIM study on "The Integration of Disaster Risk Reduction into National Development Plans" was introduced, encouraging participants to engage in the project by completing an online questionnaire and requesting national workshops. The session underscored the critical role of information management in integrating DRR and CCA into national development plans.

Session 2: Catalyzing Resilience: The Power of New Technologies and Startups in Disaster Information Management:

Participants delved into the transformative potential of new technologies and startups in disaster information management during this session. Successful examples and best practices were showcased to inspire collaboration and knowledge sharing. Discussions centered on challenges and barriers countries face in adopting new technologies and working with startups, with a focus on addressing these challenges. The session emphasized the role of advanced technology, including artificial intelligence (AI), in all phases of the disaster risk management cycle through public-private partnerships.

Focus on AI in Disaster Information Management:

In line with the discussions, the meeting recognized the pivotal role of artificial intelligence in disaster information management. Participants emphasized the need for AI solutions to enhance data collection, analysis, communication, and decision-making in disaster resilience efforts. Public-private partnerships were underscored as a key avenue for leveraging AI technologies, especially in countries with limited resources and infrastructure. The participants engaged in conversations regarding various ways AI technologies could enhance the entire spectrum of disaster preparedness, response, and recovery efforts.

  • Early Warning Systems:

The EGM acknowledged the potential of AI in refining early warning systems through the analysis of diverse datasets. Participants recognized the ability of machine learning algorithms to detect patterns and predict disasters by processing meteorological, geospatial, and social media data.

  • Predictive Analytics:

The meeting explored how AI, can leverage historical and current data to forecast the likelihood and severity of future disasters. Participants discussed the application of AI in forecasting the trajectory of natural disasters and the benefits of advanced predictive capabilities in resource planning.

  • Image and Video Analysis:

Participants delved into the application of AI for post-disaster damage assessment using image and video analysis. The use of AI-equipped drones for rapid surveying and computer vision technologies for analyzing satellite imagery were highlighted as valuable tools for assessing the extent of destruction.

  • Social Media Monitoring:

In discussing real-time information gathering, the EGM recognized the role of AI in monitoring social media. Participants explored how AI algorithms could extract insights from social media data to understand public sentiment and gather valuable situational information.

  • Resource Allocation and Logistics:

Conversations revolved around the optimization of resource allocation and logistics using AI. Participants explored the potential of AI algorithms to analyze historical data, current needs, and dynamic conditions for efficient deployment of response teams and distribution of resources.

  • Communication and Decision Support:

The EGM addressed the application of AI in improving communication during disasters. Participants discussed the role AI in providing real-time information and decision support for affected populations and responders.

  • Post-Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction:

Discussions extended to the post-disaster phase, emphasizing how AI technologies could support recovery efforts. The meeting explored how machine learning and computer vision could aid in prioritizing reconstruction activities and conducting risk assessments for future planning.

  • Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs):

The EGM highlighted the collaborative aspect of leveraging AI for disaster management. Participants emphasized the importance of Public-Private Partnerships, where private companies specializing in AI technologies and startups collaborate with government agencies and non-profit organizations to develop and implement advanced solutions.

At last, the EGM discussions underscored the multifaceted role of AI in disaster information management, emphasizing the need for collaborative efforts and the integration of AI solutions into existing disaster management frameworks.

Conclusion:

APDIM, in collaboration with relevant UN and regional entities, committed to addressing the topics discussed in the meeting within the constraints of its mandate and resource availability. Emphasis will be placed on developing disaster risk data governance policies, fostering enhanced regional collaboration for disaster risk reduction, addressing trans-boundary issues, promoting information management for integration into national development plans, and supporting the exchange of expertise and best practices in disaster risk information management among member countries.

      Participants recognized the crucial interplay between risk data governance and policy design, emphasizing the need for a robust data governance framework.

      The UNDRR-APDIM joint study on "Risk Data Governance and Policy Design" findings were presented, with a suggestion to use it for capacity-building materials and training.

      The session highlighted the role of data analysis and emerging technologies in improving policy design and evaluation.

      "Early Warning for All" Initiative in Tajikistan underscored the importance of a multi-stakeholder approach in establishing early warning systems.

      The APDIM study on "The Integration of Disaster Risk Reduction into National Development Plans" initiated participant involvement through an online questionnaire and proposed national workshops.

      The discussion on "Catalyzing Resilience" explored how new technologies and startups can enhance disaster resilience through public-private partnerships, addressing challenges and emphasizing the importance of advanced technology in disaster risk management.

APDIM, in collaboration with pertinent UN and regional entities, will endeavour to address all the topics discussed in the meeting within the limits of its mandate and resource availability. Aligned with the discussions, particular emphasis will be placed on:

  • developing disaster risk data governance policies and guidance,
  • fostering enhanced regional collaboration for disaster risk reduction,
  • addressing trans-boundary issues, including on impact-based forecasting.
  • promoting information management for integration of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation into national development plans
  • support the exchange of expertise and best practices in disaster risk information management among member countries.

In conclusion, the Regional Expert Group Meeting provided a rich platform for meaningful discussions and collaborations, laying the groundwork for continued efforts to harness data, technology, and policy for a safer and more resilient future. The outcomes and recommendations of the Regional Expert Group Meeting were presented to the Eighth Session of the APDIM Governing Council for its consideration and endorsement.

Please download the presentations files through the following links.

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