IN-DEPTH: Monitoring progress of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction

For the first time in 10 years, the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction – the most important international forum dedicated to the theme – will be held outside the UNISDR Geneva headquarters. The Mexican government is ready to welcome the 5,000 expected participants in Cancun, where the 2017 edition will be hosted from May 22 to 26. The Global Platform represents the first opportunity for the international community to meet after the adoption in 2015 of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) and to review progress towards its implementation.

One of the key issues to be discussed in Cancun is how progress towards fulfilling the global targets of the SFDRR will actually be measured. Taking the period 2005-2015 as a baseline and looking up to 2030, the 7 targets aim to substantially reduce global disaster mortality (A), number of affected people (B); direct disaster economic loss in relation to global gross domestic product (GDP) (C); and disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services (D). At the same time, they seek to increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020 (E) and enhance international cooperation to developing countries through adequate and sustainable support (F).

On February 2nd the UN General Assembly endorsed the recommendations of the Open-ended intergovernmental expert working group on indicators and terminology relating to disaster risk reduction (OIEWG), which identify a set of 38 indicators to measure global progress in the implementation of the framework. The table offers an overview of the qualitative and quantitative indicators developed for targets A to F. Because of space reasons, compound indicators are presented instead of individual ones – when available – and the 8 indicators of target F are thematically grouped. It is important to note that the indicators were developed to be consistent with the work of Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators, which has proposed using some of the Sendai indicators for measuring specific targets of SDGs 1 (End poverty in all its forms everywhere), 11 (Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable) and 13 (Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts).

“The Sendai indicators are very important in that they provide, for the first time, a basic structure for an international system to record disaster losses and set minimum standards that can be implemented by any country. They move away from a restrictive conceptualization of disaster impact, considering only direct physical losses and damages, and widen the perspective so to include, for instance, the disruption of basic services like education and health. Moreover, States are encouraged to commence or further enhance the collection of data disaggregated by income, sex, age and disability, which is for sure a novelty”, explains Dr. Zaidi, Rapporteur of the Working Group developing technical guidance for the indicators.

Yet, there is still room for improvement, especially in terms of providing more clarity around key definitions. This is crucial for having consistent national data to aggregate and thus for monitoring progress against the global targets. At the same time, more guidance is needed to assist those countries that lack historical disaster loss records and for which retrospectively constructing the 2005-2015 baseline might prove to be challenging.

To this aim, the UNISDR launched from February 22nd to April 5th the Sendai Framework Data Readiness Review to allow countries to determine existing data gaps. On the basis of the inputs received, a global data readiness report will be released at the Global Platform along with further technical guidance concerning baseline data. A “global partnership for disaster-related data for sustainable development” will also be inaugurated, allowing a variety of stakeholders to contribute in providing relevant information. The objective is to start reporting against the indicators from January 2018, using the online Sendai Framework Monitor also to be launched in Cancun. Progress in implementing the Sendai Framework will then be reviewed biennially by the UNISDR.


This article was first published on ICCG’s International Climate Policy Magazine n. 45.

(Image: Women involved in community meeting to discuss village reconstruction. Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Project: JRF. Photo credit: Nugroho Nurdikiawan Sunjoyo/World Bankon Flickr)