Alliance for National & Community Resilience Awards First Resilience Designation to Martinsville, Virginia

The Alliance for National & Community Resilience (ANCR) issued its first community resilience designation to Martinsville, Virginia, at a meeting of the City Council. Martinsville was selected as the initial pilot city for ANCR’s Community Resilience Benchmarks (CRB) for buildings and housing. The city was awarded an Essential designation for its building-related activities and an Enhanced designation for its housing-related initiatives.
“We were particularly impressed with the involvement of city staff and their transparency and thoroughness as we worked through the benchmarking process. Their commitment to the process will be invaluable in supporting improvements in the CRB process and help enhance the resilience of other communities,” said Evan Reis, ANCR Board Chair and Executive Director of the U.S. Resiliency Council.
The benchmarking process was led by Kris Bridges, Martinsville’s Building Official and Mark McCaskill, Martinsville’s Community Development Director. Jeremy Sigmon of Planet Sigmon served as the community’s ANCR Mentor, guiding them through the benchmarking process.
“The Martinsville City Council commends the work of our Inspections and Community Development Departments for their work with ANCR in improving the city’s resiliency and setting the standard for other communities to follow,” said Kathy Lawson, Mayor, Martinsville, Virginia. “The City of Martinsville is committed to the development of benchmarks such as the CRB as having the proper protocols in place will not only give us the needed information to maintain critical facilities and infrastructure during disaster events, but also allow us to reap the financial benefits, improve resiliency across our community and show our commitment to our community and citizens.”
Based on the feedback from Martinsville, ANCR will finalize its benchmarking process and begin work on developing additional benchmarks. The Buildings and Housing Benchmarks represent the first two benchmarks developed under the CRB. ANCR identified 19 community functions covering the social, organizational and infrastructural aspects of communities that influence their resilience and is developing benchmarks for each of them. The Water Benchmark was completed in 2020 and is currently being piloted along with the Buildings and Housing Benchmark in Oakland Park, Florida.

Digital regulators need to collaborate to “build forward better” after COVID

​​​​​​​​Bold regulatory approaches are needed to guide ground-breaking technology uptake, foster collaboration, and drive digital transformation in the post-COVID world, according to participants at the latest Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR-21) organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
The meetings brought together regulators from around the world to tackle the persistent, growing, global digital divide. In part, this involved adopting new guidelines for inclusive information and communication technology (ICT) regulation to “build forward better" and drive post-COVID recovery.
“Following the global social and economic disruption brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, regulators have a unique opportunity to rethink and reshape policy principles and regulatory best practices to build ubiquitous, open and resilient digital infrastructure," said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao.
Focus on holistic digital transformation
COVID-19 has prompted countries to seek more holistic, future-ready agendas for digital transformation. Accordingly, regulators discussed the need for collaborative leadership to ensure trust in the digital space; sufficient connectivity and regulatory enablers; financing to ensure affordable connectivity, meaningful access, and widespread use; safe digital inclusion; and partnerships for digital transformation.
“Effective regulation matters not just in times of crisis," said Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau. “To build forward better in the post-COVID digital world, we need agile and ground-breaking approaches and tools for digital regulation to accelerate the sustainable and inclusive growth of ICTs. Connectivity, access and use are ultimately at the heart of the digital transformation. Along with fit-for-purpose regulatory approaches, these are the predominant enablers of competitiveness and key to the future prosperity of people, communities, countries and regions everywhere."
New GSR-21 Best Practice Guidelines
Innovative tools and approaches are outlined in the newly released GSR-21 Best Practice Guidelines: Regulatory uplift for financing digital infrastructure, access and use. ​
Approaches to ICT regulation need to be globally consistent yet flexible, allowing each national framework to be tailored to meet local needs, regulators taking part in GSR-21 agreed.
Mercy Wanjau, Acting Director-General of the Communications Authority of Kenya and Chair of GSR-21, said: “The regulatory Best Practice Guidelines crafted and adopted by regulators and policy makers at GSR have been guiding all of us through challenges and new endeavours. I call upon regulators everywhere to leverage the GSR-21 Guidelines in adopting and implementing globally agreeable approaches that are relevant to their national circumstances and leverage collaboration across the board."
The guidelines emphasise the need for a collaborative, whole-of-government approach to regulation, focusing particularly on the role of effective and agile financing, prototyping regulatory patterns and approaches, and transformational leadership, to drive faster and more inclusive connectivity and ensure safe digital inclusion for all in the wake of the pandemic.
Key recommendations include:
- Alternative mechanisms for funding and financing digital infrastructures across economic sectors. Regulators should encourage investment and help to create competitive markets for future-proof broadband and digital services. Investment is also needed in non-commercial areas to make digital services available and affordable for all, while ensuring that basic regulatory needs are met.
- Promotion of local innovation ecosystems that enable the development of emerging technologies and business models. Regulators must create a safe space for digital innovation and experimentation. New approaches to regulation should protect consumers while encouraging market growth and ensuring resilience in future networks and services.
- Spectrum innovation and efficient use. New approaches may be needed to enhance regulatory foresight, harness data to target interventions, and create space for regulators and industry to experiment together. Spectrum innovation is just one such example.
- Ambitious yet executable regulatory roadmaps. The proposed best practices from GSR 21, if widely adopted, could help countries leapfrog ahead in economic development, maximize the benefits of ICT uptake, and ensure that these immense opportunities reach everyone.
In addition to the GSR-21 Best Practice Guidelines, GSR-21 saw the release of several new publications and platforms​:  Financing Universal Access to Digital Technologies and Services, Econometric Modelling in the context of COVID-19, collaborative case studies, and ICT Regulatory Tracker 2020​.

IAEA and FAO Help Burkina Faso and Algeria to Enhance Food Safety & Security

The IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) cooperate in supporting food safety and food quality programmes around the world to address food hazards, food fraud and advise countries on food irradiation. Among the beneficiaries of this programme have been Burkina Faso and Algeria. To celebrate World Food Safety Day, we are drawing attention to the importance of nuclear techniques in monitoring food safety. “Safe food today for a healthy tomorrow” – this year’s theme – recognizes how safe food contributes to a healthy life, economy, planet and future.
Enhanced food safety capabilities in Burkina Faso
Tiny but oil- and vitamin-rich sesame seeds have become a staple of Burkina Faso’s economy – creating jobs and generating income. After cotton, the edible seeds that grow in pods have become the West African country’s second most exported agricultural product. This sprouting success in the last decade has been sustained with the help of Burkina Faso’s National Public Health Laboratory (LNSP), supported by the IAEA and FAO, through their Joint Cenre on Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture.
Enhancing food safety analytical capabilities in Algeria
Laboratories in Algeria have received the support to enhance their analytical capabilities for the detection of chemical hazards, including antimicrobial and pesticide residues in a range of food, from poultry and eggs to dates and honey. Algeria was the world’s sixth leading exporter of dates, worth approximately US $129 million in 2020.
Through the IAEA’s technical cooperation programme and in partnership with FAO, staff of the Algerian National Institute for Agronomic Research (INRAA) and the National Institute of Veterinary Medicine (INMV) have been trained in methods of analysis and supported with the required analytical equipment. These institutions are now equipped to contribute towards consumer protection and the trade of agricultural products.

Critical Infrastructure Protection and Resilience North America announce Preliminary Conference Programme for October

Download your Preliminary Conference Program guide today at

As the recent Ransomware attacks on Colonial Pipeline, JBS, Dassault Falcon Jet Corp, CNA Financial, and others has demonstrated, as well as the on-going threats from natural hazards/disasters, terrorist attacks and man-made disasters, it is becoming increasingly important for policies and procedures to be implemented to protect our critical infrastructure for a more secure nation.

It gives us great pleasure to invite you to join us at Critical Infrastructure Protection and Resilience North America in New Orleans, Louisiana, for what will be 3 days of exciting and informative discussions on securing North America’s critical infrastructure.

With a leading line up of international expert speakers, sharing their knowledge, expertise and experiences, we know you will find this a most rewarding and enjoyable event and look forward to seeing you in New Orleans, for the next in-person meeting on October 19th-21st, 2021, where we will ensure a safe and Covid compliant environment for discussing how to secure North America's critical infrastructure.

Download your Preliminary Conference Program guide today at and discover more on this premier conference program, expert speakers and showcase exhibiting companies.

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Natural hazard triggered industrial accidents: Are they Black Swans?

A recently published JRC study examines whether technological accidents caused by natural hazards (Natech accidents) are real “Blacks Swans” (unpredictable and hence unpreventable events), identifies their possible causes and discusses effective strategies to manage extreme risks.
The study concludes that the Black Swan metaphor is overused for technological accidents in general and Natech accidents in particular, whose recurrence raises questions about the effectiveness of corporate oversight and the application of state-of-the-art knowledge in managing risks.
What are Natech accidents?
Natech accidents occur when the natural and technological worlds collide, wherever hazardous industry is located in areas prone to natural hazards. Past Natech accidents have often had significant impacts on public health, the natural and built environment, and the local, national or even global economy.
Major technological accidents considered unpreventable are occasionally called Black Swan events. Three features characterize a Black Swan:
- it must be an outlier with respect to normal expectations, making it unpredictable;
- it has to have a major impact;
- it can be explained in hindsight, making it appear predictable.
Inadequate risk management and organisational risk blindness
A closer look at past Natech accidents shows that the vast majority of these events, if not all, could have been foreseen and prevented using available information and knowledge prior to the disaster. They can therefore not be considered inevitable or Black Swans.
The JRC study provides a detailed analysis of the reasons for why Natech risks are often underestimated:
- Risk management traditions and the Act-of-God mindset - The focus for managing natural risks has traditionally been on the response side and hence on disaster management, rather than on prevention and risk management, whereas the technological-risk community has always focused on risk- rather than disaster management. Natech risk is sandwiched between these two worlds, and neither community feels very much at ease with taking ownership of the risk;
- Complexity of Natech risk scenarios - Natech risk analysis would need extensions to traditional risk-analysis methodologies in order to cover the multi-hazard nature of the risk and the multitude of possible simultaneous scenarios;
- Risk governance and risk management problems due to the multi-stakeholder and multi-hazard nature of Natech risks, and the multitude of possibly conflicting issues that are usually on a manager’s radar screen;
- Socio-economic context, including group interests and power, economic pressure, and public or media indifference; and
- Human fallacies and cognitive biases that can corrupt the experiences we draw on for estimating risks.
Managing extreme risks
Building organisational resilience is key to managing risks effectively, in particular in high-risk industry. The JRC study discusses possible strategies to reduce extreme risks, prepare better for their consequences, and make Black Swans more accessible:
- Risk-based versus precaution-based strategies
- Disaster incubation theory and warning signals
- Mindfulness
- Resilience engineering
- Scenario planning
- Red teaming
While the JRC study is centered on Natech risks, it is generally applicable to managing also other types of extreme or low-probability risks.

NSA releases Cybersecurity Advisory on Ensuring Security of Operational Technology

The National Security Agency (NSA) released the Cybersecurity Advisory, “Stop Malicious Cyber Activity Against Connected Operational Technology” today, for National Security System (NSS), Department of Defense (DoD), and Defense Industrial Base (DIB) operational technology (OT) owners and operators. The CSA details how to evaluate risks to systems and improve the security of connections between OT and enterprise networks. Information technology (IT) exploitation can serve as a pivot point for OT exploitation, so carefully evaluating the risk of connectivity between IT and OT systems is necessary to ensure unique cybersecurity requirements are met.
Each IT-OT connection increases the potential attack surface. To prevent dangerous results from OT exploitation, OT operators and IT system administrators should ensure only the most imperative IT-OT connections are allowed, and that these are hardened to the greatest extent possible. An example of this type of threat includes recent adversarial exploitation of IT management software and its supply chain in the SolarWinds compromise with publicly documented impacts to OT, including U.S. critical infrastructure.
This guidance provides a pragmatic evaluation methodology to assess how to best improve OT and control system cybersecurity for mission success, to include understanding necessary resources for secure systems:
- First, NSA encourages NSS, DoD, and DIB system owners, operators, and administrators to evaluate the value against risk and costs for enterprise IT to OT connectivity. While the safest OT system is one that is not connected to an IT network, mission critical connectivity may be required at times. Review the connections and disconnect those that are not truly needed to reduce the risk to OT systems and functions.
- Next, NSA recommends taking steps to improve cybersecurity for OT networks when IT-OT connectivity is mission critical, as appropriate to their unique needs. For IT-OT connections deemed necessary, steps should be taken to mitigate risks of IT-OT exploitation pathways. These mitigations include fully managing all IT-OT connections, limiting access, actively monitoring and logging all access attempts, and cryptographically protecting remote access vectors.
Operational technology includes hardware and software that drives the operations of a given infrastructure environment, from an engine control unit in a modern vehicle to nationwide train transportation networks.
Every IT-OT connection creates an additional vector for potential OT exploitation that could impact and compromise mission and/or production. Performing a comprehensive risk analysis for all IT-OT interconnections and only allowing mission critical interconnections when they are properly protected will create an improved cybersecurity posture. By employing an appropriate risk analysis strategy, leadership and system owners and operators can make informed decisions to better manage OT networks while reducing the threats from and impact of exploitation and destructive cyber effects.

White Paper on the future of weather and climate forecasting

The advancement of our ability to predict the weather and climate has been the core aspiration of a global community of scientists and practitioners, in the almost 150 years of international cooperation in meteorology and related Earth system sciences.
The demand for weather and climate forecast information in support of critical decision-making has grown rapidly during the last decade and will increase even faster in the coming years. The generation and provision of these services has been revolutionized by supercomputers, satellite and remote sensing technology, smart mobile devices. A growing share in these innovations has come from the private sector. At the same time progress has been hampered by persisting holes in the basic observing system.
In a new White Paper on the Future of Weather and Climate Forecasting, 30 leading experts from the research, operations and education fields therefore analyse the challenges and opportunities and set directions and recommendations for the future.
White Paper on the future of weather and climate forecasting“Undoubtedly, the 2020s will bring significant changes to the weather, climate and water community: on the one hand through rapid advancement of science and technology, and on the other hand through a swiftly changing landscape of stakeholders with evolving capabilities and roles,” writes WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas.
“Such changes will affect the way weather and climate forecasts are produced and used,” he says.
While National Meteorological and Hydrological Services in all 193 WMO Members are still the public entities designated by governments to provide meteorological and related services, many other providers have entered the weather forecasting business in recent decades, including intergovernmental organizations like ECMWF, private sector companies and academic institutions.
This profound change into multi-stakeholder delivery of weather and climate services is driven by several factors such as: rapidly growing demand for such services from public and private sectors; the open data policy of many public agencies and the technological advancement and affordable solutions for service delivery; and the improved skill of the forecasts, which raises demand and user confidence. As a result, there is now a new era of weather and climate services with many new challenges and opportunities.
In June 2019, WMO launched the Open Consultative Platform (OCP), Partnership and Innovation for the Next Generation of Weather and Climate Intelligence, embracing a community-wide approach with participation of stakeholders from the public and private sectors, as well as academia and civil society. The new White Paper is an output of this consultative platform.
“The White Paper is based on the concept of a weather and climate innovation cycle which is determined to advance prediction services with the aim to improve public safety, quality of life, protect the environment, safeguard economic productivity. This applies across all domains, weather, climate, oceans, hydrology and the land surface, and time span of decisions from minutes and hours, through to weeks, months and even years ahead." Says Dr Gilbert Brunet, Chair of the WMO Scientific Advisory Panel and lead author and coordinator of the group of prominent scientists and experts worldwide who contributed to the White Paper.
"With appropriate investment in science and technology, and through better PPE, the weather and climate enterprise will meet the increasing stakeholder and customer demands for tailored and seamless weather and climate forecasts. Such improvements will provide significant value to all nations. This paper makes the case that in many ways the PPE will accelerate the desired bridging of the capacity gap in weather and climate service needed for developing countries," said Dr Brunet.
The White Paper traces the development of the weather enterprise and examines challenges and opportunities in the coming decade. It examines three overarching components of the innovation cycle: infrastructure, research and development, and operation.
Chapters include:
- Infrastructure for forecasting (observational and high-performance ecosystems; advances through public-private engagement)
- Science and technology driving advancement of numerical prediction (numerical Earth-system and weather-to-climate prediction; high-resolution global ensembles; quality and diversity of models; innovation through artificial intelligence and machine learning; leveraging through public–private engagement.
- Operational forecasting: from global to local and urban prediction (computational challenges and cloud technology; verification and quality assurance; further automation of post-processing systems and the evolving role of human forecasters; leveraging through public–private engagement).
- Acquiring value through weather and climate services (user perspective; forecasts for decision support; bridging between high-impact weather and climate services; education and training).
“The decade 2021–2030 will be the decisive period for realization of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Most of these goals have links with the changing environment – climate change, water resources and extreme events,” he said.
“The desired outcomes in all areas require enhanced resilience, which is also the main call of the WMO Vision 2030. The advances expected in weather forecasting and climate prediction during this decade will support those ambitious goals by enabling a next generation of weather and climate services that help people, businesses and governments to better mitigate risks, reduce losses, and materialize opportunities from the new intelligence of highly accurate and reliable forecasts and predictions,” says the concluding chapter of the White Paper.

UNDRR ROAMC: Investment in education creates more resilient societies

Investments in safe schools provide economic returns for society and also contribute to economic recovery, according to the latest evidence. They represent a clear way to finance risk reduction initiatives in the education sector and are a direct contribution to the creation of more resilient societies.
The suspension of classes for more than a year, due to the pandemic, has not been duly dimensioned.  Until now. Education may well be one of the most affected sectors by the COVID-19 crisis. According to different analyses, students affected by school closures will obtain 3% less income during their professional lives, which will mean an approximate GDP loss of 1.5% over the remainder of the century. The pandemic will also increase school desertion and will have a profound effect on learning processes for an entire generation, without taking into account systemic effects from school closures, such as increased malnutrition, mental health effects, and other vulnerabilities.
These are devastating figures that demonstrate the need for schools and their safety to be a fundamental part of national budgetary preparations. 3 out of 5 students who did not go to school last year live in Latin America and the Caribbean.  This was emphasized during the Virtual Caribbean Safe School Initiative Pre-Ministerial Forum, held between the 15th to the 26th of last March, which was oriented towards the promotion of safety in Caribbean schools, and which is the regional mechanism for putting into practice a relationship between education and resilience.
The sixth session of the Pre-forum: School safety investment as a Key Element of Economic Recovery showed the importance of integrating into recuperation processes all the lessons learnt during this crisis.
“We should invest in gathering and use of information for observation and mapping of precise interventions, while at the same time modernizing our technological infrastructure, not only to be able to face disasters, but also in regards to contemporary realities,” stated Fayval Willams, Minister of Education, Youth, and Information of Jamaica.
According to João Pedro Azevedo, World Bank economist, the educational system must prepare its teachers to confront lower learning levels and higher inequality levels. That is to say, to prepare them for the consequences of the pandemic. “Vulnerable sectors have been those most affected by the closures during the pandemic since they have no access to the necessary technology,” added Cynthia Hobbs, an education specialist from the Interamerican Development Bank.
Andrew A. Fahie, Prime Minister of the British Virgin Islands, stated that reconstruction of the school system after the pandemic must consider technology. “Inaction cannot be an action,” he stated.
Kamal Ahmed, an international disaster risk finance consultant for the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), elaborated further on the importance of investing in all aspects of school safety. “A school structure that collapses or closes interrupts nutritional programs, for example, which are a key element in social programs of many countries, and which at times are the only access to nutrition for many vulnerable children. In the case of the pandemic, if the child stays at home, and the father or mother must also stay, it reduces participation of that home in the labour market and therefore, their income,” stated Ahmed. “Investment in education produces amazing results, but also a lack of investment leaves surprising consequences.”
According to Ahmed, governments should develop a comprehensive evaluation of schools, identifying strengths and capacities, in addition to creating a matrix with safe and resilient school strategies, fragile and marginal school programs, and most vulnerable school projects. A plan must be created to compensate for learning losses.
From the financial point of view, added Ahmed, investment must be made in such a way as to reduce economic, social, environmental, physical, and lack of governance vulnerabilities. The Ministry of Education must be the priority in national budget preparation, with projections not only for costs but also for emergency funds.
Raúl Salazar, chief of UNDRR - Regional Office for the Americas and the Caribbean, stated that “loss of education increases gaps and inequality in the school system, and therefore social vulnerabilities. The disappearance of a large sector of the school population from the educational system will create significant effects on all social systems, including the economic systems.”    This clearly underlines the dimensions of systemic risk by its characteristics and requires us to confront them with a holistic and comprehensive vision.
Fahie, Prime Minister of the British Virgin Islands, specified that 20% of the 7% tax collection is applied to financial services for the improvement of schools structure. In this case, risk reduction forms a permanent part of state expenditures.
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030) is clear on this subject: “disaster risk reduction should be strengthened by providing adequate resources through various funding mechanisms, including increased, timely, stable and predictable contributions to the United Nations Trust Fund for Disaster Reduction and by enhancing the role of the Trust Fund in relation to the implementation of the present Framework”.
The world initiative for Safe Schools was accepted by the States during the signing of the Sendai Framework, which has been in effect for six years as of the 18th of March.
“In order to go forward, we must do it together, in a comprehensive way, with inter-institutional and inter-sectorial effort that would employ the disaster management abilities of various sectors which will put in motion well developed plans and strategies, financed and coherent with other large agencies, such as the Sustainable Development Objectives, and the Paris Agreement,” stated Mami Mizutori, the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction, during the opening day of the Pre-Ministerial Forum.

How science can help build a more resilient Europe

Enhanced data collection, more knowledge sharing and a long-term approach to risk will be key in strengthening Europe’s resilience against future disasters, according to a new book published today by the JRC.
Drawing lessons from the coronavirus pandemic and other crises, ‘Science for Disaster Risk Management 2020: acting today, protecting tomorrow’ explores how to protect lives, livelihoods, the environment and our rich cultural heritage from future disasters.
With input from over 300 experts, the book highlights the important role of science in preparing Europe to face the challenges that lie over the horizon.
Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, said: “As disasters defy borders the EU supports national action and promotes cross-border cooperation on disaster risk management – with the EU Civil Protection Mechanism being at the heart of this work. Using all data, science and lessons learnt available is vital to strengthen the collective safety and resilience against disasters in the EU and beyond”.
Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel said: “The Joint Research Centre has long held key expertise in disaster risk management, spawning valuable tools like early warning systems and satellite mapping services, disaster risk studies and global risk models. The new book ‘Science for Disaster Risk Management 2020: acting today, protecting tomorrow’, is the latest of these tools: it shows how vital science is in helping us prepare for disasters, and how we can all work together to learn the lessons of the past and prepare better for the future.”
The aftermath of disasters can be learning opportunities, both in recovering quickly and dealing with the underlying drivers of disaster risk to avoid or mitigate similar events. This new book provides several examples and recommendations on how to grasp these opportunities to build a more resilient future.
Data is key to understanding the impact of disasters, and better managing them in the future
Events like the Fukushima accident in 2011 or the coronavirus pandemic show that, however improbable they may seem, disasters do occur and they can have a huge impact.
On a practical level, past disasters can serve to highlight weaknesses and trigger changes in the policy framework. For example, the forest fires of 2017 in Portugal caused a reassessment of fire management policies and led to new legislation to protect people and territory from forest fires.
To make the most of these opportunities, scientists need quality, comprehensive data and information gathered after a disaster to develop the right methodologies and tools. The book authors recommend developing a mechanism so that disaster loss data can be collected and used in this way.
A major challenge to collating and using data is that much of the damages and loss to cultural and environmental ecosystems caused by disasters can remain hidden when the value of these assets are not easy to define in economic terms.
It is hard to put a price on cultural artefacts or quantify what is lost when certain oral traditions and customs are no longer performed.
As a first step, the authors recommend compiling an inventory of the current state of cultural heritage assets in Europe, which can contribute to preserving that heritage in the face of disasters.
Taking a long-term view on disaster risk
The book also calls for a shift from a short-term, reactionary approach to disaster risk management, towards a long-term view that tackles the underlying drivers of risk - such as inequality, urbanisation, or climate change.
For example, the authors show how urban planning can play a key role in avoiding building in risk-prone areas like flood plains. Climate change also poses a challenge that requires a long-term response: sectors like European agriculture will need to deal with more frequent and extreme weather events in the coming years.
The book recommends actions such as supporting research groups from across different scientific disciplines to work together to find nature-based innovative solutions to societal challenges.
Sharing knowledge and working together to become more resilient
In today’s complex world and the many links between assets, sectors and governance levels, disasters often have an impact across countries and sections of society. It is therefore necessary that different stakeholders and groups share their data and knowledge to co-create effective strategies to reduce disaster risk.
One positive example of this came following the explosion of a fertiliser plant near Toulouse in 2001. It triggered a set of actions to engage local stakeholders in the co-design of strategies and measures to deal with technological risk.
By establishing local committees for information and consultation, people can now participate in the decision-making process and implementation of measures to prevent these risks, while also having an influence on land-use planning.
The book recommends education and training to raise awareness and build the capacity of individuals and communities to contribute to these efforts.

New EU tool to support the assessment of wildfire risks and the mitigation of effects in Latin America and Caribbean region

The Joint Research Centre has developed country profiles under the Global Wildfire Information System (GWIS) helping to support wildfire management and disaster risk reduction globally but in particular, in the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region.
These profiles provide information on the geographic distribution of wildfires, burnt areas and emissions, and assess wildfire regimes and impacts at country and sub-country level for all continents worldwide.
Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, said: "Wildfires can have catastrophic consequences on the environment and on people. The country profiles designed by the Joint Research Centre will contribute to the risk assessment and mitigation of this danger, proving how science can help improve and protect lives and our planet."
Mette Wilkie, Director of the Forestry Division, FAO said:
"The opportunity for countries around the world to assess their national fire situation through the Wildfire Country Profiles of GWIS is fundamental to understanding fire risk and underpinning plans to mitigate the effects of wildfires. These efforts are critical to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals related to climate change mitigation, biodiversity conservation and sustainable livelihoods. FAO looks forward to continuing collaboration with the EC through JRC and GWIS, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean."
Leo Heileman, UN Environment Programme's Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean said:
"UNEP is delighted to support, along with FAO, a new information system that will improve wildfire management and strengthen disaster risk reduction in Latin America and the Caribbean, including the Amazon region. This kind of initiatives are part of an upgraded framework of cooperation agreed in February 2021 between the European Commission and UNEP aimed to step up efforts to tackle the climate, biodiversity and pollution crises, thus supporting countries build a healthier and more inclusive and resilient future for all."
Steven Ramage, Head of External Relations at the GEO Secretariat said:
"The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) welcomes the development of the GWIS country profiles by the European Commission’s Joint Research Center (JRC). This application is a unique resource to enhance wildfire prevention, preparedness and effectiveness in wildfire management. It provides access to critical wildfire information for governments and practitioners alike to prepare and respond to natural hazards.
GWIS is one of the most successful collaborative initiatives within the GEO Work Programme, providing Earth observations data and tools to enable informed national responses in the context of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Paris Agreement on climate change."
This information is essential to allow a global assessment of wildfire risk and to mitigate the effects of wildfires on land degradation, deforestation, or biomass burning emissions.
They contribute to shaping appropriate policies, reducing community exposure, mitigating damage and increasing resilience to wildfire events. These GWIS services also contribute to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), reducing the impact of climate change and disaster risk.
These country profiles are part of the new European Commission initiative to support wildfire management and disaster risk reduction globally and in particular in Latin America and the Caribbean.
This JRC action will fit into a comprehensive approach by the EU to support conservation and sustainable development of the Amazon forests.
There are at present more than 50 EU programmes on this regional priority, and the new budget for global Europe will also cover a specific Amazon strategy, coordinated with EU Member States.
This will be implemented in collaboration with the EU Delegations in the LAC region, supporting forthcoming EU programs in the region under the EU Green Deal strategy.
Through a Team Europe Initiative for the Amazon basin, coordinated actions in the field of forest conservation, sustainable agriculture, and environmental governance, will strengthen the impact and use of the GWIS services.
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