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Engineers' voice crucial to disaster risk reduction efforts

Date
06 March 2023

New report by the ICE and the International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure offers an engineering perspective on planning for disasters.

Engineers' voice crucial to disaster risk reduction efforts
The ICSI and ICE report recommendations are being offered as part of the Sendai Framework’s mid-term review. Image credit: Unsplash

Engineers need to be involved to improve planning for disasters, a new report has found.

The report, published by the International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure (ICSI), with support from the ICE, said that multi-disciplinary and cross-sector collaboration would allow better assessments when developing risk reduction frameworks.

It would also allow resources to be allocated more effectively.

David Smith, chair of ICE’s Sustainable Resilient Infrastructure Community advisory board, said:

"Engineers are uniquely skilled, with a background that enables them to have a huge impact on the creation of sustainable and resilient infrastructure.

“Our investigations show the engineering community needs to be involved earlier on in discussions relating to both policy and project development. This will allow us to continue tackling the big issues facing society, and pioneer new solutions to the challenges we face.”

sendai framework report cover
The report puts forward 'practical and focused' recommendations.

What the report recommends

1. Diverse technical experts

The report emphasises the need to seek input from a diverse range of technical experts.

2. Building local capacity

It also highlights the importance of building local capacity and ensuring an inclusive, participatory approach to disaster risk reduction that empowers local practitioners - who are often responsible for project implementation, operations, and maintenance.

3. Implementing resilience laws and codes

It also recommends the development and implementation of systemic risk and resilience frameworks.

These include laws, policies, rulings, codes, plans, or other written mechanisms that encourage or enforce the uptake of disaster risk reduction and resilience measures by governments and other decisionmakers.

4. Standardising resilience frameworks

The development of these frameworks should be standardised to improve collaboration and reduce confusion, the report concludes.

Amplifying the voice of the engineering community

Savina Carluccio, executive director of ICSI, said: “Engineers play a crucial role in developing and managing the built environment, as key implementers of disaster risk reduction and resilience-building activities.

“Our report puts forward practical and focused recommendations from practitioners on the ground, with the aim of enabling more informed decision-making on the implementation of the Sendai Framework.

“It is a unique opportunity to amplify the voice of the engineering community and ensure that it is heard by decision makers at high-level forums.”

The ICSI and ICE report recommendations are being offered as part of the Sendai Framework’s mid-term review. The paper’s findings are based on a global consultation, comprising a multi-lingual survey and a series of 1-to-1 interviews, with experts in disaster risk reduction and resilience, conducted by ICSI and ICE.

What is the Sendai Framework?

The UN’s Sendai Framework is a plan that sets out what is needed to help reduce the risk of disaster and build resilience.

It provides UN member states with concrete actions to protect development gains from the risk of disaster.

The framework works alongside other 2030 Agenda agreements.

These include:

  • The Paris Agreement on Climate Change;
  • The Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development;
  • The New Urban Agenda; and
  • The UN Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs).

The Sendai Framework was endorsed by the UN General Assembly, following the 2015 Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR).

It advocates for “the substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries”.

  • Emma Beer, media relations manager at ICE