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Regional Situation Analysis: The State of Production, Dissemination, and Use of Disaster-Related Statistics in Selected Countries in Asia and the Pacific

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Technical Working Group on Disaster Related Statistics in Asia and the Pacific

July 2021

Introduction

Disaster risk management requires sound evidence as the basis for shifting from reactive to a more proactive and predictive perspective. Statistics, therefore, play a crucial role providing the basis for risk prevention, risk reduction and management as well as in the conventional disaster management namely preparedness, disaster response and recovery. The need for timely and accurate data becomes even more pressing given the increasing frequency and severity of climate change-induced extreme weather events.

Disaster-related hazards, vulnerability, exposure and coping capacities are woven through communities, societies and economies in complex ways leading to systemic and cascading risks. In an increasingly interdependent world, these factors are closely related to development. In this regard, landmark UN agreements such as the Sendai Framework, the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals have, in their central core, the idea of a strongly interlinked sustainable and equitable economic, social, and environmental development to help identify and reduce systemic risks, and promote sustainable development. One of the cornerstones for this interlinked framework is disaster-related data that is more readily available, and in a format that is more compatible, consistent, and comparable to the development-related data ecosystem. This could happen only when disaster-related data becomes official statistics in the broader context of the development of a national statistical system.

More recently, the United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSD) established an Inter-Agency and Expert Group (IAEG) on Disaster Related Statistics to help concerned agencies to work together in consultation with members of regional expert groups and task forces. The Group is also to serve as a formal mechanism to progress a common statistical framework on disaster-related statistics and to sustain cooperation, coordination and fundraising for enhancing statistics related to hazardous events and disasters.

Three years earlier, ESCAP Committee on Statistics in 2018 established a Technical Working Group on Disaster-related Statistics in Asia and the Pacific (TWG) to accelerate and support member States in producing disaster-related statistics for national and international planning, analysis, and reporting. The TWG would build on the results of the Expert Group on Disaster-related Statistics in Asia and the Pacific, which concluded its work in 2018 with the release of the Disaster-related Statistics Framework and recommendations on future work in the region.

The decision also marked the accomplishment of the mandate given by ESCAP in mid-2014 that stressed “the importance of disaggregated data related to disasters in enabling a comprehensive assessment of the socioeconomic effects of disasters and strengthening evidence-based policy-making at all levels for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.”

The Situational Analysis Report

This situational analysis aims to provide part of the basis for the work of the Technical Working Group on Disaster-related Statistics in Asia and the Pacific (TWG) in facilitating the collaboration among national statistical offices and disaster management agencies in Asia and the Pacific in order to advance the production, dissemination, and use of internationally comparable disaster-related statistics.

This report seeks to help the Asia-Pacific region make the transition from building a statistical framework into the next phase, which is developing guidance for implementing such a framework. Using this report as one of its references, the TWG will be in a better position to help its members form guidance for implementation, collaborative efforts in capacity development, developing pilot studies and good practices as well as further investigations for the Disaster-related Statistics studies to be conducted in close collaboration with complementary in the region and beyond.

Objectives

The situational analysis would substantiate the Terms of Reference of the TWG. Predecessor of the TWG, i.e. the Expert Group on Disaster-related Statistics in Asia and the Pacific, in its sixth and final meeting, put together the TOR that, later, was endorsed by the Bureau of the ESCAP Committee on Statistics. It includes the conduct of a study, to be completed in the formative stage of the TWG, as part of the basis in developing a five-year strategy including the TWG’s objectives, strategic direction, activities and modalities of work.

Scope

The situational report focuses on the rationale, goals and objectives and ways of working of the TWG. It encompasses the background of the TWG particularly the policies and progress of thoughts that highlights the importance and imperatives of DRSF. These are contextualised in countries’ disaster risk reduction and national development, and the need for the countries to be accountable to their commitments to regional and global frameworks. To that end, the situational analysis outlines the goals and objectives of the TWG, as well as the structural and mechanisms and the way of working to attain such objectives.

The report covers the followings

  • Background of the establishment of the TWG
  • Description of the gaps in disaster-related statistics
  • Disaster
  • Related Statistical Framework
  • Challenges
  • Illustration of current practices
  • The Technical Working Group

This situational report will not contain the substantive and technical content of disaster management nor statistics, which are elaborated in the DRSF handbook and other more tailored to the specific technical and practical purposes.

Methods

The situational analysis report is compiled based on data collected through deskwork, structured interviews, and as necessary, surveys. Data is triangulated, to the extent possible, with results of deliberations in the TWG. For instance, in its first meeting, the TWG has provided the Secretariat some feedback regarding some areas of work that participants considered to be priority areas of the TWG. The secretariat, on the other hand, advised the TWG that a Situational Analysis Report will be compiled soon. For this purpose Secretariat will undertake a study that will involve data collection techniques including dsk review, survey, key interviews, and as necessary focused group discussions