The 2012 ‘Understanding Risk Forum’ – now relive it online

The 2012 ‘Understanding Risk Forum’  – now relive it online
1 February 2013

A full multimedia gallery of content, including video, generated by last July’s Understanding Risk Forum in Cape Town, South Africa, was this week made available online.

Detailed sessions on 15 major topics were held during the forum, which was entitled “Mapping Global Risk” and included two Red Cross-led presentations: “Community-Based Risk Assessment”, chaired by Dr James Kisia, deputy secretary-general of the Kenya Red Cross, and “Assessing Risk in a Changing Climate”, chaired by Climate Centre Director Dr Maarten Van Aalst together with the African Development Bank.

The Climate Centre’s Dr Pablo Suarez convened a special lunch-event where participants played the educational climate-based game, “Paying for Predictions”.

Understanding Risk (UR) is a global community of experts in disaster-risk assessment who pool experience and design best practice; it convenes every two years at UR forums – the 2010 event, the first, was held in Washington, D.C.

In the five-day Cape Town forum, some 500 experts in disaster-risk management and practitioners from nearly 90 countries came together to exchange in-depth knowledge of risk assessment.

Discussions ranged from assessment for financial applications, drought resilience and climate change to satellite observation, “crowdsourcing” and tools for building resilience to floods, earthquakes, and landslides.

Convened by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery and the World Bank, the 2012 forum was organized in conjunction with the South African government and the European Union.

“How we connect our work to the community and its resources is something that we want to explore here,” Dr Kisia said in introductory remarks to the session he chaired.

The session began with a film of the “Gender and Climate” game, first played last year at PopTech’s Climate Resilience Lab in Nairobi, which explores the role of women and girls in adaptive development-strategies in Kenya.

In his own introduction, Dr Van Aalst emphasized the importance of the recent IPCC Special Report on Managing the Risk of Extremes and Disasters to advance Climate Change Adaptation, which presents the best scientific knowledge on how weather extremes are changing and how risks can best be managed.

The session emphasized the need to integrate information about changing climate risks into practical decision-making, and make better use of information on climate risk across timescales, rather than focusing on long-term scenarios in isolation.

Climate Centre Director Dr Maarten van Aalst speaks to a Cape Town UR Forum audience. (Photo: Understanding Risk)