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Data tools for achieving disaster risk reduction: An analysis of open-access georeferenced disaster risk datasets

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Introduction

The first United Nations World Geospatial Information Congress (UNWGIC) convened in November of 2018 in Deqing, Zhejiang Province, China to discuss the importance and transformative role of geospatial information in understanding social, environmental, and economic issues that plague communities, and its potential for widespread application and use to ameliorate these issues (UN-GGIM, 2021). More than 2,000 participants gathered, representing governments, international organizations, civil societies, academia, and the private sector to strategize and envision how innovation and collaboration could discharge that year's conference theme: "The Geospatial Way to a Better World."

At the conclusion of the three-day conference, UNWGIC issued the Moganshan Declaration, a powerful acknowledgment, and call for action. The declaration acknowledged that geospatial technologies have been unequally adopted and, further, out of reach of many developing countries. It also recognized that geospatial technologies are essential to decision-making and delivery of services and projects critical to advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals1 (UN-GGIM, 2018). The call: work together, collaborate, and innovate across sectors, member states, knowledge, and technology to "stimulate global geospatial development progress (UN-GGIM, 2018, p3)."

Between 2000 and 2019, disasters claimed the lives of 1.23 million people, disrupted the lives of 4.2 billion, and caused US$2.97 trillion in economic damage (Mizutori & Guha-Sapir, 2020). As the human, social, and economic toll of disasters presents a serious challenge to achieving the UN's Sustainable Development Goals for many states, this study explores the use of geospatial information, specifically open-access spatial data, and the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, a framework designed to manage disaster risk.

The priorities of the Sendai Framework are to (1) understand disaster risk; (2) strengthen disaster risk governance to manage risk; (3) invest in disaster risk reduction and resilience; and (4) enhance the capacity to recover from disasters (UNDRR, 2015). This study advances our knowledge of implementing the Sendai Framework from publications that have utilized open-access spatial data and issues common to Framework implementation. The findings from a literature review reveal that many of the problems cited by recent work are data-related.
This study engages with these issues and discusses how they could be addressed by those who have a vested interest in disaster risk reduction, from policymakers to community members.