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EC Study Outlines Pathway to Standardizing Disaster Loss Databases

European Union16 January 2014: The European Commission (EC) released a report, titled 'Recording Disaster Losses: Recommendations for a European Approach,' which outlines a pathway for a standardized European approach to record and manage disaster loss.

The EC notes that disaster loss databases are useful for: implementing local- to national-scale disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategies in Europe; and helping to better understand disaster loss trends at the global level.

The study recommends three areas that should provide the basis for a disaster prevention conceptual framework: disaster loss accounting; disaster forensics; and risk modeling. A disaster loss accounting system would enable documenting trends and aggregating statistics to inform local, national and international DRR programmes. Better disaster forensics would allow for identifying the causes of disasters through measuring the contribution of exposure, vulnerability, coping capacity, mitigation and response in order to improve disaster management from lessons learned. Loss data are necessary for risk modeling, which would improve risk assessment and forecasting, and enable better inference of vulnerabilities.  The proposed framework takes into account existing EU policies and the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015. The study analyzed the scale and scope of existing loss databases and considered whether or not a European approach was appropriate.

The Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection of the EC commissioned the EU's Joint Research Centre to undertake the study. The three-month study is a first step that will require significant follow-up, including establishing a forum to build consensus on the precise approach to be taken by EU member States. [UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) Press Release] [Publication: Recording Disaster Losses: Recommendations for a European Approach]