Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015
Making development sustainable: The future of disaster risk management

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13.6 From risk information to
risk knowledge
Risk awareness and knowledge must be expanded and enhanced. To this end, the social production of risk information has to be transformed and the provision of information has to be turned into a social process of producing risk knowledge
Transforming the social production of risk information
A first step towards the enhanced management of disaster risk is through greater risk awareness and knowledge. The social production of risk information itself needs to be transformed, with a shift in focus from the production of risk information per se towards information that is understandable and actionable for different kinds of users: in other words, risk knowledge (CDKN, 2014

CDKN (Climate and Development Knowledge Network). 2014,Risk-informed decision-making: An agenda for improving risk assessments under HFA2, CDKN Guide, April 2014.. .
; GAR 13 paperGFDRR, 2014a

GAR13 Reference GFDRR (Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery). 2014a,Understanding Risk: The Evolution of Disaster Risk Assessment since 2005, Background Paper prepared for the 2015 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction. Geneva, Switzerland: UNISDR..
Click here to view this GAR paper.
). Risk information needs to be embedded as risk knowledge in all development decision-making processes. For example, while finance ministers require numbers that depict risks to the national economy, development sectors or global businesses will require information on the risks to specific portfolios of assets, while land-use planners will require geographic information on hazard levels. This implies the need to move from the kind of global risk information presented in this report towards far more granular information relevant to specific users, sectors and territories.
This transition will require change in the way risk data and information are currently produced and transformed. On the one hand, it will require governments to invest in the collection, management and dissemination of risk information, including disaster loss and impact statistics, hazard models, exposure databases and vulnerability information. At the same time, governments need to put standards and mechanisms in place to ensure openness and transparency so that users not only have access to the information they need
but are aware of its underlying assumptions and limitations.
A change of perspective in the production of risk information is also required, from measuring risk as an objective externality that can be reduced towards a deeper understanding, identification and estimation of the causes and consequences of risk generation and accumulation in a way that reveals risk as both an opportunity and a threat.
Sensitivity to extensive risk
Anincreasingsensitivitytoextensiveriskiscrucial to strengthening overall risk awareness. Because of its pervasiveness in time and space, extensive risk relates directly to the day-to-day concerns of households, communities, small businesses and local governments and can therefore stimulate and leverage social demand for disaster risk management. Extensive disasters provide real-time and locally specific indicators of how risk is generated inside poverty in everyday life. As a result, disasters of this sort provide a window to understand risk in the here and now, rather than in an abstract future.
At the same time, precisely because it is the risk layer that most internalizes social, economic and environmental vulnerability, extensive risk is the most susceptible to effective management through an appropriate combination of prospective, corrective and compensatory measures. Understanding how extensive risk is generated from conditions of everyday concerns, including fragile employment markets and livelihood options as well as limited access to health care and education, not only reaffirms and demonstrates how risks are socially constructed but can also facilitate practical action to reduce them. A focus on extensive risk and local development may hold the key to incremental and sustainable changes in development practices in a way that weaves the management of disaster risks into the creation of social and economic opportunity. Visualizing patterns and trends in extensive risk
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