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Consultant (economics of disaster risk reduction)

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR)



In 2005, the World Conference on Disaster Reduction adopted the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015: Building Resilience of Nations and Communities. It aimed to achieve substantial reduction of disaster losses, in lives and in the social, economic and environmental assets of communities and countries. The implementation of the HFA since 2005 has generated significant political momentum and action around disaster risk reduction, and contributed to growing awareness, understanding and knowledge of disaster risk reduction among different stakeholders, governments in particular.

In the HFA, governments agreed to review the implementation regularly and requested UNISDR to “prepare periodic reviews on progress towards achieving [its] objectives and priorities.” Subsequently, UNISDR conducted a Mid-Term Review of the HFA in 2010-2011 through a participatory approach involving disaster risk reduction stakeholders, which concluded with eight recommendations for accelerating the HFA implementation. The Mid-Term Review also recommended that there should be a post-2015 instrument for disaster risk reduction. United Nations General Assembly Resolution 66/199 also requested UNISDR to facilitate development of a post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction. The Chair’s Summary of the Third Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in 2011 referred to a first outline of a post- 2015 framework at the next Global Platform in 2013.

In the context of the above, UNISDR has initiated the consultation process towards the post-2015 framework on disaster risk reduction. To support the post-HFA consultation process, a set of working papers will be prepared to deepen understanding and knowledge of the issues, which are imperative to achieve substantial reduction of losses, in lives and socio-economic assets of communities and countries. Economics of Disaster Risk Reduction is one of the working papers identified for the consultation process.

Duties and responsibilities

The consultant will work under the overall guidance of the Senior Coordinator of the Post-HFA process. The consultancy aims to assess the economic consequences of disasters, analyze the cost-and-benefit between disasters and risk reduction and put forward how the issue should be addressed in the post-HFA, including values and principles for investing in disaster risk reduction. Due to the time constraints of the consultancy, the major tasks are as follows:

• Study the economic impact of disasters since the last World Conference on Disaster Reduction in 2005. The study will assess both direct and indirect economic losses caused by disasters. The direct losses include gross domestic product (GDP), economic growth, the investment environment, employment and business continuity as well as the damages made in development sectors such as transportation system, physical infrastructure, commercial activities and agriculture. The indirect losses will include the additional cost of post-disaster relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction.
• Study the recent literature and data on the economics and investment in disaster risk reduction. The study will make a cost-benefit analysis between inaction and action in disaster risk reduction, with evidence-based research data, national reports and individual interviews or questionnaires and result oriented cases of integrating disaster risk assessment into development planning, policies and programs at national and local levels.
• Identify key institutional and policy barriers and gaps, which are holding back action needed for reducing economic losses of disasters and investing in disaster risk reduction for sustainable development.
• Put forward a clear set of values and principles for public and private investment in disaster risk reduction as well as practical recommendations on national allocation of resources in making development programmes resilient to disasters.

Expected outputs

A draft analytical working paper will be produced at the end of the first six weeks for UNISDR comments, which will be followed by experts peer review and on-line consultations. The study will then reflect and integrate inputs received and submit the final report at the end of the eight weeks.



• Strong background, knowledge and understanding of the concepts, principles and approaches to disaster risk reduction.


• Speaks and writes clearly and effectively; listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; tailors language, tone, style and format to match audience; demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.


• Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in economics, disaster risk reduction or other related fields. A first-level university degree in combination with qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work experience

• A minimum of ten years of progressively responsible experience in the field of research in economics, disaster risk reduction, environment, climate change or related areas. Prior knowledge on the working of the United Nations System and its specialized agencies, fund and programmes, is an advantage.


• Fluency in written and spoken English. Working knowledge of French and Spanish is an advantage.

Please note that applications received after the deadline will not be accepted. Applicants will be contacted only if they are under serious consideration. The United Nations does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interview meeting, processing, training or any other fees). The United Nations does not concern itself with information on bank accounts.

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  • Additional location info Remote
  • Closing Date 17 May 2012

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