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Understanding Risk 2022

The Understanding Risk (UR22) community strives to begin a global discourse on risk. Risk assessment, risk management, risk mitigation and various aspects of risk for individuals, communities, nations are unique to each situation and understanding how risk works, and how they may often be interlinked and cascade to become a problem too big to handle, leading to disaster is essential. Finding pathways for logical and standardized handling of such risks and preventing cascading may be considered the prime objective of UR22.

While the UR22 main event was held in Brazil over a period of five days, thousands more joined online and at the satellite hubs in different continents. The UR community meets every two years and brings together diverse groups from the private, public, non-profit, technology, research, academic and financial sectors. Each meet of the UR Forum has generated new ideas and partnerships, improved risk assessment and risk information reporting, and helped to integrate them into policy and development planning.

In every aspect of our lives, there is risk involved. Often, one risk leads to another. This year’s theme was Riding the Waves of Risk, with focus on climate and disaster risks in a multi-hazard world. To better understand risk, prevent disasters from happening, and build resilience, UR22 intended to explore the space where these multi-hazards collide and how disaster impacts cascade in unpredictable ways.

Already soaked by a storm, the Santa Cruz area — a tourist-friendly stretch of beaches on the Central Coast of California, 70 miles south of San Francisco — was again inundated in some parts with as much as five inches of rain and driving winds of up to 75 miles per hour in the following days. More severe weather was to come the week after. Things were already grim and were getting worse by the hour. The coastal community was being battered relentlessly, and there was no sign of any respite.

An unfortunate congruence of high tides, a storm surge and high surf left hundreds of homes and dozens of businesses damaged by floodwater and sand. These extreme conditions eroded coastlines, damaged beaches, destroyed parts of several piers, and forced many to evacuate their homes. On top of that the impending storm raises the risk of landslides as more water falls on the super-saturated ground.

This is a situation we are all familiar with, no matter the country we come from, and it implores us to Understand Risk. Once we understand it, we can prepare to deal with it.

The objectives of the UR22 community are to come up with global protocols on various topics that include Risk data, Preparedness and Response, Building Regulation, Urban Resilience, Fragile Conflict and Violence countries, Inclusive DRM, Resilient Recovery, Resilient Housing, Risk Communication, Disaster Risk Financing etc. This is by no means a comprehensive list of the topics of UR22, but some of the most pertinent ones which feature high on the ‘Riding the Waves of Risk’ theme of UR22.

The Understanding Risk (UR) community has come a long way since its inception in 2010, out of the recognition that disaster risk assessment and identification were activities that cut across sectors and industries. It has now grown into a community of over 13,000 experts and practitioners interested and active in the creation, communication, and use of disaster risk information. This network has inspired innovation by sharing and applying best practices, developing technological solutions, and enabling cross-sector partnerships. The Community comes from about 209 countries, with 48.5% coming from WB client countries. Over 4,600 organizations are part of the community, representing government agencies, multilateral organizations, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, research institutions, academia, community-based organizations, and civil society.

Our participation in UR22 shows how we propose to engage with the community, our stakeholders and calibrate our business objectives with respect to the evolving understanding risk ecosystem. If a country faces major environmental problems from multiple sources, what counts is how a society responds, and how it recovers; makes changes from the lessons learned. We live in an interconnected society - which means the collapse of one society affects others. We would like to think, as a society, we are better positioned to address the multi hazard risks communities face today, because we have the knowledge of the past and we can predict the future.

Connecting the dots… On multi-hazard risk..through human centric solutions.

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