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NEWS: Challenge Fund to strengthen disaster and climate risk decision-making

The Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) has launched a new competitive Challenge Fund that seeks to pilot new and innovative approaches to strengthen disaster and climate risk decision-making in developing countries.

The starting point for improved disaster preparedness and resilience is to better understand risk. Over the past decade, there has been a marked improvement in the availability and accessibility of risk information, but many of the poorest and most vulnerable countries have been left behind. The demand for more robust, accessible, high-resolution and trusted risk data and analyses is rising. Emerging technologies and new ways of thinking provide an unparalleled opportunity to increase the accessibility of risk information and to revolutionize this sector. For example, crowdsourcing is now flourishing to deliver new data. But, there are also challenges.

This Challenge Fund seeks to provide small grants to projects that address the challenge in bridging the gap between technology and on-the-ground user needs in the field of disaster risk identification. Risk identification is seen at the foundation of all disaster risk management decision-making, whether risk reduction, preparedness, financial protection, or resilient recovery. The Fund seeks to support the development of data, products and approaches to support disaster risk management decision making and build resilience, including through better information, but also strengthening key steps in moving from information to insight and behavior change.

The four thematic areas you can compete in are:

Availability and Accessibility of Data and Tools to Analyze Risk

Fundamental data sets are missing; for example, many countries the lack of critical vulnerability data and high-resolution digital elevation datasets suitable for modeling flood and storm surge.  There are also major challenges to accessing and sharing the data that does exist. There is also an absence of appropriate data to model exposure, such as information on critical assets (human and infrastructure). In addition, there is limited availability of appropriate risk models, for example probabilistic drought models and models that integrate climate change and socioeconomic scenarios.

Moving from Information to Insight

Even the most robust, accurate risk information will have no impact if it is not tailored to meet a specific demand and if it is communicated poorly. There is also a challenge in communicating complex and uncertainty information effectively. Today, many tools that exist are not often well tailored for users in developing countries; there is a gap between the developers and those people who are intended to benefit.  We now know a lot about how to bridge this gap, to move from information to insight; the challenge is to deliver it in practice.

Beyond Insight to Triggering Changes in Behavior

To promote behavior change and good risk management will often require a deeper engagement beyond just products and tools. Currently, the use of information is contained by a lack of trust and buy-in to the information as well as a lack of capacity to interpret it effectively. We require new modes of communicating risk information to ensure that information is actionable, and methods to build capacity at the local level to effectively utilize the data and tools available.

Wild Card

Here, respondents are encouraged to propose challenges not already listed, as well as ideas for creative solutions to these identified challenges


The deadline for applications is the 1st May 2015.

See more about The Challenge Fund here.


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