Disaster risk management

A framework for assessing and comparing disaster risk intervention options.
This framework will help decision-makers assess intervention options such as policy changes, investments in physical infrastructure, land use and zoning, and rules restricting certain types of activities.

Resilient Organisations, M.E. Research and collaborators have developed a framework to help decision-makers better understand and approach disaster risk decision evaluation: including a comprehensive accounting of social, environmental and economic costs and benefits; future uncertainty; risk appetite; equity and opportunity.  The framework guides users through the selection of appropriate option evaluation tools (such as cost-benefit analysis, multi-criteria analysis etc), and helps users to design their assessment specific to their context. It is a tool that will be useful to both decision-makers and analysts.”

Using this framework will help to ensure that disaster risk management intervention assessment is undertaken in a systematic, transparent and comprehensive manner, leading to better disaster risk management outcomes for communities.

Key steps in the framework:

1.     Selecting a general evaluation tool for comparing risk management options

2.     Identifying relevant impacts

3.     Considerations for specific analyses, such as uncertainty

4.     Principal evaluation techniques

5.     Reviewing the evaluation and reporting

Project overview

The quality of disaster risk management decision-making in New Zealand, and internationally, is varied. Disaster risk management decisions are often made using traditional economic evaluation tools. However, these tools often do not adequately account for the increasingly complex and uncertain world we are facing or the current regulatory and policy setting in New Zealand centred around well-being, resilience, and sustainability.

In this research project, we have developed a framework to guide decision-making for disaster risk management option assessment, accounting comprehensively for social, environmental, and economic costs and benefits, future uncertainty, risk appetite, equity, and opportunity.

To underpin the development of the framework we initially completed a literature review of current New Zealand and international disaster risk decision-making processes. We also established a local, regional, and national government representative stakeholder group to guide the project. Based on the literature review and feedback from our end-user stakeholder group, we developed a prototype decision-making framework. The framework guides users through selection of appropriate option evaluation tools, and helps users to design their assessment specific to their context, considering factors such as distributional equity, risk preferences and uncertainty.  The framework helps users to ensure they consider the full range of impacts.  It is primarily designed as a tool to improve risk literacy and comprehensive consideration of disaster risk decision-making. The framework has been applied to two case studies– to illustrate the application of the framework and enhance its usability.

Key contacts
Charlotte Brown

Principal Research Consultant
Resilient Organisations Ltd
e : charlotte.brown@resorgs.org.nz

Nicky Smith

Market Economics
e: nicky@me.co.nz

Project team
Charlotte Brown

Resilient Organisations

Nicky Smith

Market Economics

John Vargo

Resilient Organisations

Garry McDonald

Market Economics

Wendy Saunders

GNS Science

Ilan Noy

Victoria University of Wellington

Our funders

This project was developed with the financial support of the Natural Hazards Research Platform.

Project outputs
Disaster Risk Management Decision-making: Review: Full cost accounting of disaster risk management decisions

Report prepared by Nicky Smith, Charlotte Brown, Wendy Saunders 
Resilient Organisations Research Report 2016/04, March 2016.


Challenges and opportunities for economic evaluation of disaster risk decisions

Nicola Smith, Charlotte Brown, Garry McDonald, et al. (2017). 
Economics of Disasters and Climate Change, 1(1), 111-120.  

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