Asia-Pacific Expert Group on Disaster-related Statistics

Through ESCAP resolution 70/2 (E/ESCAP/RES/70/2) on Disaster-related statistics in Asia and the Pacific, the Commission established an expert group comprising statisticians and disaster risk reduction experts to work towards developing a basic range of disaster-related statistics in support of policy development. The resolution stressed  "the importance of disaggregated data related to disasters in enabling a comprehensive assessment of the socioeconomic effects of disasters and strengthening evidence-based policy-making at all levels for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation."

Image from Kathmandu, 3 months after 2015 eartquake

The current approach of the Expert Group is to study and review methodologies for currently available data in countries in order to develop a statistical framework that is compatible with the current statistical systems in countries and that will contribute to improvement of the quality of statistics in all  member States. The Expert Group does not aim to create new concepts regarding disaster observation and risk management but instead builds upon commonly accepted definitions towards improving the quality of the underlying statistics.  Through this approach, it will be possible to produce and analyze internationally comparable statistics based on the existing databases in countries. The Expert Group’s statistical framework can also be used as a  tool to help to bridge the domains of disasters and risk management information on the one hand with the socio-economic statistics on the other. The bridge between these two domains of statistical information is essential for producing indicators. 

The establishment of the Asia-Pacific Expert Group predates the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction and the adoption of global SDG indicators, but the Expert Group group has swiftly and seamlessly adapted for alignment to the global policy and indicators landscapes. The Expert Group has  emphasized the importance of  building partnerships and ensuring alignment with other groups and initiatives, particularly the Open-ended Intergovernmental Expert Working Group on Indicators and Terminology Relating to Disaster Risk Reduction, established by the UN General Assembly in 2015 (A/RES/69/284). The Sendai Framework Targets and relevant SDG indicators provide the foundation for the scope of the Expert Group's statistical framework. Thus, this group's work has dual benefits for the region by helping with improvement of  statistics  from official sources at the national level  while also  building capacities for ultimately meeting the broader demands for monitoring the new global indicators.