Utility-focused evaluation of risk indices - A case study from the Philippines

Authors: Matthias Garschagen*, United Nations University, Mia Wannewitz, United Nations University
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Hazards and Vulnerability, Global Change
Keywords: Evaluation, Utility, Risk Indices, Philippines
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Napoleon B3, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Over the course of the past decades, assessing vulnerability to disaster risk through indices became increasingly popular. The main objectives of such approaches are to guide and prioritize action as well as funding for Disaster Risk Management (DRM). Especially global scale indices with nation-state resolution experienced a major boost and facilitated the identification of risk hot spots and country comparisons. Despite their popularity, their actual utility for better understanding risk as well as for supporting decision-makers in the field of DRM remains contested, as they fail to provide context- and spatially-explicit risk information. And while scholars strongly focus on validating the developed indices statistically, there is very little research concerned with evaluating their utility for supporting risk-informed decision-making.
Based on empirical findings in relation to the World Risk Index Project, the talk presents a novel approach for an expert-based and utility-focused evaluation of a sub-national multi-hazard risk index, using the example of the Philippines. The method allowed for identifying and explaining a grave mismatch between scientific assumptions regarding the use of risk indices and their actual utility for risk managers and policy-makers in the Philippines. The utility-focused evaluation process revealed necessary key prerequisites and quality criteria for advancing the usefulness and applicability of downscaled indices. The findings confirm the importance of utility-centered evaluations and the great role they play for improving the actual usability of risk information, needed for implementation of the post 2015 agenda, most notably the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

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