It was not the Copa do Mundo da FIFA Brasil that brought us to Yerevan in Armenia in July 2014, but a regional workshop on mainstreaming disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA).
Between the sessions—and between the matches—we had some serious discussions with our colleagues from Armenia about disaster and climate risk reduction and risk prevention, what we have achieved and what the possibilities are for the future.
We have concluded that there are lots of common aspects and knowledge and expertise to be shared.
What are we aiming for?
The risks of disaster are increasing throughout the world as more people than ever before live in urban areas. At the same time, new technologies are revolutionizing social behaviour and entire industries.
Unfortunately, city planning and development have given little consideration to the consequences of earthquakes, hydro-meteorological risks and other disasters.
This is why we need to build greater disaster and climate resilience in the three countries of fYR Macedonia, Armenia and Moldova by increasing institutional capacity, mobilizing knowledge and transferring appropriate best-practice innovation technologies. A special focus is needed on strengthening collaboration between Skopje, Yerevan and Ungheni, where we will be piloting a number of innovative techniques and methodologies soon.
The project will strengthen the capacities of the three cities to develop and implement integrated disaster and climate risk reduction plans and programmes. This will be accomplished by using the Global Local Government Self-Assessment Tool (LGSAT), as well as innovative foresight methods.
Moreover, it will introduce the Smart City approach to the challenges of rapid urbanization and climate change.
Smart City aims to optimize scarce city resources, increase resilience and generate a unified and coherent customer experience for citizens.
The Road Ahead
The Smart City approach will integrate different layers of DRR resources and services.
We will develop ICT solutions for improving the availability of information and increasing public awareness about disaster and climate risks in urban areas.
In this way, we will leverage the existing solutions in fYR Macedonia and Armenia and replicate them in Moldova.
Furthermore, we will try to incorporate as much as possible the trend towards “new data feeds resilience” (i.e., collecting the data from citizens and feeding it back to them). For example, predicting routes in the event of earthquakes, data-mining about floods, or visualizing displacement due to floods through mobile data in Mexico City. And there are more: smartphones as weather surveillance systems, immediate detection of earthquakes, and the concept of proxy data for disaster resilience.
At the international level, the project will support knowledge sharing on best practices and lessons learnt, as well as using available external expertise to the greatest extent possible (e.g. Net Hope, airbnb for alternative infrastructure for resilience, Smart City-Smart Citizens and others).
A new approach for the awareness campaign will be introduced through the Social Innovation Challenge for urban resilience, targeting youth and with the support of the three social innovation labs in Armenia, Moldova and fYR Macedonia.
In our endeavour to make our cities more resilient, we will be joined by the cities’ administrations, national counterparts in Moldova, Armenia and FYR Macedonia, as well as private sector companies—including mobile operators, civil society organizations and others. Furthermore, the project will utilize the outcomes of the Sendai WCDRR Conference #WCDRR on reducing risks in urban settings, making the three cities more resilient to disasters and accidents.
Stay tuned to #ICT4DRR for regular updates.