Disaster Impact Toolkit

How do you go about ensuring your project is resilient to climate risks today and in the future?

In this time of rapid climate change and intensifying natural disasters, infrastructure projects and systems are under pressure to deliver resilient and reliable services. Investors and decision makers want to be informed about the current and emergent risks associated with the project from today to 10, 20, 30 years in the future under normal and unexpected conditions.

So how do you do that?

You need a scientific model of the climate risks

Tools and capacity are needed to make raw climate data useful for decision makers, including national policy- makers, regulators, private sector, and local governments. 

One of the major challenges is to help users make informed decisions given uncertainty about the future climate and socio-economic changes. Given the long lifetimes of infrastructure, it is important to take early action to integrate adaptation into decision making, but also to ensure flexibility or robustness to address future uncertainty.

Tools such the Disaster Impact Toolkit are being used to support decision-making under uncertainty.

You need a model that illustrates how variables can impact on one infrastructure project.

Infrastructure systems are interdependent, which means that climate change impacts on one infrastructure asset can cascade through the system. These interdependencies are particularly high in urban areas due to the dense spatial concentration of assets and may even extend beyond territorial boundaries. This illustrates the need to map interdependencies across critical infrastructure and to adopt a multi-sector, multi-hazard approach to climate risk assessments. Our Disaster Impact Tool does this.

“In order to provide the risk and resilience data, you need a tool that has the GIS specific to the project, that has geospatial tools specific to the user, and that has satellite images which identify infrastructure locations and land contours”

David Dodd, Founder ISRC

You need a model that provides scenarios and simulations

Simulations provide insight as they layout a new world and they ask a person how they would respond. However, we must be astute about who designed the simulation. The idea that one designer knows systemically what the future holds is absurd.

So, for any modelling and simulation tool to be effective – it needs to be systemic, it needs to be bespoke for the project, the city, country, the network, the end users, and it needs to be evidence based,

For instance, how can you make infrastructure assets more systemically resilient if you don’t have appropriate and available data on the spatial distribution of natural hazards? You can’t.

To overcome this – you need a tool that is based on complexity, not certainty. That incorporates Infrastructure and systemic GIS, geospatial data, economic, and demographic data, and that delivers outcomes that can be understood by stakeholders.

Our Disaster Impact Tool does this.


“A key advantage is that by developing scenarios for specific communities’ people can understand the specific issues in their area, and explore the advantages and disadvantages of their planned response to a threat, hazard, climate risk etc.”

David Baxter, Chief PPP Advisor

You need a model that can stress test

In terms of simulations and modelling, one of the main things which is promising in terms of widespread adoption is organisations such as the World Bank confirming the importance of the need to be able to experiment, stress test and evaluate the utilisation of risk reduction strategies and asses their impact.

There is an acceptance that running scenarios of failures is the first and most critical step in defining contingency plans.

What this means in terms of advancing adoption of technology and innovation is that modelling tools now need stress tests options for a variety of risks, under normal conditions and unlikely ones.
Stress testing can be used to identify how infrastructure will perform under a wide range of potential future climates.
Our Disaster Impact Tool does this.

You need a model that can provide a cost benefit analysis

Many government, institutional, and company leaders now agree that sustainable resilience is our key challenge: we must strengthen resilience beyond a survival capacity to enable long-term, sustainable, and inclusive growth.
Historically the shortage of private investment in resilient infrastructure has been blamed on the inability to accurately provide a monetary return. Investment funds generally shy away if they cannot see a direct internal rate or return.

Our tool kit illustrates the impact a disaster and hazard would have both with and without investment in resilience.

Impacts can be calculated in any location and for any type of disaster, with an unlimited number of scenarios.

You need a tool that is easy to use

A lot of the software tools available are designed to be understood by an expert that is skilled at reading graphs and data in spreadsheets. So even if you have access to the data and tools, do you have the skills and competences to make good decisions?

The data behind disasters, technology, climate risks and how they relate to a particular infrastructure project is complex and systemic.

So, you need a visual tool this is designed to be user friendly, can be interacted with, and that can take a lot of information and present it in a way a decision maker will be able to be informed.

Our Disaster Impact Tool does this.

“as professionals we must understand that there are a range of innovative technologies that can assist in all stages of PPPs and if we are in a position to utilise technology, then we need to understand what technology is available, is it fit or unfit for what your objective is, and beyond that – is it easy to use.”

Tanya Ellen, EdTech and Visualization specialist.


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