Risk governance

Improving the Evidence Base on the Costs of Disasters


Workshop - Paris, 21 November 2014




Recent shock events from natural hazards and man-made threats illustrate a significant increase in costs to OECD societies and economies. Increases in disaster-related costs are believed to have outpaced national investments in disaster risk reduction, however this claim is more intuitive rather than supported by data-driven analysis. There is little comparable data available in OECD countries on the costs of disasters, neither in terms of national expenditure related to disaster risk management nor in terms of data on disaster losses.

Cost data are needed to make a case for disaster risk reduction investments in national budgets. This will allow policy makers to undertake comprehensive assessments of the costs of disasters and the benefits of past and future risk management policies. In particular this information is helpful to inform decision making and to develop cost effective strategies and measures to prevent or reduce the negative impacts of hazards and threats.

The underlying challenge in making such measurements is that multiple agencies and levels of government contribute to these spending items - there is usually no central repository to keep track of these and comparable categories do not yet exist for expenditures ex-ante, or comprehensive losses ex-post. The OECD proposes a standardised and comparable national accounting framework for such costs that will help to evaluate economic benefits derived from disaster management, and facilitate cross country comparisons. 



‌‌The overall goal of the meeting was to contribute to improving countries’ disaster risk management policies as set out in the OECD Recommendation of the Council on the Governance of Critical Risks. With the development of a framework for assessing disaster risk-related costs the OECD seeks to improve the evidence base for evaluating and comparing risk management policies. Participants looked at the state of the art in information collection on disaster losses and discussed a proposed frameworkfor public expenditure on disaster risk management, exploring the possibilities to mainstream the initial pilot framework.


The meeting objectives were to:

  • Better understand current country practices to consolidate expenditure data on disaster risk management ex-ante and ex-post;

  • Identify good practices and existing challenges when it comes to consolidating public expenditure data for disaster risk management, and

  • Facilitate exchange and contribute to the discussion on how governments can introduce methodologies and standards to produce comparative data on disaster risk expenditures to inform policy decisions.


Meeting documents


Workshop summary

Issues paper



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