GRAF Pilot Project Technical Advisor
Result of Service
The GRAF consultant will act as the focal point for GRAF roll-out and will be responsible for engaging stakeholders, facilitating knowledge transfer, and working closely with consultants, experts, and other stakeholders to provide high-quality tailored technical assistance to the country aligned to the pillars of the GRAF. The consultant will provide advisory, operational and technical support functions that cut across all 4 pillars of the GRAF, namely:
Strengthening data collation, access, analysis, and visualization: Increased access to hazard, vulnerability and exposure and climate data and analysis available.
Catalyzing New Information: Innovative research and partnerships fill gaps in risk knowledge, and support end-users to apply innovative risk information tools.
Technical Support and Tools: Capacity developed to apply improved risk data and tools and to accelerate cross-country learning Influencing agenda setters and financing systems.
Influencing agenda setters and financing systems: Enhanced engagement strategies and targeted advocacy to drive systematic application of risk data and analysis.
Duties and Responsibilities
Created in December 1999, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) is the designated focal point in the United Nations system for the coordination of disaster reduction and to ensure synergies among the disaster reduction activities of the United Nations and regional organizations and activities in socio-economic and humanitarian fields. Led by the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, UNDRR has around 100 staff located in its HQ in Geneva, Switzerland, and 5 regional offices and other field presences. Specifically, UNDRR coordinates international efforts in disaster risk reduction, and guides, monitors and reports on the progress of the implementation of the international strategy for disaster reduction, now the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, 2015-2030; campaigns to create global awareness of disaster risk reduction benefits and empower people to reduce their vulnerability to hazards; advocates for greater investments in disaster risk reduction to protect people’s lives and assets, and for increased and informed participation of men and women of all stakeholder groups in reducing disaster risk; and informs and connects people by providing practical services and tools such as Prevention Web, publications on good practices, and by leading the preparation of the Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction and the organization of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction.
The adoption of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction created new requirements and new opportunities for those involved in building resilience to the shocks to which societies are exposed and articulated the need for improved understanding of risk in all its dimensions. In response to this challenge, UNDRR was called upon by its partners to establish the Global Risk Assessment Framework to accelerate action on improving access and use of risk information to inform decision-making and transform behaviors for disaster risk reduction.
Many countries lack the means to assess and manage escalating risks in a holistic and integrated manner: they lack a risk assessment approach that allows them to understand the systemic nature of risk both in development, humanitarian and fragile state contexts. As the United Nations focal point agency for disaster risk reduction, UNDRR has designed the Global Risk Assessment Framework (GRAF) as a long-term initiative aiming to:
– Help UNDRR partners to access and better apply risk data, including hazard, vulnerability and exposure data relating to complex climate futures,
– Deploy new technological innovations in risk data across thematic areas to strengthen anticipatory finance and enable specialized analytics to better understand the systemic risks facing countries and regions,
– Strengthen the capacity of national and sub-national partners to integrate complex climate futures into their investment and development plans, by improving the uptake of risk science in decision-making and diffusion of practical tools to inform risk reduction options,
– Scale-up and incentivize investment in risk reduction through outreach, advocacy and partnerships for collective action.
The goal of GRAF is to improve risk information for more resilient development and humanitarian decision making across sectors and scales. It aims to increase resilient investment by governments and the private sector to accelerate achievement of the Sendai Framework targets, the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement objectives.
UNDRR designed GRAF to address a wide spectrum of challenges to improve comprehensive risk management. GRAF seeks to transcend traditional linear and probabilistic risk analyses which have proven to be inadequate in understanding risk today. A core feature of the GRAF is creating partnerships between global, regional and national experts in risk science, investment, policy making and communication. The GRAF aims to increase use of scalable, systemic risk information to support more resilient development and humanitarian planning, public and private investment, strategic and operational decision-making.
The intended impact of the GRAF is that improved climate and disaster risk information will drive more disaster resilient decision-making across sectors and at multiple scales (national, sub-national, local). Concretely, the GRAF aims for multiple countries to be making planning, financing and program decisions based on quality risk information. GRAF addresses not only natural hazards but also biological, environmental, and technological-related hazards, with an emphasis on understanding how risk manifests across systems with specific emphasis on the role of managing exposure and vulnerability in reducing risk. The GRAF approach has a dual purpose: to increase the availability of, and access to, quality data and to increase the use of the data and information products to drive decision-making to prevent and reduce risks.
Specifically, the GRAF aims to result in improved information available and accessible to national and sub-national governments and other stakeholders on how to better understand and think about the consequences of choices that impact on the ability to manage multi-hazard and systemic risks. Notably, the GRAF emphasizes the importance of integrating quality data on climate future scenarios and demographic changes into the assessment and analysis of systemic risks. The GRAF seeks to ensure that countries make development and humanitarian planning and financing as well as sectoral programmatic, strategic and operational decisions at all levels based on high quality and actionable systemic risk information.
The GRAF is anchored in four complementary workstreams or pillars, each underpinned by strategicby strategic objectives. The first two pillars are focused on increasing the access to, and availability of, quality risk information, including climate change related data. The second two pillars aim to support countries to ensure the sustainability of their development pathways by building capacity to make planning and financing decisions based on quality systemic risk information. Each of the four objectives is essential to achievement of sustainable results: strengthened core data (Pillar 1) is the foundation for improved innovative analytics (Pillar 2). Enhanced technical quality and human capacity development (Pillar 3) contribute to improved global networks and advocacy (Pillar 4) that will help ensure the data, analysis and research generated is used effectively to support risk-informed decision-making.
Pillar 1: Strengthening data collation, access, analysis, and visualization.
Strategic Objective: Increased access to hazard, vulnerability and exposure and climate data and analysis available
Despite global technological advances in generating risk information on hazards, vulnerability, exposure and other factors such as climate change, and the advances in statistics generation, many countries still face challenges in making the information accessible and usable to decision-makers.
GRAF is based on the premise that while there may be valuable data on hazards, vulnerability and exposure available in-country or globally it is often not being effectively analyzed and applied to understand multi-hazard systemic risk in both development and humanitarian contexts. For example, in many countries SDG tracking indicators are collected at national and often sub-national levels that provide insights into vulnerability, looking at issues such as multi-dimensional poverty, gender and rural/urban inequalities and demographic changes. However, this data is not often systematically considered as a variable contributing to multi-hazard risks. In other cases, line ministries often have data relevant to exposure analysis, such as land use maps or housing quality data, or socio-economic vulnerability analysis, such as livelihoods, employment conditions, dependency and other household conditions from social registries. In some contexts, development data could be more effectively used to drive decision-making designed to prevent or reduce humanitarian needs.
However, this data is not often being analyzed for its role in exacerbating the risk of a hazard event turning into a disaster or for contributing to worsening humanitarian needs. By supporting work with and across disaster risk management, sectors, departments (social protection, agriculture, education, transportation, etc.), statistics bureaus, geospatial, digital innovation, space and remoting sensing departments, research institutes, UN country teams, humanitarian clusters and other experts in country, the GRAF seeks to break the silos which result in data collected for one risk area (such as health, climate change or poverty alleviation) being poorly applied in other sectors.
UNDRR, partners, and the experts associated with the GRAF also aim to improve analysis regarding the cascading impact of risks across systems. They will work with national counterparts to connect available national datasets on aspects of vulnerability (for example on factors such as disability, migration drivers, poverty and employment, environmental degradation, housing quality, internal conflict or land use) that, when combined with multiple hazard and exposure data, can provide more granular insights about how to understand and manage the systemic nature of risk.
Recognizing that the ‘data gap’ between countries is increasing, the GRAF will support national and global experts to work together to achieve a minimum level of data availability for risk analysis. In many cases this will involve working with UN country teams, humanitarian country teams and humanitarian clusters and missions, academics and other stakeholders to aggregate data sets (for example, sometimes still recorded only through paper reports) to develop basic minimum risk-related data profiles. In cases where key data cannot be sourced at all, GRAF experts will consider research initiatives to develop proxy indicators, or to apply historic modeling and scenario building techniques to fill gaps in data. Additionally, the GRAF will recommend simple risk analysis methodologies to develop risk profiles which highlight socio-economic development implications and risk management options.
Pillar 2: Catalyzing New Risk Information
Strategic Objective 2: Innovative research and partnerships fill gaps in risk knowledge, and support end-users to apply innovative risk information tools.
While the first pillar focuses on improving access and quality of existing data for decision makers across sectors, themes and stakeholders, the second pillar aims to apply innovative approaches to generate new types of information products and research. This pillar is focused on addressing specific challenges faced in a country for which existing tools do not exist.
Through consultations with governments and UN country and humanitarian teams, UNDRR expertise will support data analysis for decision making to refine and deepen understanding of identified in-country risks that are impeding sustainable development or could lead to, or worsen, existing humanitarian crises. The risk analysis developed will be co-designed and useable by a range of actors both within the UN system and governments to inform prevention, preparedness and anticipatory actions, and recovery actions that can encourage risk reduction, resilient recovery and/or prevent or reduce humanitarian needs.
GRAF will foster the co-design of innovative, enhanced data analyses that specifically focus on cascading effects of disasters in which impacts move from one sector to another. Topics that require in-depth research will be identified based on country needs. Research areas identified to date include reviewing how an enhanced understanding of the systemic nature of risk can help build resilience in, for example, food systems or more broadly, provide insights and recommendations on how to understand and mitigate risks to the achievement of the SDGs and disaster and climate risks from risk-blind development strategies. Work will also aim to shed light on aspects of the complex humanitarian-development nexus, for example by examining examine how global events like major disasters or pandemics, and the cumulative effects of choices that result in multiple events and compounding shocks generate life-threatening degrees of humanitarian need, with the aim of supporting decision-makers to better understand the drivers of vulnerability and exposure and proactively explore the often unseen possibilities of choices to reduce risk.
Pillar 3: Technical Support and Tools
Strategic Objective: Capacity developed to apply improved risk data and tools and to accelerate cross-country learning
Creating sustainability for the use of improved risk information within governments and with other partners requires ensuring their engagement throughout the process so that skills and capabilities are developed and maintained over time. The third pillar therefore focuses on the development of tools and provision of technical support to build the capacity of in-country stakeholders. This pillar includes facilitating cross-country learning and information flow between UNDRR, GRAF expert collaborators and national stakeholders.
Specific activities to be supported include:
– Enhancing understanding of how decisions are currently made (identification of decision-support tools, sources, processes, analysis, actors and mechanisms involved).
– Accelerating dissemination of good practice, new science and tools to aid access to quality data.
– Capacity development on disaster and risk- data literacy for UNCT (United Nations Country Team)/HCTs (Humanitarian Country Teams) and non-traditional DRR (Disaster Risk Reduction) stakeholders.
– Guidance for countries on how to turn data into better information for decision making.
– Tools and capacity building on enhancing climate change vulnerability and impact assessments and risk screening for strategic plans, programs and activities.
– Targeted capacity development and tools to help Member States at differentiated stages.
Beyond traditional capacity development approaches, the implementation approach of the project will also aim to foster sustainability and increased capacity within countries. The GRAF co-design methodology will partner global technical expertise with in-country academics and experts and will aim not only to provide better analysis and decision-making tools to governments, UNCTs/HCTs and other stakeholders, but to engage them actively in its development. This will help build the capacity of country-level actors but will also ensure ongoing sustainability of the GRAF approach in these contexts. This pillar will also include tailored interventions to improve:
– Classification of exposure and vulnerability indicators
– Development/ extension of improved country risk profiles at lower cost
– Next generation multi-hazard risk tools that better account for cascading/ systemic risk
– Innovative participatory ‘deep-dive’ and data triangulation methods
– Collaboration with leading specialized scientific, research and data agencies inside and outside the UN system
Pillar 4: Influencing agenda setters and financing systems
Strategic Objective: Enhanced engagement strategies and targeted advocacy to drive systematic application of risk data and analysis
The fourth pillar of the GRAF aims to strengthen collaborative and mutual learning ecosystems to refine work and approaches, and advocacy to ensure effective application of resources. At the global and regional level, this will include engaging with networks of organisations working in areas such as geo-spatial data analysis, modelling and risk analysis. At the regional and country levels, it will entail outreach beyond UNDRR’s traditional counterpart agencies (such as National Disaster Management Authorities) to reach other parts of governments and society who can benefit from, and contribute to, the analysis developed. While UNDRR’s traditional focal points will be central to this process, specific outreach to other parts of government, and particularly those involved in wider planning and financial decision making will be explicitly undertaken in partnership with other UN agencies.
Duties and Responsibilities
Working closely with UN organizations, the consultant’s host agency/organization, the UNDRR GRAF team at headquarters, and officers based in UNDRR Regional Offices (ROs), the GRAF Pilot Project Technical Advisor will report to the Risk Knowledge Officer of the UNDRR Regional Office and will play a key role in the GRAF roll-out at the national level. Responsibilities will include:
– Preparing a preliminary list of risk information of priority to national stakeholders (conducted in collaboration with other UNDRR consultants as required). This list will include an assessment of the legal provisions related to data collection, access and revision cycles, and what steps might easily be met to improve access to the risk information as part of a National Risk Profile.
– Assess the type of information management systems in use for managing and sharing risk assessment results: data platforms for management and visualization, software systems in use, modules, analytical functionalities, automated linkages, operational architecture, etc.
– Compile information from the above list, including specifications. As much as possible, all information should be disaggregated to the maximum degree possible by sex, age, disability status, economic, geographic/administrative area, etc.
– Hazards information (national and sub-national scale)
– Exposure of people and assets (grey and green)
– Vulnerabilities (social and physical)
– Structural information like administrative boundaries, topographic maps, satellite data, hydro-met data, macro-economic data, and
human development indicators disaggregated sub-nationally if possible.
– In collaboration with UNDRR staff and other consultants, consolidate, harmonize, and prepare available risk information into common formats.
– Collect meta-data about applicable information management systems in use in target countries (software, models, storage, sharing, information management strategies, etc.).
– Supporting the Geneva-based GRAF Data Analyst(s), in cooperation with UNDRR Regional Offices, on prototyping of the National Risk Profiles, including facilitation of consultations with UN and national authorities.
– Supporting engagement with national and UN stakeholders to define GRAF Pillar 2 priorities and support the development of specialized risk analytics for support, including inputs on the ToRs for these country-level studies, assurance of shared understanding of objectives and scope with local partners, and facilitating delivery.
– Provide logistical and facilitation support to validation workshops under all GRAF pillars.
– Facilitate trainings on various subjects as outlined in the GRAF workplan as well as other UNDRR training and capacity-building relating to data on disaster loss and damage.
– Participate in meetings with RCOs (Resident Coordinators) and UNCTs, and solicit feedback into the GRAF roll-out process at the country-level.
– Regular and substantive engagement with RCO team, UNCT focal points for risk reduction, and Humanitarian Country Team, on issues relevant to GRAF delivery specifically, and UNDRR engagement more generally (based on priorities of the Regional Offices).
– Working closely with host agency as needed, assess capacity development gaps and opportunities to inform all training and capacity building activities to enhance risk knowledge (e.g., Integrating DRR and Climate Change into Common Country Analysis, UNSDCFs, HNOs (Humanitarian Needs Overview), and HRPs (Humanitarian Response Plans).
– Support participation and inputs by the ROs into the UNSDCF to ensure GRAF programme activities are reflected in UNSDCF pillars, annual joint workplans, uploading to UNInfo, and annual UNCT reporting to governments.
– Substantive support in the country-level DRR and climate change integration efforts.
– Undertake outreach and output dissemination to target audiences, monitoring use-case applications (with ROs).
– Contribution to position papers, briefing notes, Op-Eds, and think pieces showcasing GRAF impact, results and activities.
– Any other tasks as may be assigned by the Programme Manager in consultation with ROs.
Skills: Familiarity with government knowledge management resources (sector, macro, sub-national) is an advantage.
Academic Qualifications: Master’s degree in disaster risk, risk analysis and management, risk modelling (including hazard, vulnerability and exposure) or a related field is required. A first-level university degree in combination with 2 (two) additional years of qualifying experience in information management, statistics, risk modelling, development and/or adaptation and resilience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.
Experience: A minimum of five (5) years of relevant experience in information management, statistics, risk modelling, development, adaptation and/or resilience is required.
Experience in data conversion, management of quantitative and qualitative data systems, integration and projection, and/or mapping/GIS software is required.
Language: Fluency in English and Spanish is required. Knowledge of another UN working language is an advantage.
Due to the high volume of applications received, only successful candidates will be contacted.
Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.