GEM in 2015


GEM looks back to an eventful year 2015, starting with the successful launch of the OpenQuake platform in January. The tools, data and products on the platform have found rapidly increasing acceptance in earthquake risk assessment and its application for disaster risk reduction worldwide.

Further highlights were our active participation in the 3rd UN WCDRR in Sendai in March, the finalization of the first GEM managed regional project SARA for South America, and the start of a similar project in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Soon after the Sendai Conference a terrible earthquake struck Nepal in April. In the spirit of GEM’s core value of “working together” GEM provides assistance to its local partner NSET, the Nepal Society for Earthquake Technology, to contribute to the creation of a disaster resilient Nepal. The program of this long-term collaboration has been presented to the Government of Nepal by NSET and GEM in early December.

We express our sincere thanks to the GEM staff, to our sponsors and collaboration partners, and to the whole GEM family for their continued support which has made all these achievements possible and lays the basis for fulfilling GEM’s vision - a world where disaster resilience is common practice.
With best wishes for a successful and prosperous year 2016 to all of you,
Mauro Dolce                                                                                   Anselm Smolka
Chairman, Governing Board                                                             Secretary General

Nepal seeking self-sufficiency in Integrated Risk analysis 


It is time for bold thinking in Nepal, and a greater understanding of the importance of resilience is making its way. In a country where the recent Gorkha earthquake had a significant impact on GDP, leaving 2.8 million people displaced and more than 8,000 dead and where the possibility of a fast economic recovery is not high, the only way out is to build a long-lasting resilience.

“Nepal developed the Building Code in 1994 with assistance from the international community” – remembers Surya Shrestha from the National Society of Earthquake Technology -  NSET-Nepal, one of GEM’s public sponsors – “and even after more than 15 years, in 2009, the Code had found organized enforcement only in 3 out of 58 municipalities. Local governments at the time were unable to generate consensus on the use of the Code, nor the implementation of compliance mechanisms. Also, the population didn’t have a clear understanding of the benefits of prevention. Today, I believe the conditions are ripe for a wider collaboration among all stakeholders of disaster risk reduction actions, and I am convinced that the idea of building resilience has started to include concepts like local desire and indigenous knowledge, institutional commitment and international scientific expertise.”

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Risk Understanding in South Eastern Europe

Exciting opportunities for GEM’s possible support to understanding risk in South Eastern Europe (SEE) is one of the outcomes of the 31st DPPI (Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Initiative) SEE Regional Meeting held in Sarajevo on November 3-4, 2015. The Italian Department for Civil Protection (DPC) facilitated GEM’s participation at this important meeting.

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Developing indicators for urban resilience

GEM’s Social Vulnerability and Integrated Risk (SVIR) Coordinator, Christopher G. Burton, was called on to assist in the formulation of indicators for the UNISDR Ten Essentials for Making Cities Resilient initiative, to support the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) 2015-2030

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January 27-29, 2016 Geneva
UNISDR Science and Technology Conference on the Implementation of the SFDRR 2015-2030.

Join GEM staff to develop together the Science and Technology Rodmap!

GEM tools well received in Risk Workshop

With capacity building and technology transfer as part of the GEM Foundation's four key strategic priorities, it was heartening to see the enthusiastic and positive response to a range of improvements in both technology and training material at the annual Risk Training Workshop in Pavia in late October, 2015.

In a full and intense programme, the GEM Risk Team, led by Vitor Silva, introduced guest speakers from our collaborative partner organisations to inspire participants with practical applications of the GEM tools.

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GEM reaching out in Addis Ababa

Thanks to the support of USAID, GEM’s active participation in the recent Understanding Risk & Finance Conference in Addis Abba (17-20 November 2015) is bringing new opportunities for collaboration in the African continent.

Risk Coordinator Vitor Silva was invited to deliver a presentation on our work and participated in one of the panel sessions. Our team were very active in the many official forums, as well as promoting GEM through social media and face-to-face discussion with delegates at our display booth.

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