Joining the World Bank Group

In mid-June, I began a short-term position at the World Bank-managed Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR). I provide strategic communications support for two upcoming conferences on disaster risk assessment and resilient recovery: the Understanding Risk Forum and World Reconstruction Conference 2.

I never expected to have the opportunity to observe such groundbreaking work in my first job, so I am surprised and grateful to be here. Disaster risk management combines many of my academic interests -- finance, climate change, open data initiatives, public-private partnerships, sustainable development, and the importance of good governance and strong infrastructure. Below, I've shared a couple publications related to this fascinating and important field of study -- including one that I drafted in my first week of work.

To Save Lives and Livelihoods, Start By Understanding Risk

I drafted this blog post about the Understanding Risk Forum on behalf of GFDRR Head Francis Ghesquiere:

"In 1999, the state of Odisha, India, was hit by the most powerful tropical cyclone ever recorded in the North Indian Ocean, causing nearly 10,000 fatalities and US$5 billion in damages. For the next decade, the government of Odisha and partners worked to identify and mitigate cyclone risk. When the similarly intense Cyclone Phailin struck Odisha in October 2013, the region counted 99.6% fewer deaths.

We cannot prevent a monsoon or cyclone from striking ­­– and as population growth, urbanization, and climate change are on the rise, the frequency and impact of natural disasters will increase. But with innovation, collaboration and a better understanding of risk, we can build communities that are more resilient to natural hazards."

Natural Hazards, Unnatural Disasters: The Economics of Effective Prevention

"...[E]arthquakes, droughts, floods, and storms are natural hazards, but the unnatural disasters are the deaths and damages that result from human acts of omission and commission. Every disaster is unique, but each exposes actions—by individuals and governments at different levels—that, had they been different, would have resulted in fewer deaths and less damage. Prevention is possible, and this report examines what it takes to do this cost-effectively."