The Asian Development Bank (ADB) hosted a virtual knowledge session on October 25, 2023, titled "Seismic Risk: A Changing Landscape," highlighting the evolving nature of seismic threats impacting vulnerability and risk assessment. Moderated by Belinda Hewitt, ADB's Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist, the session featured key experts, including Matt Gerstenberger from GNS New Zealand and Helen Crowley, Secretary General of the GEM Foundation.
Gerstenberger kicked off the session, discussing New Zealand's 2022 seismic hazard model update, which revealed a 50% average increase in modelled seismic hazard. His contribution provided valuable insights into the potential implications of hazard updates for countries across Asia and the Pacific.
Helen Crowley then took to the stage, sharing GEM's pioneering initiatives in seismic hazard and exposure mapping. She focused on applied research in the USAID-Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance-supported FORCE project, where innovative tools such as machine learning are being employed to forecast global exposure to seismic hazards under varying future scenarios. Crowley emphasised GEM's potential role in guiding resilient planning and investments, stating:
"Understanding global exposure to seismic hazards is fundamental for informed decision-making to support risk mitigation. GEM's seismic hazard, exposure and risk maps serve as robust tools on this front, guiding resilient planning and investments. Leveraging machine learning for exposure and vulnerability forecasting, we aim to better understand future seismic risk scenarios that can aid ADB and member countries in making risk-informed investments and prioritising resilient interventions."
The webinar's theme emphasised the need to adapt to the evolving nature of seismic risk. The presentations by Gerstenberger and Crowley underlined the urgency of staying ahead in seismic risk assessment. Such insights can guide ADB and its member countries towards better understanding and mitigation of seismic risks, fostering more resilient communities in vulnerable regions.
GEM's active participation in the event, highlighted by Helen Crowley's contribution, shed light on innovative methodologies that are proving promising in addressing future seismic risk. The webinar served as a platform for knowledge exchange, stressing the need for proactive measures in confronting the ever-changing landscape of seismic hazards.
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