S4.2: Building resilience to volcanic eruptions by providing timely financial resources for observatories and government agencies during periods of heightened unrest


Samantha Cook

Senior Financial Sector Specialist, Crisis and Disaster Risk Finance, World Bank, United States of America

Alanna Simpson

Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist, Global Program for Urban, Resilience and Land, World Bank, United States of America

Gari Mayberry

Lead Geoscience Advisor, USGS-US Agency for International Development/Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, United States of America

The World Bank, USAID/OFDA and partners are exploring the possibility of developing financial products that provide predictable financing for authorities during periods of volcanic unrest and eruption. This session focuses on methods to develop forecast-based financing to enable enhanced volcano monitoring to facilitate efficient evacuations and save lives. Similar products exist for flood,earthquakes, etc. with limited progress made to date for volcanic unrest and eruption due to the inherent complexity of volcanic activity. Many volcano observatories do not have the resources to monitor all potentially active volcanoes at the level required to provide baseline data for the development of financial products. With innovations in remote sensing and volcano monitoring,there is potential for a new global approach to monitor the ‘health’ of volcanoes (no change, unrest, eruption, etc.) and to link this research to the development of financial products that could trigger disbursement of resources during unrest and for recovery/reconstruction after eruptions.Building the capacity of observatories is tantamount to a successful program and in this session we will consider resilience from all angles, from innovative techniques to improve monitoring and forecasting capabilities at observatories, to the development of financial products that provide rapid and predictable finance when countries need it most. At this session we welcome input, discussion and ideas on how to move forward to provide authorities with resources to manage the financial burden associated with volcanic activity.

Core connection between the proposed session and societal risk mitigation: The session would add to the discussion within symposium 4 by considering options to build the resilience of authorities and citizens to volcanic eruptions. There is a need to ensure that there are adequate and timely resources for additional monitoring and operational funds for observatories and sufficient funds for evacuation, public awareness and planning in times of heightened volcanic unrest. The World Bank Group and partners are investigating options for robust measurements of volcanic unrest that could be linked to financial products to provide a rapid and predictable injection of funds to authorities who have a responsibility to monitor volcanoes. In addition, this program aims to better understand data limitations at the observatory level and in global remote sensing which currently preclude systematic, rapid, and robust assessments of volcanic unrest. The overarching aim is that that observatories can be adequately and sustainably funded to undertake volcanic monitoring.

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