Indicators of progress


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Developing benchmarks and indicators that monitor, evaluate and report on progress in implementation of disaster risk reduction measures have evident benefits at the local, national, regional and international level. Such benefits include the identification of capacity and resource gaps, increasing their importance on the political agenda, and promoting solutions through new or improved policies, plans, institutional relationships and resource allocations at the local, national, regional and international level.

In the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), States have identified the importance of monitoring, reviewing and reporting as an essential feature of the implementation of the Hyogo Framework. Responsibility for monitoring and reporting is mainly assigned to States (in paragraph 30), regional organizations and institutions (paragraph 31), international organizations (paragraph 32) and the ISDR system partners and secretariat (paragraph 33).

General information

Based on the January 2008 UN/ISDR publication "Indicators of Progress: Guidance on Measuring the Reduction of Disaster Risks and the Implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action":

Indicators are an explicit measure of an important factor relevant to the subject of interest, in this case disaster risk and its reduction, where the indicator can be used to monitor changes in the status of that factor and thereby to monitor progress towards a desired outcome (in this case reduced disaster risk).

Indicators are primarily a management tool – they provide a means for measuring what is actually happening against what has been planned for or hoped for, and hence offer insight into the effectiveness of a policy or programme, in terms of quality, quantity and timeliness, as well as any unintended consequences.

Indicators may be created for the different stages of implementation, as follows:

- Indicators of inputs – to measure the financial, administrative and regulatory resources being applied, such as budgets expended, or the staff time applied.
- Indicators of outputs – to measure the immediate and concrete deliverables achieved with the inputs, such as houses strengthened, or the number of people trained.
- Indicators of results – to measure the results at the level of beneficiaries, in social and economic terms, such as the fraction of population receiving early warnings, or with houses free from flooding risk.
- Indicators of impact – to measure the overall impact on the society, such as reduced vulnerability to hazards, or security of livelihoods. The Hyogo Framework’s expected outcome and strategic goals fall into this category.

Different actors need different indicators, depending on their role with respect to the policy or programme. There is particular need for donors and Governments to focus on the level of results, as this is the level that can be incorporated into ongoing planning processes, where achievements can be made and measured in reasonable periods of time, and where desired achievements can be recognised by planners and the public alike.

Selecting which indicators work best for you

When choosing sets of indicators, it is very important to select a limited number of indicators that focus on the most essential aspects of the matter at hand and that can be readily implemented and sustained over many years. Having many indicators that overlap can lead to difficulties of interpretation, confusion and a weakening of managerial action.

Since the indicators need to have credibility with many stakeholders, it is desirable to involve the stakeholders in the process of choosing the indicators. Likewise, in order to obtain the maximum benefit from the use of the indicators, it is desirable to involve the stakeholders in dialogue on their interpretation and evaluation. Experience and research shows that there are certain characteristics that contribute to the quality of an indicator, as outlined below. Note that some of these characteristics overlap others to some extent. In practice, indicators need not contain every characteristic. Depending on the indicator’s nature and use, only a subset may be relevant.

Attainable: The measurement of the indicators should be achievable by the policy or project, and therefore should be sensitive to the improvements the project/policy wishes to achieve.
Clarity/Validity: Indicators should effectively target the factor which they are measuring, and should avoid ambiguity and arbitrariness in the measurement.
Comparability: The indicator measurement should enable comparison over the different life-cycle stages of the policy or project, as well as between different policies or projects.
Comprehensibility: The definition and expression of the indicator should be intuitively and easily comprehensible to users.
Cost: The cost of collecting and processing the data needed for the chosen indicators should be reasonable and affordable.
Currency: Indicator information should be as up to date as possible, to reflect current or recent circumstances. The impact of delays between collection and use should be considered and factored into the analysis, where necessary using extrapolation techniques.
Measurable: Indicators should be defined so that their measurement and interpretation are as unambiguous as possible, preferably using data that is readily available, relevant, reliable and meaningful.
Redundancy: While each input variable should measure a discrete phenomenon, separate indicators that measure the same phenomenon may be necessary and desirable.
Relevance: Indicators should be directly relevant to the issue being monitored or assessed, and should be based on clearly understood linkages between the indicator and the phenomena under consideration.
Reliability: The results from an indicator should be replicable by different researchers using standard methods. The methods should be stable over time and as valid in as wide a circumstance as possible.
Sensitivity: Indicators should be able to reflect small changes in those things that the actions intend to change.
Social benefits: Applicable indicators should reveal net social benefit whether or not social benefit is maximized.
Time-bound: The time of an indicator’s measurement, or the interval to which it applies, should be appropriate and clearly stated.

Basic Indicators for monitoring progress towards implementing the HFA

The HFA Monitor, UN/ISDR's online monitoring tool for reporting on progress in the priod 2007-2009 defines 22 basic indicators within the five HFA priorities for action. These are as follows:

Priority 1: Ensure that disaster risk reduction is a national and local priority with a strong institutional basis for implementation

i. National policy and legal framework for disaster risk reduction exists with decentralised responsibilities and capacities at all levels

ii. Dedicated and adequate resources are available to implement disaster risk reduction activities at all administrative levels

iii. Community participation and decentralization are ensured through the delegation of authority and resources to local levels

iv. A national multi sectoral platform for disaster risk reduction is functioning

Priority 2: Identify, assess and monitor disaster risks and enhance early warning

i. National and local risk assessments based on hazard data and vulnerability information are available and include risk assessments for key sectors

ii. Systems are in place to monitor, archive and disseminate data on key hazards and vulnerabilities

iii. Early warning systems are in place for all major hazards, with outreach to communities

iv. National and local risk assessments take account of regional / trans boundary risks, with a view to regional cooperation on risk reduction.

Priority 3: Use knoweldge, innovation and education to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels

i. Relevant information on disasters is available and accessible at all levels, to all stakeholders (through networks, development of information sharing systems etc)

ii. School curricula, education material and relevant trainings include disaster risk reduction and recovery concepts and practices

iii. Research methods and tools for multi-risk assessments and cost benefit analysis are developed and strenghtened

iv. Countrywide public awareness strategy exists to stimulate a culture of disaster resilience, with outreach to urban and rural communities

Priority 4: Reduce the underlying risk factors

i. Disaster risk reduction is an integral objective of environment related policies and plans, including for land use natural resource management and adaptation to climate change

ii. Social development policies and plans are being implemented to reduce the vulnerability of populations most at risk

iii. Economic and productive sectorial policies and plans have been implemented to reduce the vulnerability of economic activities

iv. Planning and management of human settlements incorporate disaster risk reduction elements, including enforcement of building codes

v. Disaster risk reduction measures are integrated into post disaster recovery and rehabilitation processes

vi. Procedures are in place to assess the disaster risk impacts of major development projects, especially infrastructure

Priority 5: Strengthen disaster preparedness for effective response at all levels

i. Strong policy, technical and institutional capacities and mechanisms for disaster risk management, with a disaster risk reduction perspective are in place

ii. Disaster preparedness plans and contingency plans are in place at all administrative levels, and regular training drills and rehearsals are held to test and develop disaster response programmes

iii. Financial reserves and contingency mechanisms are in place to support effective response and recovery when required

iv. Procedures are in place to exchange relevant information during hazard events and disasters, and to undertake post-event reviews

Related Documents

Indicators of Progress: Guidance on Measuring the Reduction of Disaster Risks and the Implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action

UN/ISDR, Geneva, Switzerland, January 2008

This publication helps set priorities for implementing disaster risk reduction while regularly monitoring and reviewing achievements against clear indicators. It could be used by national authorities, civil society and community organizations, regional intergovernmental institutions, technical bodies, and international and donor communities.

Words into Action: A Guide for Implementing the Hyogo Framework

UN/ISDR, 2007

Among other things, the HFA calls on the ISDR to “facilitate consultative processes to develop guidelines and policy tools for each priority area, with relevant national, regional and international expertise”. This document was the first product generated to meet this call. It was prepared through a long process of drafting and consultation that involved the participation of numerous organizations and individuals in dozens of countries. Drawing on their expertise and experience, the Guide describes 22 tasks that are organized to help address and guide the implementation of the HFA’s five Priorities for Action. Depending on the national situation, the tasks may provide good starting points for organizing action, or useful references against which to check existing policies and procedures. Different users can draw on the parts that are useful to them, adapting the tasks according to their particular needs.

Disaster Preparedness for Effective Response Guidance and Indicator Package for Implementing Priority Five of the Hyogo Framework

United Nations, New York and Geneva, 2008

This Guidance and Indicator Tool is designed to provide guidance on how to meet the challenge of being prepared to respond as set out in Priority Five of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA). This tool aims primarily to assist governments, local authorities, and other stakeholders concerned with natural hazards in potentially vulnerable settings. It is designed to complement and expand upon the disaster preparedness and response components of the ISDR guidelines; Words Into Action: A Guide for Implementing the Hyogo Framework (2007); and the Indicators of Progress: Guidance on Measuring the Reduction of Disaster Risks and the Implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action (2008). The guidance also draws upon and complements the work of John Twigg and the DFID Disaster Risk Reduction Interagency Coordination group on the ‘Characteristics of a Disaster-resilient Community’ (2007).

This document is primarily geared towards those who are at the beginning of the process of developing a disaster preparedness capability. Given that many governments and others have gained a wide range of experience in developing disaster preparedness systems in a risk reduction framework, it is expected that stakeholders will adapt the tool to their particular context as appropriate. It begins by situating disaster preparedness within a holistic risk reduction framework. It goes on to provide a basic overview of the institutional and legislative frameworks that must be in place to support disaster preparedness. It then outlines key steps essential for developing a national disaster preparedness capability and highlights the critical role that contingency planning and capacity analysis can play in strengthening preparedness. The latter sections underline essential elements for an effective response, including the establishment and maintenance of early warning systems, stand-by capacities and effective funding mechanisms. It also stresses the need for these processes to integrate early-recovery analysis and planning.

Each section includes a suggested outcome and a set of indicators to help measure levels of preparedness and progress. The indicators take various forms, measuring, for example, outputs and processes. Ideally, indicators collected during the preparedness phase can be used as a baseline for measuring change over time and across different contexts. At a minimum they should serve as a checklist for ensuring that preparedness activities are being undertaken in a participatory and comprehensive manner. (See Annex 1 for more information on indicators.) The number of indicators has been kept to a minimum and it is expected that users of the guidance package may track supplementary indicators and use additional monitoring tools based on their particular contexts.

EM-DAT’s Disaster Classification

CRED and MünichRe collaborative initiative towards a common “Disaster Category Classification for Operational Databases". This common classification was established through several technical meetings between CRED, MünichRe, SwissRe, ADRC and UNDP towards the development of a standardized international classification of disasters.

For more information, CRED CRUNCH; Issue No. 13, July 2008

The UN Millennium Development Goals and Related Indicators

Characteristics of a Disaster Resilient Community: Guidance Notes (2.1 MB)

Source: John Twigg; DFID Disaster Risk Reduction Interagency Coordination Group; August, 2007

In 2006, five UK-based international development organisations plus the British Red Cross jointly commissioned a review of existing monitoring and evaluation frameworks for livelihoods and disaster risk reduction projects. The aim of the joint undertaking was to develop a better understanding of what sets of indicators could be employed at the local level to assess progress of efforts in increasing community resilience.

The results of this participatory review involving the agencies and their Southern partners are published under the title ‘Characteristics of a disaster resilient community’. The launch of the publication presents a first step in a process of piloting and testing the suggested framework that the commissioning agencies have committed to. Action Aid, Christian Aid, International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Plan UK, Practical Action and Tearfund have agreed to use these characteristics as a basis for developing monitoring indicators, structuring project evaluations, for capacity assessments and conducting wider impact analysis in a number of countries and disaster risk reduction activities.

All agencies will use the characteristics either to develop new or improve existing project monitoring indicators. The main activities monitored within this framework will be disaster risk reduction and livelihoods initiatives that aim to contribute to improving people’s capacity to respond to, cope with and recover from natural hazards and other external shocks.

Online version:

Related Internal HFA-Pedia Pages

Reporting Framework HFA 2007-2009

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