Policy Brief: Data for Emergency Management

Date of publication
Smart city and technology
Type of resources
Policy Brief
In recent years, the significant increase in the frequency, intensity and impact of natural disasters and all kinds of crises explains why the governance of emergencies is at the core of public policy. The governance of emergencies refers to coordinating and managing resources and responsibilities regarding the mitigation of, preparedness for, response to, and recovery from an emergency. Emergencies have been defined as the product of risk and urgency, and recent assessments predict that their frequency and level of impact will likely increase over the coming years.
This reality results in a new category of emergencies: complex emergencies. These are situation that are global or deeply embedded in the current socio-economic system. One of the main characteristics is that these emergencies are not triggered by disasters that have already happened but rather require rapid and radical action to avoid future disasters or catastrophes. In this intricate context, data is central to respond effectively to those emer-gencies. Gathering, managing, and analyzing big data is key to integrating a data-driven approach into each phase of the emergency management.
Leveraging big data and technological advances improve the efficiency and effectiveness of emergency management. However, data use has significant challenges regarding inclusion, traceability, and privacy. The main question is how to integrate data to support emergency management while at the same time ensuring representativeness, generating trust, facilitat-ing multi-scalar and intergovernmental coordination.