Indicators in risk management: Are they a user-friendly interface between natural hazards and societal responses? Challenges and opportunities after UN Sendai conference in 2015


  • Ivčević Ante
  • Mazurek Hubert
  • Siame Lionel
  • Moussa Abdelkhalak
  • Bellier Olivier


  • Sendai
  • Indicators
  • Risk management
  • Natural hazards
  • Societal response

document type



Risk management indicators are used to mitigate the potentially dramatic effects of natural hazards. Local authorities and managers use them in elaborating rescue and urbanism plans, which do not always work, highlighting society’s vulnerability in the particular context of global environmental and climate changes. Within this context, the United Nations (Sendai, 2015) advised to construct a series of indicators to better cope with human losses and economic disasters. Actually, the question is whether or not such indicators do constitute successful decision-making tools. In this article, we critically reviewed the recent literature (from 2013 to 2017) using the Web of Science database of Clarivate Analytics to assess how indicators are currently being constructed in risk management, with a focus on risks of inundations, coastal and seismic risks. This task allowed us to discuss the spatial and temporal scale at which indicators of risk management can be applicable, to what extent they should be physically oriented and if they can fit the needs of governance framework. Based on our findings, we suggest further work on a new series of less descriptive, more dynamic and more user-friendly indicators. Finally, we encourage the dire need for continuous work to overcome the misinterpretation of used indicators and how to reduce the communication gap between the scientific community, decision makers, managers and the population.

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