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Technical Sessions

1. Mind the Gap: Working together to address gaps in earthquake and flood risk reduction planning

  • Sendai theme: Priority 1: Understanding disaster risk
  • Conveners: Tuna Onur, Tamsin Lyle and Sheri Molnar

In the Georgia Basin, there have been many hazard and risk studies conducted over the years, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. From localized flood hazard analyses, to insurance industry-generated province-wide earthquake risk assessments. But how can we work together to bridge the gaps in open risk assessment so that the best work is available to practitioners and the public and updated on a regular basis? This session will focus on what we know in terms of the gaps in hazard mapping, asset inventory data, and fragility functions and develop ideas on how to fill those gaps. What kind of ongoing collaboration can be fostered to improve hazard and risk mapping for both flood and earthquake in the region so that input datasets are rich, risk assessments are not misleading and thus the most well informed risk reduction approaches can be implemented? This highly knowledgeable team of conveners will review what's available, what's been done, where we're at, what needs to be done, and how we can collaborate going forward.

2. Communicating Risk Across Communities: Tools and capabilities for transforming knowledge into action

  • Sendai theme: Priority 1: Understanding disaster risk, Priority 2: Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk

  • Conveners: Michelle Marteleira, Edward Nichol

This session aims to take stock of new and emerging technologies and decision support tools and explore how these are used within and across communities to understand and communicate risk. Particularly, how can local authorities such as municipal governments and First Nations collaborate to improve inter-community awareness? How can we bridge capacity to use and benefit from these tools across the Georgia Basin region? What role do these tools play in supporting funding choices and access to funding, such as the National Disaster Mitigation Program (NDMP), which is meant to fill a critical gap in Canada’s ability to effectively mitigate, prepare for, respond to and recover from hazard events.

3. Charting a Path Toward Lifeline Resilience: Critical infrastructure interdependencies and opportunities for increased disaster resilience

  • Sendai theme: Priority 1: Understanding disaster risk, Priority 2: Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk, Priority 3: Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience

  • Conveners: Stephanie Chang, Rodrigo Costa, Alexa Tanner

While individual communities can do much to mitigate risk and adapt in a changing climate within their jurisdictions, regional infrastructure represents a significant shared risk. Regional lifelines provide for the movement of water, sewage, energy, goods and people on a day-to-day basis and form the backbone of the regional economy. The Lower Mainland dikes provide a degree of protection to hundreds of thousands living in floodplains and are vulnerable to seismic events. Many wonder, after a big flood or earthquake event, what key network of roads/rail/bridges/ports do we need to get goods and people moving? Due to our character as a Deltaic region, maritime transportation (e.g. ports, ferries, etc.) forms a critical function in the lifeline system and regional supply chains for critical commodities. This session will explore these topics and look beyond individual lifelines to examine critical infrastructure interdependencies.

4. Empowering communities: Building a framework for neighborhood resilience

  • Sendai theme: Priority 1: Understanding disaster risk, Priority 2: Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk

  • Conveners: Daniel Stevens, Marit Heideman

Building resilience in an era of climate change is not going to be a top-down only exercise. It’s also going to be a bottom up process, built-up through an enhanced sense of place and community. This session will explore examples of successful engagement processes and what we can learn from them. Examples include: Surrey’s Crescent Beach sea level rise design process, City of Vancouver’s disaster hubs, the District of North Vancouver’s natural hazard task force and community-based risk tolerance criteria, the Stewardship Centre’s Greenshores program, and more. The session aims to identify key components of these successful engagement processes, practices contained there within, and sources of funding or methods of financing that were utilized.

5. Resilient Buildings: A risk-based approach to reducing physical vulnerabilities in the built environment

  • Sendai theme: Priority 3: Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience, Priority 4: Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction

  • Conveners: Tamsin Lyle, John Sherstobitoff, Peter Mitchell

We have the technical know-how to increase the performance of buildings to withstand both flood and earthquake events, so how do we translate this into increased uptake for both retrofits and new buildings in the Georgia Basin? Increasing the resilience of buildings has the potential to reduce casualties, dollar losses, insurance claims and economic downtime- so what is holding us back from retrofitting/building better? What are the most effective ways to up the resilience factor in different development scenarios (e.g. new development, redevelopments, urban vs. suburban contexts)? Do we use building codes or other forms of regulation? Branded resilience ratings programs, or other incentivization mechanisms? How do we work towards a shared understanding of building-level resilience given the current disparate fields of flood and earthquake-resilient design? This expert group of conveners will explore these issues, brining their extensive engineering expertise to bear on the cross-disciplinary discussion.

6. We've got your back: Increasing disaster resilience through incentives and innovation in risk transfer

  • Sendai theme: Priority 2: Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk, Priority 3: Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience
  • Conveners: Fiona Dercole, Aaron Sutherland

The costs associated with natural hazard events are increasing. Who is going to pay for the increasing losses in a climate changed world? How can effective insurance mechanisms help to reduce losses, transfer risk appropriately and also ensure speedy recovery? This session will explore the ins and outs of private insurance for flood and earthquake in the region, insurance of public assets and disaster financial assistance. It will further explore innovations and creative solutions within the insurance sector such as parametric insurance and other risk reduction incentives.

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