How Can Artificial Intelligence Reduce Disaster Risks in Countries?

This webinar will discuss the potential role of AI in reducing disaster risks in vulnerable countries and globally, and thus advance implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Sustainable Development Goals. It will examine how AI applications can support more efficient and effective decision-making across all stages of disaster management, from early warning and monitoring to disaster preparedness, emergency response and post-disaster recovery/relief.
There will be focus on how AI can help transform thinking and behaviour towards disaster prevention and contribute towards risk-informed, sustainable development and investments.

It will address the following key questions:
– What are the current knowledge gaps and evidence base to inform disaster risk reduction strategies, and how can AI applications help bridge these data gaps?
– What are potential AI applications in disaster management and risk reduction efforts, drawing from current case examples and initiatives?
– How can other existing digital/geospatial technologies be utilized effectively with AI applications for disaster risk reduction?
– What are important challenges and considerations in employing AI technologies for disaster risk reduction? How are current efforts addressing these constraints?

Expected outcomes from the webinar include:
– defining a common agenda for future dialogue and collaboration relating to the utilization of AI for DRR
– exploring the standardization gaps linked to AI for DRR

Speakers, Panelists and Moderators

    Chief of the Study Groups Department, Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB)
    International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
    Dr. Bilel Jamoussi is Chief of the Study Groups Department at the International Telecommunication Union Standardization Bureau in Geneva Switzerland where he is responsible for the organization and management of the ITU-T Study Groups, Focus Groups, Global Standardization Initiatives, Joint Coordination Activities, and their secretariat. Before joining ITU, Bilel was with Nortel for 15 years in Canada and then the United States where he held several leadership positions including Strategic Standards, Advanced Technology, University Research, Software Development for routing/switching platforms, and Data Network Engineering of major international customer networks. As Director of the Strategic Standards organization within the office of the Chief Technical Officer (CTO), Bilel provided strategic technology direction and leadership for Nortel’s involvement in more than 90 standards development organizations, forums and consortia. He also contributed to the MIT one laptop per child (OLPC) initiative. Bilel is an IEEE Senior Member. He was elected to the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) Board of Governors (BOG) and the IEEE-SA Corporate Advisory Group (CAG). He served on the IEEE Standards Education Committee, the IEEE-SA Nominations and Appointments Committee, the IEEE-SA BOG International ad hoc, and the Technical Liaison from IEEE-SA to ITU-T and ITU-D. Bilel contributes to the innovation and advancement of technology in the ICT Field. He has 22 granted and filed US patents in diverse areas: packet, optical, wireless, and quality of service. Bilel received a BS. ’89, MS. ’92, and PhD ’95 degrees in Computer Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University, USA.
    Operations Manager, Crisis Management Branch
    United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
    Dr. Muralee Thummarukudy is currently the Operations Manager at the Crisis Management Branch of United Nations Environment Programme. Muralee holds a PhD in Environmental Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He is an Alumnus of the International Leadership Academy (United Nations University) and also attended University of California, Berkley for the Beaher’s Environmental Leadership Progrmame. Between 1995-2003, Muralee was corporate advisor to Shell operated oil companies in Brunei and Oman. Since Joining the UN Environment in 2003, Muralee has been involved in dealing with crises responses in all major disasters and conflicts in this century. Muralee has dealt with the environmental issues associated with conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Liberia, Sudan and occupied Palestinian territories. Muralee has also dealt with environmental issues caused by tsunamis, floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, oil spill and explosion of ammunition dumps around the world. With more than twenty-five years of international experience in the field of Environmental Management in Crises situations, Muralee is one of world’s leading authorities on this topic and frequently lectures in universities around the world on the topic.
    Monash Data Futures Institute
    Joanna is the inaugural Director of the Monash Data Futures Institute and is an international leading authority on AI and data science. Following an international search, Prof Batstone joins Monash from IBM, where she was Vice President, Innovation, IBM Corporate Strategy. Joanna will be responsible for bringing together data science and AI capabilities from across the University. Prof Batstone’s role will also continue to establish a digital ecosystem which fosters collaborative interdisciplinary research and promotes lasting industry engagements. An exceptional thought leader in the development and application of AI and data analytics, Joanna is passionate about the benefits of AI in driving lasting and transformative change for social good.
    Senior Software Engineer
    Sella Nevo is a senior software engineer who specializes in machine learning research and development. Sella currently leads the Google Flood Forecasting Initiative, which aims to provide scalable high-accuracy high-resolution flood forecasts and warnings globally (see short documentary). His research focuses on integrating machine learning models with physics-based models in data-constrained real-world problems. He also teaches Information Security and Applied Ethics in Tel Aviv university, and advises on venture capital investments that advance the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
    Adviser/ Scientist 'G', Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India
    Government of India
    Dr Preeti Banzal is currently working as Adviser/ Scientist 'G', Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India.She earlier served as Director (Future Networks) in Telecommunication Engineering Centre (TEC), technical research and standardization arm of Department of Telecommunications under Ministry of Communications, India. She holds a PhD degree in Disaster Communication and Early Warning Systems. She has about 27 years of experience working in Telecommunication Policy Making, Standardization, Emergency Communications, Telecom Project Management, Corporate Restructuring, Capacity Building and Trainings Management. During her stint with National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), She has been involved in steering activities for the formulation of National Policy Guidelines and Plans related to Disaster Risk Management. She has significantly contributed for design and development of many work proposals, project designs, emergency Mock drills/exercises, Incident Response System trainings, advanced trauma life support trainings in collaboration with: UNFPA, UNDMT, universities /institutes on Disaster Management and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Trauma Centre, New Delhi, India. Her engagement with ITU-T extends to SG12, SG16, FGAI4H, FGAI4EE and ITU-D SG2, Q5/2 on Utilization of telecommunications/ ICT for disaster preparedness, mitigation, and response. She is the author of a book titled “DISASTER COMMUNICATION AND EARLY WARNING SYSTEMS”. In addition, she has written several papers and articles on diverse topics. As Director (Future Networks) in TEC, presently she is working for standardisation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) by creating India Stack for AI.
    Senior Geospatial and Resilience Specialist
    World Bank
    Yves Barthélemy is a specialist in geospatial information and resilience. He has been working in many African countries over the past 20 years (Madagascar, Nigeria, DRC, Tanzania, Rwanda, Mozambique, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger …). Most recently he has been working for the World Bank-GFDRR leading Drone for Development study tours in Seychelles and Zambia and Team leader for the Zanzibar Mapping Initiative project, the largest drone mapping project in the world. For more than 15 years, he has been working for UNEP – Post Conflict and Disaster Management Branch as Geoinformation expert. He has been a guest lecturer at Science-Po, World Maritime University, Paris XII, State University of Zanzibar… He was part of the organizing team of Understanding Risk - West and Central Africa 2019, of the Organizing Committee of the Global FOSS4G 2019 in Dar Es Salaam and of the ZANSEA Drone conference in 2018. Yves holds a Master in Tropical Ecology and a Master in Geoinformation.
    Programme Management Officer - Risk Analysis and Reporting at UNDRR
    United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR)
    Adam Fysh works in the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction’s Global Risk Analysis and Reporting Unit. He is the coordinator of the Global Risk Assessment Framework (GRAF), Part lead author in the Global Risk Assessment Framework (GAR 2019 and 2022) and overall coordinator for the GAR: Special Report on Drought. Previously, he worked in UNDRR’s Regional Office for Africa in programme delivery, World Food Programme’s Early Warning Section, German Red Cross’ community-based Disaster Risk Reduction in Palestine, UNICEF and IFRC in emergency response, and risk assessment in academic and government offices.


13 Oct 2020


CEST, Geneva
11:00 - 12:30