Towards the development of the INFORM subnational risk model for the SADC region

Although all member states (MS) of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) face similar risks dimensions from natural and anthropogenic hazards, vulnerability, and coping capacity, a common understanding of risk throughout the region remains a challenge. While recognizing differing priorities and levels of readiness, a joint definition of risk, through the INFORM risk model, enables MS to address these challenges jointly by adopting a SADC approach to risk assessment and management as well as pooling resources and expertise to more efficiently allocate efforts towards risk-informed development (RID). This collaborative undertaking can help strengthen resilience across the region, promote collective action to effectively address common risks, secure developmental gains and foster regional integration.

To further contribute to the regional and national capacities of the SADC Secretariat and its MS, the Global Initiative on Disaster Risk Management (GIDRM) and UNDP organized to "Kick-off the workshop for the development of the roadmap for the INFORM subnational risk model for the SADC region" from the 9-11th August 2023 in Ezulwini, hosted by Eswatini’s National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA). The workshop set the framework for the Kingdom of Eswatini to pioneer the use of model in the SADC region. The model serves as a detailed risk assessment tool at the regional, national, and subnational levels. Additional to the model’s 50 indicators to evaluate all risk dimensions, i.e. hazard, exposure, vulnerability and coping capacities, the SADC MS identified a set of indicators based on data availability and specific risk components relevant to the region. the process is spearheaded by the SADC DRR Unit and supported by the African Union. The model will provide a standardized and comparative risk assessment available on an open-source decision-making digital platform that will support more risk-informed development pathways while taking into consideration context-specific fragility factors in the SADC region.


During the workshop, Mr. Melusi Masuku, the Principal Secretary in the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office of Eswatini, emphasized the importance of the INFORM risk model in enhancing a joint understanding of risk by disaster management institutions and communities in the region to meet the need for comprehensive and collaborative efforts to build resilience that transcends sectors, risks, and stakeholders. Outcomes from the event include inter alia:
1) the development of a tailored SADC version of the INFORM risk model to be applicable across the region,
2) the identification of specific data sources and responsible entities for data entry,
3) the development of a draft roadmap for the roll-out of the SADC INFORM risk model.

The INFORM risk model is a risk-assessment tool that can support strategic and programmatic decisions about crisis and disaster prevention, preparedness, and response. The model can help to identify at-risk areas and determine the major driving factors of risk, which can support decision-makers on how to manage and develop on a risk-informed path. The model:

  • aims to ensure shared risk analysis across development sectors, and to align strategies and programmes to context-specific risks,

  • provides detailed risk analysis for a country or region across all levels,

  • supports country-specific risk profiling through the selection of indicators that take account of local conditions,

  • allows for greater flexibility in indicator selection based on local data availability,

  • offers higher resolution of risk mapping at province or local levels,

  • addresses development planning needs and timeframe of decisions across all administrative levels,

  • requires a consultative process to determines the specific components of risk relevant to the context by identifying available and relevant data.