The Uscore2 project aims to design and test a generic, practical, city-to-city, disaster risk reduction peer review tool for cities across EU member states and beyond via the UNISDR Making Cities Resilient campaign (MCR). The project will involve collaborative work between the municipalities of Salford, Amadora and Viggiano. the University of Manchester, UNISDR, the Department of Communities and Local Government (UK), Portuguese National Authority of Civil Protection and the Associazione di Protezione Civile Gruppo Lucano.

The last decade has seen a rising trend in natural and man-made disasters. EU Civil Protection legislation advocates that Member States share best practice and help each other to identify where additional effort is needed to reduce risks. Practical translation of this includes cities conducting better risk assessment and developing action plans. Beyond the EU, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) 2015-2030 , endorsed by the UN General Assembly in June 2015 established seven global targets including to “substantially increase the number of countries with national and local DRR strategies by 2020” and emphasizing the need to empower local governments to reduce disaster risk.

Local governments are closest to citizens and communities, playing a vital role in responding to emergencies and delivering essential services which must be resilient to disasters. To respond to calls to prevent and prepare for disasters, municipalities need better access to policies, tools and rigorous, expert critique. Self-assessment tools are available but are often cumbersome to apply. Peer review of local civil protection mechanisms could offer an independent/ transparent assessment, adding clear value to building local and national resilience. The tool will assist cities with the challenge of strengthening their implementation of disaster risk reduction. Conducting rigorous city-to-city peer reviews is a challenge for practitioners and policy-makers who want to learn from best practice as this has not yet been assembled into an easy to use tool.

Uscore2 follows on from the DG ECHO-funded ‘Urban Scorecard’ (UScore) project which enabled 5 European cities to pilot a self-assessment Disaster Resilience Scorecard to assess city resilience; Amadora in Portugal, Arvika and Jönköping in Sweden and the British cities of Salford and Stoke-on-Trent. Learning from UScore will be formalised into Uscore2 by developing a peer-review tool that will enable self-assessment approaches to be complemented by independent analysis.

The objectives for the city-to-city peer review tool are to:

  • ensure that the review tool reflects a comprehensive, all-of-society approach to DRR
  • identify data, information and evidence useful when conducting a city-to-city peer review
  • aid the implementation of the Sendai Framework at local and therefore national/international levels through alignment to local indicators developed in accordance with the Sendai Framework
  • ensure it is useable by cities at all levels of maturity in DRR planning

The peer review tool developed through Uscore2 will be piloted in Viggiano, Salford and Amadora. These three cities have different disaster risk profiles; geographical and demographic characteristics; and statutory and regulatory frameworks. All are role models within the Making Cities Resilient Campaign. The effectiveness of the peer review tool will be evaluated using a methodology developed by the University of Manchester. The tool will be aligned to the indicators for the Sendai Framework and UNISDR MCR enabling on-going assessment of its applicability in reporting local progress against the Sendai Framework.