April 25, 2023

Focus Group on „AI for Natural Disaster Management“ receives ITU approval for new deliverables

April 25, 2023

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU)/ World Meteorological Organization (WMO)/ United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) focus group on „AI for Natural Disaster Management“ (FG-AI4NDM) submitted its first three deliverables to its parent study group at ITU-T (Study Group 2 ) on March 13-22, 2023. Following the approval of the three deliverables, Study Group 2 granted the focus group an extension for another year until March 2024. FG-AI4NDM is chaired by Dr. Monique Kuglitsch, Innovation Manager at Fraunhofer Heinrich-Hertz-Institut (HHI).

FG-AI4NDM is building a community of experts and stakeholders to explore current practices and the potential of AI technologies to manage natural hazards and disasters. The group examines methods to detect and forecast events using AI-based methods and how AI systems can help to communicate these findings more effectively.

“After two years of diligent work, we were thrilled by the positive reception of our first deliverables and are appreciative of the extension. As the impacts of natural disasters worsen, we believe that it is our responsibility to systematically explore all tools at our disposal – such as AI – that can bolster our resilience,” states Dr. Monique Kuglitsch, Innovation Manager at Fraunhofer HHI and head of the FG-AI4NDM.

The approved deliverables give guidance in the areas of communication, pre-standardization and standardization activities, as well as terminology. The first deliverable “Technical Report - AI for Communications: Towards Natural Disaster Management” was produced by the working group on “AI for Effective Communications”. It outlines best practices when using AI to support early warning systems, forecasts, hazard maps, decision support systems, dashboards, and chatbots.

The second deliverable contextualizes the focus group’s activities within the standardization landscape. This “Standardization Roadmap on Natural Disaster Management: Trends and Gaps in Standardization” was created by the working group for “Mapping AI-related Activities in Natural Disaster Management” under the leadership of David Oehmen (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). The third deliverable, which was developed by experts from the Justus Liebig University Giessen with support from Fraunhofer HHI, is a “Glossary of Terms”. This is an important resource for effective collaboration as the field of AI for natural disaster management brings together experts from many domains.

The focus group will use its extension to complete a technical report on data for AI, a technical report on AI for modeling, and educational materials to support capacity sharing. Through open-access publications, webinars, hands-on workshops, and hackathons, FG-AI4NDM hopes to ensure that all of its activities are accessible to all, with a particular focus on the needs of least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing states (SIDS).

The long-term goal of Dr. Kuglitsch and her colleagues is to transition the focus group into a new mechanism, which continues standardization but expands to address gaps in science and contributes to the UN’s Early Warning for All Initiative ”.