APRU at the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

The APRU Multi-Hazards Program (MHP) was actively involved in the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in Sendai in March 2015. Centered on the theme “Science and Practical Disaster Risk Reduction – The Role of Universities and Academia”, the APRU MHP organized three panel discussions at the public forum of the conference.

Prof Fumihiko Imamura (Tohoku University), Dr Christopher Tremewan (Association of Pacific Rim Universities) and Dr Shuaib Lwasa (Integrated Research on Disaster Risk) welcomed the audience. All speakers highlighted the importance of the cooperation between higher education institutions, private sector, public administration and the civil society for successful disaster risk reduction in theory and practice.

The first panel presented initiatives, ideas and solutions to “Bridging the Gap between Science and Practice”. Prof. Supot Teachavorasinskun (Chulalongkorn University) and Prof. Reid Basher (Victoria University of Wellington) were discussing with Rowan Douglas (Willis Research Network), Dr Yoshiko Abe (Kokusay Kogyo) and Masaaki Miyamoto (Pacific Consultants) and highlighting positive developments with the implementation of the Hyogo Framework of Action.

The development of technology was highlighted in the second panel discussion. Prof John Rundle (University of California, Davis), Dr David Green, Dr Gerald Bowden (both National Aeronautics and Space Administration), Margaret Glasscoe (California Institute of Technology), Prof Shinji Toda (Tohoku University), Prof Yih-Chi Tan (National Taiwan University) and Prof Hui Zhang (Tsinghua University) introduced new developments in science that could help to strengthen emergency preparedness, disaster management and disaster recovery.

Finally, DRR was reviewed from the social science perspective. Prof Hugo Romero, University of Chile, Prof Rajib Shaw, Kyoto University, Prof Karl Kim, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Prof. Takako Izumi, Tohoku University, Dr Manu Gupta, Asian Disaster Reduction and Response Network and Dr Badaoui Rouhban were presenting on the positive development of the international disaster risk reduction community. They also highlighted the political and economic impact of disasters and climate change on local and indigenous communities.

Dr Tremewan was also invited to speak at the panel discussion of the Asian University Network of Environment and Disaster Risk Management (AUEDM) and Partners Enhancing Resilience for People Exposed to Risk (Periperi-U) to share APRU's vision of successful collaboration among higher education institutions on DRR strategies. His presentation attracted a lot of questions and interest in APRU. In addition, the MHP was able to strengthen the ties with other university networks and we were able to exchange experiences of research collaboration networks working on DRR.