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Multi-Hazard Resilience and Sustainability prioritized at DRSD 2021

30 Jun 2021

The largest symposium hosted by AIT drew a big crowd to discuss disaster risk reduction, biological disaster included, and sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific Region.

The International Symposium on Disaster Resilience and Sustainable Development (DRSD) was held for the second time at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) on June 24 – 25, 2021, with 21 international collaborators, 15 keynote speakers, and 337 participants from 29 countries. It is the largest symposium on the topic with 204 technical presentations and 21 technical sessions, spearheaded by the inter-disciplinary program Disaster Preparedness Mitigation and Management (DPMM), AIT.

This year, amidst COVID-19 crisis, the symposium focuses not only on discussions of short-term consequences of climate change and its impending risks with catastrophic and wide-ranging implications on society, but also on the global biological disaster which requires concerted efforts of the global communities. With the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR), it calls for dedicated actions to tackle disaster risk drivers, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To promote regional corporation to implement the health aspect of the Sendai framework, including those reflected in the Bangkok principles, ESCAP is already working with member states to discuss solutions, to build resilience to cascading risks and we look forward to partnering with AIT to support countries in the region,” said keynote speaker, Dr. Armida Alisjahbana, Executive Secretary, UNESCAP in her opening remarks.

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) was adopted at the 3rd United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan, on March 15th, 2015. It aims to reduce substantial disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods, and health, and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries from 2015 – 2030.

The ‘Bangkok Principles’ is the framework for implementation of health aspects of the SFDRR 2015 – 2030. It places health resilience at the center of disaster risk management by promoting systematic cooperation, integration and coherence between disaster and health risk management. 

President Eden Woon of AIT said, “AIT is working on disaster resilience for quite a long time in the region and our motto ‘Social Impact with Innovation’ is well reflected through this multi-disciplinary international event attended by the Academicians, Scientists, Practitioners, Policy makers, researchers from around the world.”

The International Symposium is one of the initiatives of ProSPER.Net project ‘Disaster Education for integrating SFDRR and SDG in Asia’ led by AIT along with its partners in the Asia Pacific Region. ProSPER.Net is an alliance of leading universities in the Asia-Pacific region that are committed to integrating sustainable development into postgraduate courses and curricula.

The global challenges addressed in DRSD 2021 through keynote speeches are divided into four plenary sessions: 1) The Global Risk Agenda and Uncovering Resilience Strategies, 2) Dwellers and Stakeholders in Asian Mega-Deltas: their contributions to locally led adaptation & resilience, 3) Technological and Social Innovation Pathways for Safer and Inclusive Societies, and 4) The Pandemic Challenges and Road to Recovery of Education System. 

“The design of interaction format for the DRSD is unique, it’s been developed to be a ‘virtual melting pot’ of the researchers, development agencies and practitioners to exchange knowledge, innovative ideas, as well as to explore collaborative research opportunities through high education network,” said Dr. Indrajit Pal, Chair of DRSD 2021 and Assistant Professor and Chair of Disaster Preparedness Mitigation and Management program at AIT. 

Three Book Launches 

The opening remarks were followed by three important book launches under the theme of Disaster Resilience and Sustainable Development. The first book was titled ‘Disaster Resilience & Sustainability: Adaptation for Sustainable Development,’ edited by Dr. Indrajit Pal, Prof. Rajib Shaw, Dr. Riyanti Djalanti and Prof. Sangam Shrestha, and published by Elsevier. The book consists of 33 peer-reviewed chapters, from the first International Symposium On Disaster Resilience and Sustainable Development in 2019.

The two volumes of ‘Energy, Disaster, Climate Change: Sustainability and Just Transitions in Bangladesh’ published in the International Energy Journal, Bangabandhu Chair Special Issue, were launched by His Excellency Mr. Mohammed Abdul Hye, the Ambassador of People’s Republic of Bangladesh to the Kingdom of Thailand. 

“I’m happy to learn that thirty articles have been selected for the publication, and the contributors are highly acclaimed professionals and researchers. May I humbly thank them for their hard work, and I’m sure it will act as a valuable reference for researchers and policy makers engaged with disaster resilience and sustainable development,” said His Excellency Mr. Hye.

The Bangabandhu Chair Special Issue of the International Energy Journal was edited by Prof. Joyashree Roy, Prof. Sheikh Tawhidul Islam, and Dr. Indrajit Pal.

Truly International Collaboration

With four keynote sessions, participants from 29 countries learned of various global challenges being addressed by 15 keynote chairs and speakers from diversified backgrounds across the globe, namely: Prof. Rajib Shaw, Keio University, Japan; Prof. Takeuchi Kazuhiko, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Japan; Mr. Hans Guttman, Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), Thailand; Prof. Andy Large, Newcastle University, UK; Dr. Saleemul Huq, International Center for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), Bangladesh; Ms. Hap Navy, Sustainable Mekong Research Network (SUMERNET), Cambodia; Dr. Shailesh Nayak, National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), India; Dr. Sanjay Srivastava, UNESCAP, Thailand; Dr. Reinhard Mechler, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Austria; Prof. Gretchen Kalonji, Institute for Disaster Management and Reconstruction (IDMR), Sichuan University, China; Dr. Zita SebesvarI, United Nations University (UNU), Germany; Prof. Dilanthi Amartunga, Global Disaster Resilience Center, University of Huddersfield, UK; and Mr. Soichiro Yasukawa from United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), France.

The 2nd International Symposium on Disaster Resilience and Sustainable Development was organized by Asian Institute of Technology in collaboration with ProSPER.Net, in partnership with Universitas Gadjah Mada, Universitas Andalas, Keio University, and Miyagi University of Education. Its publication partners are Elsevier and Emerald Publishing. Its institutional partners include Global Alliance of Disaster Research Institute (GADRI), Living Deltas Hub, Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR), Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), Sustainable Mekong Research Network (SUMERNET), Institute of Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Regional Integrated Multi-hazard Early Warning System (RIMES), Philippines School of Business Administration (PSBA), Resilience Innovation Knowledge Academy (RIKA), South Asia Alliance of Disaster Research Institute (SAADRI), National Institute of Technology Kamataka (NIT K), University of Huddersfield, University of Newcastle, and Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC).

Watch the Opening Sessions and Plenary Sessions on ‘The Global Risk Agenda and Uncovering Resilience Strategies,’ and ‘Dwellers and Stakeholders in Asian Mega-Deltas: their contributions to locally led adaptation & resilience,’ held on June 24, 2021: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmmsPIslbHI

Watch the Closing Session and Plenary Sessions on ‘Technological and Social Innovation Pathways for Safer and Inclusive Societies,’ and ‘The Pandemic Challenges and Road to Recovery of Education System’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RYt19UaLkM 

More information about International Symposium on Disaster Resilience and Sustainable Development, please visit: http://www.disaster-sustainability.org