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AIT and ADPC Strengthen Disaster Preparedness and Climate Resilience for the Region through MoU

30 Sep 2021
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By Mae Thiwari

September 15, 2021 — Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) and Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on collaboration for disaster preparedness and climate resilience.

Asia, home to 60 percent of the world’s population, experiences more natural disasters than any other areas on earth. Between 2014 and 2017, nations in this region were affected by 55 earthquakes, 217 storms and cyclones, and 236 cases of severe flooding, impacting 650 million population and causing deaths of nearly 33,000 people. The Asia-Pacific Disaster Report 2021 released by the UN ESCAP warns that the annual economic losses arising from natural and biological risks could almost double under the worst-case climate change scenario.

Against the backdrop of such Climate Change calamity, AIT can play a significant role in the region and beyond through its flagship postgraduate program on Disaster Preparedness, Mitigation and Management, and through solutions and project implementations provided by its faculty and outreach centers. With the need for national and regional approaches to knowledge building, skills development, emergency preparedness, long-term planning, and policy development, AIT has synergized with ADPC to prepare the region for future disaster events.

“I am glad that AIT and ADPC share a common vision and objectives. It is my hope that through our new partnership we can reach new levels of cooperation in research for disaster preparedness and resilience, joint capacity enhancement activities, training and learning, student internships and other joint programs of mutual benefit for the people of Asia,” said AIT President Dr. Eden Woon.

Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) is an autonomous international organization based in Thailand, mandated to promote safer communities and sustainable development through disaster risk reduction. ADPC responds to the Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Risk Management needs of countries and communities in Asia and the Pacific, by raising awareness, helping to establish and to strengthen sustainable institutional mechanisms, enhancing knowledge and skills, and facilitating the exchange of information and experience.

The MoU signed by AIT and ADPC provides the framework for a collaborative alliance on collaborative research for disaster preparedness and climate resilience, joint capacity enhancement activities, student internship and staff exchange opportunities, joint development of online learning courses, joint program implementation, join conference and knowledge exchange platforms, and joint proposals for research projects and postgraduate scholarships.

“I absolutely believe that our collaboration between AIT and ADPC will help to strengthen the capacity of Asia and Pacific, to develop systems and tools for reducing disaster risks and enhancing the climate resilience in the region,” said ADPC Executive Director Mr. Hans Guttman.

Mr. Guttman is an AIT alumnus, graduating with a Master of Science in 1991 in Aquaculture. He later worked for AIT in the 1990s and was instrumental in advancing the institute’s Aqua Outreach program. Over the years, ADPC experts and AIT professors and AIT outreach centers, namely AIT Geoinformatics Center and AIT Solutions, have collaborated on many important initiatives and research projects.

On June 24 – 25, 2021, AIT and ADPC as one of its institutional partners jointly organized the second International Symposium on Disaster Resilience and Sustainable Development (DRSD) — the largest symposium on the topic with 21 international collaborators, 15 keynote speakers, 204 technical presentations and 21 technical sessions, and 337 participants from 29 countries,  spearheaded by the inter-disciplinary program Disaster Preparedness Mitigation and Management (DPMM), AIT.