IRDR to Hold the 2nd Conference on Disaster Reduction

BEIJING—The Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) 2014 conference theme, “Integrated Disaster Risk Science: A Tool for Sustainability,” is designed to place emphasis on the importance of science as a tool to address hazard risks and issues of sustainable development. It is scheduled to be held from 7th June to 9th June, 2014, at the Beijing International Convention Center (BICC) and organized by the IRDR International Programme Office and the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST).

The IRDR Conference is a series of plenaries and break-out sessions discussing the challenges of implementing integrated disaster risk research, inter-organisational collaboration and policy, as well as the interaction with sustainable development activities. The sessions will address the range of environmental hazards, vulnerability, and sustainability, in both global and local contexts. It will include key discussion on the influence of science in Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA2) in preparation for the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) next year in Sendai, Japan.

We are expecting over 300 participants from over 40 countries, from a variety of disciplines, policy and practice areas. Our opening ceremony speakers include:

  • Qin ZHANG, Vice President and Executive Secretary, China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) (China);
  • Huadong GUO, Director General of the Institute for Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (RADI), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS);
  • Steven WILSON, Executive Director, International Council for Science (ICSU) (France);
  • Feng Min KAN, Head, UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (Thailand); and
  • Hanlin LI, Director General of the National Institute of Social Development, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) for the International Social Science Council (ISSC).

Our keynote speakers include Senator Loren LEGARDA, renowned legislator, journalist and environmentalist from the Philippines, and UN Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific. Senator LEGARDA will speak on “From Knowledge to Practice: Building Back Stronger after Haiyan with the Aid of Science”. When Haiyan, among the strongest typhoons in the world’s history, pummeled the Philippines, it left not only massive loss of lives and destruction but also lessons on disaster resilience. The devastation it caused has brought up the issue of effective early warnings and preparation, thus highlighting the crucial link between knowledge and practice. While science is vital to disaster risk reduction and management, turning it into concrete programs on the ground proves to be the greater challenge. The Haiyan experience is the Philippines’ new benchmark for disaster resilience and as it strives to rise from the tragedy, science will be its ally to build back stronger and wiser.

Nathaniel FORBES, Director of Forbes Calamity Prevention Pte Ltd., Singapore, will speak on “Water and Disasters: The Impact of Thirst” that will reflect on three stories that illustrate the effects of water on national security, corporate supply chains and foreign investment.

Makoto MIZUTANI, Counselor of the Reconstruction Agency from the Government of Japan (GoJ) will speak on “For Accelerating the Reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake”. The presentation addresses the policy and measures of the Government of Japan against the Great East Japan Earthquake (GEJE) – struck along the pacific coast of Japan’s Tohoku region on 11 March 2011, and triggered a powerful tsunami, which devastated much of the Tohoku coastal area and precipitated the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. It also introduces the situation overview and reconstruction processes of affected areas.

Virginia MURRAY, Consultant in Global Disaster Risk Reduction, Public Health England, United Kingdom will speak about, “The Road to HFA2: Can Science Help to Inform Policy and Practice?” This presentation offers the opportunity to discuss the statement on establishing an international science advisory mechanism for disaster risk reduction to strengthen resilience for the post-2015 agenda, and to determine if this an effective way forward for science to help inform policy and practice.

Bill NICOL, Management Strategist, Former Senior Adviser to the Indonesian Government for the Tsunami Recovery, will speak on “The Politics of Disaster Recovery” that deals with 2004 Aceh tsunami that killed almost a quarter of a million people in Indonesia alone. Aceh was at the epicenter and its recovery in four short years may now be in the past but its lessons live on and are more relevant today than ever. NICOL’s presentation will offer insights into the politics of disaster recovery.

Mark PELLING, Professor of Geography, Director of Research and Deputy Head, Department of Geography, King’s College London (UK) will present on “Intergovernment Processes and the Framing of Disaster Risk Reduction.” This paper presents reflections on the outcomes of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Review and also of progress to date on the Sustainable Development Goals.

A plenary session on 9 June will cover a discussion on “Science and the Media” with Kathleen KOCH, freelance journalist, author and former CCN correspondent as the moderator. She will be joined by Irasema ALCÁNTARA-AYALA, Professor from the Institute of Geography, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Stephen BENDER, former Division Chief of the Department for Sustainable Development from the Organization of American States, David JOHNSTON, Chair of the IRDR Science Committee and Director of the Joint Centre for Disaster Research from Massey University in New Zealand and Miles O’BRIEN, Science Correspondent for the PBS NewsHour.

The IRDR programme is a global, multi-disciplinary approach dealing with the challenges brought by natural disasters, including mitigating their impacts and improving related policy-making mechanisms. IRDR is co-sponsored by the International Council for Science (ICSU), the International Social Science Council (ISSC), and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN-ISDR), and hosted by the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (RADI), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

For more information about the Conference, including the programme for the three days, visit the IRDR website at or contact:

For media credentials, please contact Charina Cabrido at