Scientific Committee

IRDR is governed by a 14-member Scientific Committee (SC) set up by and on behalf of the Co-Sponsors. Its responsibilities are to define, develop and prioritise plans for the IRDR, guide its programming, budgeting and implementation, establish a mechanism for oversight of programme activities, and disseminate and publicise its results.

The SC is comprised of disaster and risk reduction experts from around the world. Members are chosen based on their standing in the international scientific community and their commitment to the strategic objectives of the Programme. The Committee aims to include a balanced representation of relevant disciplines in the natural, social and engineering sciences, taking into consideration regional and gender balance. (See Terms of Reference of IRDR SC)

  Committee Members

John HANDMER – Committee Chair

Risk Group, IIASA (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis), Vienna

Professor John Handmer is a Senior Scientific Adviser at IIASA (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis), Vienna, and Emeritus Professor in the School of Science, RMIT University. He has qualifications and experience in human geography, economics and law. He is, or has recently been, on a number of Australian advisory bodies. These cover climate change adaptation, disaster risk and resilience, the National Vulnerability Profile project, and at NCCARF (National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility) he led the network on Emergency Management. He has also worked with the IPCC. His group at RMIT was one of 20 cases nationally selected for its impact on policy and practice by the Excellence in Innovation for Australia 2014 report. He received the 2016 RMIT “Vice Chancellor’s Research Award for Impact” for his work on the human dimensions of disaster risk. In 2018 he was elected a Fellow at the Australian Academy of Social Sciences, and in 2019 was nominated as the country’s top researcher in Emergency Management by the Australian Research Magazine. He had a leading role in the 2020 ISC-UNDRR report on Hazards definition and classification review, and is co-leading the development of a new Global research agenda for risk science on behalf of the IRDR, ISC and UNDRR.


Picture1 Dortmund University and University of Bonn, Germany – Spatial Planning and Geography

Jörn holds a PhD in Spatial Planning from the Dortmund University and a post-doctoral degree in  Geography (venia legendi) from the University of Bonn, Department of Geography. He heads a research section at the United Nations University – Institute for Environment and Human Security in Bonn. Jörn has extensive expertise in the field of vulnerability and risk assessment, urban and spatial planning as well as sustainable development and environmental impact assessment. He is specialised in the development of methods to assess vulnerability, risk and resilience. As an IPCC Lead-Author in the IPCC Special Report “Managing the Risk of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation” and in the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC, he has intensively worked on new challenges for linking risk reduction and adaptation to climate change. Jörn conducted research projects in more than 15 countries in Southeast Asia, Europe, Latin America, Africa and the United States. In addition, he is closely collaborating with various UN institutions in the field of disaster risk reduction and spatial /urban development. He authored and co-authored more than 100 scientific papers. His recent book publications include the second edition of “Measuring Vulnerability to Natural Hazards – Towards Disaster Resilient Societies.”



Tonkin+Taylor – climate and hydrological risk assessment, design and implementation of hazard early warning system and emergency communication, climate change adaptation, training and capacity building and integrated water resources management.

Dr Fakhruddin is an expert climate change risk assessor with 15 years’ global experience in working on disaster risk and climate resilience projects. This experience is a major advantage in climate change adaptation and mitigation strategy development. His key areas of expertise are climate and hydrological assessment, early warning and emergency response, climate change adaptation, and capacity building. Dr Fakhruddin designed early warning and emergency response projects more than 25 countries in Asia and the Pacific. Dr Fakhruddin is currently work as a mentor and supervisor for post graduate study in disaster risk management in University of Auckland (UoA). He is a Science Committee Member of IRDR of ICSU/UNISDR, Co-Chair for the Disaster Loss DATA and Risk Interpretation and Applications (RIA) Working Group of IRDR of ICSU/UNISDR. He is also Co-Chair CODATA task group Linked Open Data for Global Disaster Risk Research (LODGD) and PSG member of the Coastal Inundation Forecasting Demonstration Project (CIFDP) and Open Panel of Commission for Hydrology Experts (OPACHE) of WMO.


Virginia Jimenez DiazLatin American Network of Social Studies on Disaster Prevention, LA RED – Risk Management in Urban Areas

Virginia Jimenez-Diaz is a Geographer from the Universidad Central de Venezuela and holds a PhD in applied geomorphology in urban areas, from the Department of Geography, University College London.  She is consultant for projects on risk management for government bodies and international agencies and has contributed in post-disaster recovery processes in various countries in Latin America. She have done applied research on the role of different actors in risk reduction, including aspects of institutional and community strengthening. She is currently a professor at Universidad Central de Venezuela, and at Universidad Simon Bolivar.

Peng CUI

Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Prof. Peng CUI is the academic director of Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment (IMHE), CAS. He has been engaged in geo-hazards for decades and obtained acknowledged achievements in debris-flow mechanism and risk management technology. He proposed the concept of quasi- debris flow based on 20 years of observations and in-situ monitoring and analysis, and has defined the relationships between streambed slope, fine sediment content of soil, and water saturation. He has been long devoted to DRR both in China and abroad, collaborating with countries including Italy, Pakistan, Nepal, India, Thailand, Venezuela and Cuba. The mitigation techniques have been successfully applied to the mega debris-flow event in Venezuela (1999), the large dammed lake in Pakistan (2010), and the geohazards along the Karakoram Highway in Pakistan. He has so far published more than 300 papers, four monographs and one atlas of Mountain Hazards and Soil Erosion in the Upper Yangtze, obtained 19 patents of disaster mitigation technology, and won more than ten national and provincial awards.

Virginia MURRAY 

Virginia-MurrayUNISDR Science and Technology Advisory Group; Global Disaster Risk Reduction, Public Health England; Health Protection, MRC-HPA Centre for Environment and Health, Imperial College and King’s College, London.
Professor Virginia Murray is the Public Health Consultant in Global Disaster Risk Reduction for Public Health England. Virginia qualified in medicine and has had a series of national and international roles as Head of Centre for Radiation, Chemicals and Environmental Hazards, London for the Health Protection Agency and as Head of Extreme Events and Health Protection. Since 2012 she works in Public Health England, where she is involved in supporting various activities such as PHE and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 to 2030: a review published in October 2017 and other activities such as a member of the IRDR Scientific Committee 2016 onwards where she is co-chair of the IRDR Disaster Data Loss Project (DATA) project
and as a past member and as vice-chair of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) Scientific and Technical Advisory Group 2009-2017. She is a Visiting/Honorary Professor at several universities including University College London (2013 onwards), MRC-PHE Centre for Environment and Health, Imperial College and King’s College, London (2004 onwards) and at the United Nations University International Institute for Global Health (2017 onwards) and has published widely.


Haruo HayashiThe Kyoto University Graduate School of Informatics; Research Center for Disaster Reduction Systems at Kyoto University’s Disaster Prevention Research Institute.

The general focus of Dr. Hayashi’s work is on Societal and Human Reactions to Disasters, Risk Communication and Education, Information System for Disaster Management, Standardization of Emergency Operations, and Multi-hazard Risk Assessment. His major publications include ISBN: 978-4542701748, (2014), Japanese Standard Association, ISBN: 978-4-901823-97-5, (2012), Nikkei BP Consulting, Inc., ISBN: 4621079514, (2008), Maruzen Co., Ltd, ISBN: 4000050486, (2003), Iwanami Shoten.

Jana Sillmann

Center for International Climate Research – Oslo (Norway)

Dr. Jana Sillmann is Research Director at the Center for International Climate Research – Oslo (Norway) and leads the Climate Impacts group. Her expertise is in the analysis of climate extremes in a changing climate. Her work focuses on relating physical aspects of weather and climate extremes to socio-economic impacts and questions related to risk assessment and decision-making. She is co-leading activities of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) Grand Challenge on Weather and Climate Extremes. She is also Lead Author of Chapter 12 “Climate change information for regional impact and for risk assessment” in the 6th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group 1.

Wei-Sen Li

APEC Emergency Preparedness Capacity Building Center (EPCC)

Dr. Wei-Sen Li is the Executive Director of APEC Emergency Preparedness Capacity Building Center (EPCC) and the Secretary General of National Sceince and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction (NCDR). Dr. Li holds a PhD in Civil Engineering from National Central University, where he specializes in structure dynamics, seismic design and earthquake engineering. Dr. Li have been involved in APEC Emergency Preparedness Working Group (EPWG) and is 2018-2020 EPWG Co-chair. He has a wealth of experiences in the development and implementation of disaster risk reduction and management systems at domestic and regional levels. His working scopes include building capacity through engaging public-private partnership to better prepare for and respond to emergencies and natural disasters in the Asia Pacific region. Currently, he leads international collaborations and conducts researches on large-scale urban disasters and disaster risk management.

Rajib Shaw

Keio University

A Japanese national of Indian origin, Rajib Shaw is the professor in Graduate School of Media and Governance in Keio University’s Shonan Fujisawa Campus (SFC). Earlier, he was the Executive Director of the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR), a decade-long research program co-sponsored by the International Council for Science (ICSU), the International Social Science Council (ISSC), and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR). He is also the Senior Fellow of Institute of Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) Japan, and the Chairperson of SEEDS Asia, a Japanese NGO. Previously, he served as a Professor in the Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies of Kyoto University. His expertise includes community-based disaster risk management, climate change adaptation, urban risk management, and disaster and environmental education. He is the Chair of the United Nations Science Technology Advisory Group (STAG) for disaster risk reduction; and also the Co-chair of the Asia Science Technology Academic Advisory Group (ASTAAG). He is the editor of a book series on disaster risk reduction, published by Springer. Prof. Shaw has published more than 45 books and over 300 academic papers and book chapters.

Riyanti Djalante

United Nations University – Institute for the Advances Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS)

Dr. Riyanti Djalante is an Academic Programme Officer at The United Nations University – Institute for the Advances Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS). She coordinates the research and policy development on Global Change and Resilience, which conduct researches to address climate change, build community resilience, and reduce disaster risks. Her current appointments include a member of IRDR Scientific Committee, fellow of the International Social Science Council (ISSC). She is a Lead Author of IPCC Assessment Report 6 and Special Report on impacts of 1.5 degree warming, and the UNEP Global Environmental Outlook 6. She is involved at UNISDR initiatives on Words into Action and Report of the open-ended intergovernmental expert working group on indicators and terminology relating to DRR. Dr. Djalante has also consulted for international agencies on issues related to governance, DRR and CCA.


Economist with 25 years-professional experiences and former World Bank Climate Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management Economist, specifically in Charge of all economic dimensions of Disaster Risk Management and Reduction activities on behalf of the World Bank, Prof RANDRIANALIJAONA Tiana Mahefasoa has been appointed as the Director of the Multidisciplinary Disaster and Risk Management Department (DMGRC) of the University of Antananarivo since April 2009. Presently Director of the Centre of Economic Research and Study for Development (CERED), he focuses his research on social dimensions and sustainable development issues of risk and disaster related problems. He has been leading many projects in collaboration with international donors, UN agencies and NGOs aiming mainly at risk reduction efforts and resilience enhancement of local communities with special emphases on local and national authorities’ capacity development. He has been one of the founding member of the UNDRR Global Risk Assessment Framework (GRAF) since November 2017 and is one of the Expert group members of this framework. He is also member of the United Kingdom Global Challenge Research Fund International Peer Review College since 2017 and member of the Executive Board of the Technical Centre for Disaster Risk Management, Sustainability and Urban Resilience (DiMSUR) for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region which is based in Maputo Mozambique and collaborating closely with UNHABITAT. Prof RANDRIANALIJAONA Mahefasoa is now the Periperi U focal point for the University of Antananarivo (Madagascar).

Nesreen Daifallah AL-HMOUD

Nisreen AL-Hmoud (Jordan) obtained a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Abertay Dundee/Scotland in 2002. In 2003, she joined the Royal Scientific Society (RSS) of Jordan as a Researcher; and since 2009, she is leading the group of Bio-Risk at RSS. Dr AL-Hmoud is a member in the National Bio-safety Committee and the National Committee for Science and Technology Ethics in Jordan. She is also a member of Bat-Associated Pathogen and Ecology Research Network (BPERNet) steering committee (since 2017). Currently, Dr AL-Hmoud is the Director of the Biosafety and Biosecurity Centre at RSS. As a scientist, Dr AL-Hmoud is motivated to provide research that focuses on the public good; her research emphasis is the preservation of human health and biodiversity. She has particularly interested in effective and sustainable scientific international cooperation. She has dedicated her research in the last 15 years to the development of scientific capacity, in the fields of water & food safety and security, and evaluation of environmental risks for scientists, government agencies, local communities and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in Jordan and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Besides that, Dr AL-Hmoud is actively contributing in Biorisk Management capacity building programs nationally and regionally. She is devoted to research that involves a holistic approach that takes into account microbiology, molecular biology, virology, toxicology and ecology; researching the most effective methods to reduce health risks associated with naturally occurring infectious disease events and other public health risks. Her research projects led to tens of papers, journal articles and chapters in books.

Alonso Brenes TORRES

Costa Rican geographer. He is a lecturer at the University of Costa Rica, at the departments of Geography, Geology, and Political Sciences; as well as international consultant on disaster risk management, climate sciences and territorial development. He has been invited to give lectures, trainings, and conferences in 25 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia, Africa and Europe.

His academic and professional career started 15 years ago, working on international cooperation projects related to management of international basins in Central America and Mexico. Since 2005 he has been working on disaster risk management initiatives, especially in projects that try to bridge scientific and technological knowledge with public policies formulation and enforcement in Latin America and the Caribbean.

He is member of the Network of Social Studies on Disasters Prevention in Latin America (LA RED), and the working group on Global Environmental Change, Social Movements, and Public Policies, of the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO). He is also a member of the steering committee on disaster risk reduction of the ICS – ROLAC, the UNESCO’s Group of Experts on Risk Management for Latin America and the Caribbean; and the editorial board of Disaster Prevention and Management Journal.

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