In support of the IRDR Strategic Plan (2013-2017), the Programme is guided by the following bodies:
- Science Committee (SC)
- International Programme Office (IPO)
The following are the elements of the IRDR’s research programme:
- National and Regional Committees
- International Centres of Excellence (ICoEs)
International Council for Science (ICSU)
The International Council for Science (ICSU) is a non-governmental organisation with a global membership made up of national scientific bodies (120 Members, representing 140 countries) and International Scientific Unions (31 Members), and whose mission is to strengthen international science for the benefit of society. To do this, ICSU mobilises the knowledge and resources of the international science community to identify and address major issues of importance to science and society, and to facilitate interaction amongst scientists across all disciplines and from all countries. It promotes the participation of all scientists—regardless of race, citizenship, language, political stance or gender—in the international scientific endeavour, and provides independent, authoritative advice to stimulate constructive dialogue between the scientific community and governments, civil society and the private sector.
The main ICSU Secretariat is based in Paris and there are three Regional Offices serving Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean.
ICSU also has 17 Interdisciplinary Bodies, established with various strategic partners to address major issues of relevance to both science and society; one such Body is the IRDR.
The International Social Science Council (ISSC)
The International Social Science Council (ISSC) is an international non-profit-making scientific organisation with headquarters at UNESCO House in Paris. It is the primary international body representing the social and behavioural sciences at a global level. The Council’s role is to advance the practice and use of the social and behavioral sciences in all parts of the world, and to ensure their global representation. This involves:
- An overview of the quality and development of the constituent sciences;
- Action to stimulate their growth; and
- Work to ensure their utilisation and relevance to the problems of humankind. Such promotion includes, wherever possible, the assistance of policy development at international and national levels, and the use of high quality social science research to further economic well-being and quality of life globally.
The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR)
Created in December 1999, UNISDR is the secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR). It is the successor to the secretariat of the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) with the purpose of ensuring the implementation of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. The mandate of UNISDR expanded in 2001 to serve as the focal point in the United Nations system for the coordination of disaster reduction and to ensure synergies among the disaster reduction activities of the United Nations system and regional organisations and activities in socio-economic and humanitarian fields. This was in response to a need for mainstreaming disaster risk reduction within the development and other areas of work of the UN. The “Hyogo Declaration” and the “Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters” was adopted by the World Conference on Disaster Reduction, held in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan, in January 2005. The Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) tasked UNISDR with supporting the implementation of the HFA.
IRDR is governed by a 15-member Science 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)
Shuaib LWASA- Committee Chair
Makerere University, Kampala, UGANDA – Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Climate Sciences
Shuaib Lwasa is a geographer with twelve years University teaching and research at Makerere University, Uganda. He received a PhD in Geography from Makerere University, a Masters degree in GIS at ITC, Netherlands, a Masters degree in Land Use Planning from Makerere University and his Bachelors in Geography from Makerere University. Research interests include urban environmental management, livelihood systems, hazard and vulnerability assessment in both rural and urban environments. He has worked on multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary research projects utilizing geospatial technologies on coupled social and environmental systems. Recent publications topics include adaptation to climate change, land and property rights, land use and land cover change, vulnerability assessment and spatial planning for sustainable development.
Irasema ALCÁNTARA-AYALA – Committee Vice-Chair
Institute of Geography, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) – landslides, vulnerabililty and risk
Irasema Alcántara-Ayala is a former Director and current Professor and Researcher of the Institute of Geography at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). She got a degree in Geography from UNAM, a Ph.D. degree in Geography/Geomorphology from King´s College London, University of London, and carried out a post-doc stay at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston. Her research interest is concentrated on landslides, vulnerability and integrated risk. Since 2000, she has been working in collaboration with the National Centre for Disaster Prevention (CENAPRED) in Mexico. She is a former member of the Committee of Scientific Planning and Review (CSPR) of the International Council for Science (ICSU). Chair of the Geomorphological Hazards Working Group of the International Association of Geomorphologists (IAG). Vice-President of the International Geographical Union (IGU). Young Affiliate Fellow of the Academy of Sciences for the developing world (TWAS). Vice-President of the International Consortium on Landslides (ICL).
Mark PELLING – Executive Committee Member
King’s College London, UK – Reader in geography and disaster risk reduction
Mark Pelling is Professor of Geography at King’s College London, Mark’s research specialism is adaptation to climate change, in developing countries and more recently in the UK and Europe. He is a lead author for the IPCC AR5 and the IPCC SREX Report and serves on the International Scientific Steering Committee of the IRDR as well as LOICZ. His recent publications include: Adaptation to Climate Change: from resilience to transformation (Routledge, 2010) and The Vulnerability of Cities: social resilience and natural disaster (Earthscan, 2003). He has consulted on adaptation and disaster risk reduction issues for several agencies including the UK Environment Agency, DFID, UNDP and UN-HABITAT.
Sálvano BRICEÑO – Executive Committee Member
UNISDR (retired), Venezuela – Management of environmental and sustainable development
Sálvano Briceño was appointed the Director of the Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) in June 2001. Prior to joining UN/ISDR, Mr. Briceño was the Coordinator of the BIOTRADE and GHG Emissions Trading Initiatives of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Geneva (1999-2001). Further UN experience includes five years with UNEP’s Caribbean Environment Programme at Kingston, Jamaica, where he collaborated closely with the Pan-Caribbean Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Programme (1987-1991). Mr. Briceño received a Doctorate in Administrative Law from the University of Paris II (Panthéon-Sorbonne) in 1975 and a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard University in 1984. A Venezuelan national, his languages are Spanish, French and English.
University of Science and Technology Houari Boumediene, Bab Ezzouar, Algeria – Seismic hazards
Djillali Benouar is a professor in Earthquake Engineering at the University of Science and Technology Houari Boumediene, and is Director of the Built Environment Research Lab. He has a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Algiers, a master’s in Earthquake Engineering at Stanford, a Ph.D. degree in Engineering Seismology at Imperial College, and his post-doc was at the Institute of Industrial Science, University of Tokyo. He is an associate member of the Third World Academy of Science and is Senior Associate to the International Centre for Theoretical Physics. He is also a consultant for the World Bank, UNESCO, IIED, UN/ISDR, and ALECSO (Arab League). In 2005 he received the UNESCO-GADR award for Disaster Risk Reduction.
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.”
Ann Bostrom holds a Ph.D. in public policy analysis from Carnegie Mellon University, an MBA from Western Washington University, and a BA in English from the University of Washington. She is currently a member of the Policy Council of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, and is a member of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making, Society and Risk Analysis, and American Association for the Advancement of Science. Bostrom is the recipient of several fellowships, including the American Statistical Association/ National Science Foundation/Bureau of Labor Statistics Research Associateship (1991-92), Fulbright Graduate Research Fellowship and Lois Roth Endowment Fund grant for studies at the University of Stockholm (1989-90), and Patricia Roberts Harris Fellowship at Carnegie Mellon (1988-89). She is also the recipient of the 1997 Chauncey Starr award for a young risk analyst from the Society for Risk Analysis for her work on mental models of hazardous processes.
World Meteorological Organization – Hydrology, flood forecasting, early warning system design, emergency response, climate-proofing infrastructure and disaster risk reduction engineering.
Fakhruddin is a hydrologist by training, and have 13 years working experiences in water engineering, climate and disaster risk management. His key areas of expertise are hydrological modeling, early warning system, climate-proofing infrastructure and disaster risk reduction engineering. Mr. Fakhruddin graduated in civil engineering and have a master in water engineering and management. He received a PGD in Water Resources Management from the United Nations University, Canada and ongoing PhD in Water Engineering. Mr. Fakhruddin is working as a System Developer, CIFDP of World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and Infrastructure Risk Specialist for USAID ADAPT Asia-Pacific. He is a certified Instructor of ICS from United States Forest Service (USFS). Mr. Fakhruddin worked in DRR and CCA risk projects in more than 15 countries ( i.e. Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Fiji, India, Iran, Indonesia, Myanmar, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Seychelles, Samoa, Thailand, USA, Vietnam, etc) to support national hydro-meteorological and disaster management agencies.
Virginia JIMÉNEZ DÍAZ
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, at Universidad Simon Bolivar and researcher of the Research Center for Integrated Risk Management (CIGIR).
University of Florida, USA – Anthropological research relating to disasters
Anthony Oliver-Smith is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Florida. He is also affiliated with the Center for Latin American Studies and the School of Natural Resources and Environment at that institution. In 2005-2009 he held the Munich Re Foundation Chair on Social Vulnerability at the United Nations University Institute on Environment and Human Security in Bonn, Germany. He is currently a member of the Scientific Committee on Integrated Research on Disaster Risk of the International Council for Science. He has done anthropological research and consultation on issues relating to disasters and involuntary resettlement in Peru, Honduras, India, Brazil, Jamaica, Mexico, Japan, and the United States.
Sisi Zlatanova is an associate professor and leader of the theme group on “Geo-information for Crisis Management” at GIS technology section, OTB Research Institute for the Built Environment, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands. She has a master degree in Surveying, Photogrammetry and Geodesy from the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy, Sofia, Bulgaria and a Ph.D. degree in Technical Sciences from the Graz University of Technology, Austria. Her research interests are devoted to applying 3D Geo-information technology in Emergency response. She chairs the ISPRS IV/8 WG on 3D spatial data integration for disaster management and environmental monitoring (2004-2012). In 2005 she has initiated the Gi4DM conference, which is being organised on an annual basis since then.
Peng Cui is the vice-director of Institute of Mountain Hazards. His research interests involve Natural Disasters (debris flow and landslide), erosion and sediment yield, fluvial geomorphology. Peng Cui has taken charge of more than 20 national and international cooperation projects, including State Key Fundamental Research Program (973). The projects in research includes: (1) State Key Fundamental Research Program (973):Generation Mechanism and Risk Control for Geohazards in Wenchuan Earthquake Area;(2) State key project: Geohazard Mitigation in Hydropower Construction Area in Southwestern China;(3) International cooperation project:Soft rock slope reinforcement with rock bolts and fibre optic monitoring system in western China;(4) National Natural Science Foundation:Debris flow forecast model for single debris flow gully; (5) Knowledge Innovation Project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences:Key techniques of interactional mechanism between debris flow and environment and sediment control in Hydropower Construction Area.
John Handmer leads RMIT’s Centre for Risk and Community Safety and its Human Security Program. He is also Convener of the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Network for Emergency Management, and Principle Scientific Advisor for the Bushfire CRC. He holds adjunct professorial positions at ANU and the Flood Hazard Research Centre in London. He works on the social and economic aspects of emergency management and disasters. John Handmer’s research areas include public policy issues in risk and community safety; emergency planning and management; community resilience; the interface of spatial information science and risk and safety management; and Sustainable development.
UNISDR 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.
Virginia Murray was appointed as Head of Extreme Events and Health Protection, Public Health England, on 1 January 2011. With the Extreme Events team, she is developing evidence base information and advice on flooding, heat, cold, volcanic ash, and other extreme weather and natural hazards events. Appointed as Visiting Professor in Health Protection, MRC-HPA Centre for Environment and Health, Imperial College and King’s College, London (2004), she has published widely. She is vice-chair of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) Scientific and Technical Group and is one of the members of the UNISDR Advisory Group for the Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
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.
Huadong GUO, Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (RADI), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)
Feng Min KAN, UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR)
Vivi STAVROU, International Social Science Council (ISSC)
Lucilla SPINI, International Council for Science (ICSU)
The execution of IRDR programme promotion, coordination and related functions is undertaken by the IRDR International Programme Office (IPO). The IPO is located in Beijing, China and is hosted by the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (RADI) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
William Paton – Executive Director ad interim
William (‘Bill’) Paton PhD has stepped in to lead IRDR for a six-month transition period from December 2015 to May 2016. During this time, a new ED will be recruited. Bill has 30 years’ experience working for and leading international organizations, much of it in developing countries. He served with the United Nations for nearly two decades, including three times as in-country leader of the UN system – in Congo, Tajikistan and Somalia, and as Director of Country Programmes at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. He has a PhD in Development Economics from the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague and he speaks French, Portuguese, Russian and Chinese.
Tel.: +86 10 8217 8905
Lucy (Kuanju) Lu has a Master’s in Economics of Education from University College London, UK. Before joining IRDR, Lucy was Scheme Leader for a UK government education exchange scheme, based in London. She has done research on international development (focusing on economic perspectives, evaluation methods and economic appraisal), and has worked in international organizations, government and NGOs.
Lucy will be a primary contact for members of the Scientific Committee and other members of the network.
Tel.: +86 10 8217 8913
Lang Lang – Administrative Officer
Lang joined the IRDR IPO as the Administrative Officer in June 2010 and supports the IRDR Programme by handling a broad spectrum of administrative and secretarial tasks, including creating, maintaining, and archiving reports and other office documents; making the necessary arrangements for travels, meetings, conferences, and other events; and acting as liaison with the accounting and administrative departments of the IPO’s host, RADI.
Tel.: +86 10 8217 8917
Jiqiang Wang – Office Assistant
Jiqiang is a graduate from Heilongjiang University with a degree in Chinese Language and Literature. Jiqiang previously worked as an Administrative Assistant for large infrastructure projects (railway sector) in China. He has also lived and worked in Nampula, Mozambique on the rehabilitation of a railway line. As the Office Assistant in IRDR, Jiqiang provides overall administrative and logistical support to the IPO.
Tel.: +86 10 8217 8913
Xianlin Jin – Communications Officer
Xianlin graduated from Arizona State University with a Master’s Degree in Communication Studies. She has done research on and worked in health communications, as well as in journalism. She has experience in media organizations, nonprofits and government alike. Before joining IRDR, Xianlin worked for Arizona Department of Health Services on the Arizona Chinese community health project. Xianlin supports the implementation of our communications strategy.
Tel.: +86 10 8217 8917
To meet its research objectives the IRDR established four core projects, comprising working groups of experts from diverse disciplines, to formulate new methods in addressing the shortcomings of current disaster risk research.
Assessment of Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (AIRDR)
The Assessment of Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (AIRDR) project will undertake the first systematic and critical global assessment of integrated research on disaster risk. The enormity and complexity of disaster risk requires knowledge from the natural, social and health sciences, and engineering operating in an integrative fashion, not as separate disciplines examining one aspect of the problem. Such a synthesis of perspectives is not easy, but is vital in producing the new understanding of disasters and their impacts and in achieving the objectives of IRDR.
Disaster Loss Data (DATA)
The Disaster Loss Data (DATA) project will study issues related to the collection, storage, and dissemination of disaster loss data. Recognising the need for standards or protocols to reduce uncertainty in disaster loss data, the working group intends to establish an overall framework for disaster loss data for all providers, to establish nodes and networks for databases, and to conduct sensitivity testing among databases to ensure some level of comparability.
Forensic Investigations of Disasters (FORIN)
The Forensic Investigations of Disasters (FORIN) project will develop, disseminate and implement a radical new approach in disaster research that seeks to identify and explain the underlying causes of disasters, including the growth in magnitude and frequency of very large disaster events. It is intended that this research paradigm will lead to greater in-depth understanding and more enlightened and effective disaster risk reduction practices and policies.
Risk Interpretation and Action (RIA)
The Risk Interpretation and Action (RIA) project will focus on the question of how people — both decision-makers and ordinary citizens — make decisions, individually and collectively, in the face of risk. Decision-making under conditions of uncertainty is inadequately described by traditional models of ’rational choice’. Instead, attention needs to be paid to how people’s interpretations of risks are shaped by their own experiences, personal feelings and values, cultural beliefs and interpersonal and societal dynamics.
IRDR National Committees (NCs) and Regional Committees (RCs) support and supplement IRDR’s research initiatives, and help to establish or further develop crucial links between national disaster risk reduction programmes and activities within an international framework. NCs and RCs will help foster the much-needed interdisciplinary approach to disaster risk reduction within national scientific and policy-making communities, and can serve as important national focal points between disciplinary scientific unions and associations.
IRDR International Centres of Excellence (ICoEs), established through the IRDR Scientific Committee (SC) and the relevant National Committee (NC), will provide regional and research foci for the IRDR programme. ICoE research programmes will embody an integrated approach to disaster risk reduction that directly contributes to the ICSU/IRDR Science Plan for Integrated Research on Disaster Risk and its objectives, as well as the IRDR Strategic Plan (2013-2017).