2013 International Conference on Building Resilience

Individual, institutional and societal coping strategies to address the challenges associated with disaster risk

Heritance Ahungalla, near the Southern city of Galle, Sri Lanka, was the setting for the third international conference on the development of societal resilience to disasters.
The conference welcomed 142 delegates, including 87 academics, practitioners, professionals and policy makers, and 55 technical officers from the Southern Provincial Council.
The conference programme featured five keynote addresses by distinguished practitioners and academics:

  • Professor Martin Hall, Vice Chancellor, University of Salford, UK
  • Vinod Thomas, Director General of Independent Evaluation, Asian Development Bank
  • Professor Sarath Abayakoon, Former Vice Chancellor, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
  • Dan Lewis, Chief of Urban Risk Reduction, UN-Habitat, Kenya
  • Dr Samantha Hettierachichi, Professor of Civil Engineering, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka and Chairman, Working Group on Risk Assessment, UNESCO/IOC/ICG/IOTWS;and
  • N.M.S.I. Arambepola, Deputy Executive Director, Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC), Bangkok, Thailand.

These keynote addresses provided a local and global perspective and vision for disaster resilience research and practice. The conference included the publication and presentation of 87 research articles and practice notes that had been subject to double blind peer review by a distinguished international scientific committee. All accepted papers were published in the conference proceedings.

National Launch Of The United Nations Global Assessment Report 2013

One of the very important contributions of the conference was the national launch of the latest in the series of bi-annual Global Assessment Reports (GAR).

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, in its third and the latest edition, emphasises the importance of the business case for disaster risk reduction. A panel discussion at the Conference provided an opportunity to contextualise the GAR theme within a Sri Lankan context. Dr Bingu Ingirige from the University of Salford, chaired this session.

The conference was organised by the Centre for Disaster Resilience (CDR) at the University of Salford, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University, Australia and Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia , in conjunction with local hosts the University of Colombo, the University of Moratuwa, and the University of Peradeniya.