International Conference on Building Resilience

Friday 20 September 2013

The International Conference on Building Resilience: Individual, institutional and societal coping strategies to address the challenges associated with disaster risk, takes place in Heritance Ahungalla, Sri Lanka, 17th - 19th September 2013.

Communities around the world are faced with the threat of disasters on a daily basis. National governments, local government associations, international, regional and civil society organisations, donors, the private sector, academia and professional associations as well as every citizen needs to be engaged in reducing their risk to disasters. All these stakeholders must play their part in contributing to building disaster resilient communities.

The 2013 International Conference on Building Resilience will encourage debate on individual, institutional and societal coping strategies to address the challenges associated with disaster risk. As a country subject to several large-scale disasters in recent years, including the 2004 Tsunami and a civil war spanning several decades, Sri Lanka provides an ideal setting to explore the challenge of creating resilient communities and cities.

This event will build upon the successful 2011 International Conference on Building Resilience, which was held in Dambulla, Sri Lanka. The 2011 conference was held in association with the launch of the UNISDR Making Cities Resilient: 'My City is getting ready!' campaign (, which addresses issues of local governance and urban risk. This 2013 Conference will support the campaign focus areas up to 2015, including city-to-city learning and capacity building, and an emphasis on partnerships.

The conference is being organised by: the Centre for Disaster Resilience, University of Salford, UK; Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University, Australia; and, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia. The event is being held in association with: UNDP Sri Lanka: UNISDR, ADPC; RICS; the Disaster Management Center, Ministry of Disaster Management; the British High Commission, Colombo; and, the ANDROID disaster resilience network. The local organisers and hosts are: University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka; Eastern University, Sri Lanka and, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The programme includes keynotes speeches by: Professor Martin Hall, Vice Chancellor at the University of Salford; Professor Samantha Hettiarachchi, University of Moratuwa and Chairman of the Working Group on Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System (IOTWS) established by UNESCO/IOC; Dan Lewis, Chief of Urban Risk Reduction, UN-Habitat, Kenya; and, Professor Sarath Abayakoon, Former Vice Chancellor at the University of Peradeniya.

The programme also includes a Special Session on the Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction – the UN flagship publication on global disaster risk and disaster risk management. The third edition of this biennial publication, titled From Shared Risk to Shared Value: the Business Case for Disaster Risk Reduction highlights how the transformation of the global economy over the last forty years has led rapid increases in disaster risk in low, medium and high income countries, affecting businesses and societies.

The programme also includes scientific papers and practice notes by leading academics and practitioners, both local and international. All research papers have been subject to double blind peer review by a distinguished international scientific committee. All papers that have been accepted for the conference will be published in an ISBN Book of Abstracts and an ISBN set of proceedings. Selected papers will be published in a special issue of the International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment.

Please visit the conference web site for more information: