The Centre for Disaster Resilience’s (CDR) research is leading to a reduction in the vulnerability of communities world-wide to the threat posed by hazards of natural and human origin leading to;
• Better-informed and more socially inclusive public policy-making and implementation in the development of a disaster resilient built environment;
• Shaping a global United Nations campaign;
• Contributing exponentially to the development of resources to enhance professional practice in the humanitarian sector, including post-disaster reconstruction programmes in Sri Lanka, and;
• Leading the development of new partnerships in Europe and Southern Asia.
Professor Dilanthi Amaratunga, Head of the CDR, Professor Richard Haigh, Dr Udayangani Kulatunga, Dr Chaminda Pathirage, and David Baldry have developed a range of research projects leading to the implementation of policies to reduce the vulnerability of communities to hazards of natural and human origin and supporting the development of a more resilient built environment.
Socially inclusive disaster risk reduction
CDR research has contributed to the implementation of practices that promote the socially inclusive integration of disaster risk reduction in post disaster reconstruction activity internationally:
- Research on the integration of disaster risk reduction and post disaster reconstruction has shaped policy by contributing to the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) Making Cities Resilient: 'My City is getting ready!' campaign, which addresses issues of local governance and urban risk.
- Dilanthi and Richard provided technical input to the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Manual and Guide on Enhancing Tsunami Risk Assessment and Management, Strengthening Policy Support and Developing Guidelines for Tsunami Exercises in Indian Ocean Countries (TRATE).
- CDR research has influenced professional standards and training in Sri Lanka, a country subject to several large scale disasters in recent years, including the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, and a civil war spanning three decades. Sri Lanka is implementing a highly accelerated post conflict reconstruction programme. Less than three years after the end of the civil war, a construction boom is under way driven by high levels of investment in the tourism and leisure sectors, the resettlement of shanty dwellers, large-scale housing development and unprecedented construction activity in road and water development.
- Dilanthi, Richard, Udayangani and Chaminda have improved capacity development through a series of international conferences and training workshops in Sri Lanka held in conjunction with the Chamber of Construction Industry Sri Lanka, United Nations Development Programme, the Ministry of Disaster Management, UNESCO, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the city of Batticaloa’s local government (2009–2013). The events provided guidance for council officers, construction and humanitarian professionals working on respective policy changes and plans incorporating disaster risk reduction concepts in their city development plans. CDR research informed a revision of the Sri Lankan National Policy on Local Government (Act No. 1632/26, 2009). The CDR has been nominated by the Federation of Sri Lankan Local Govt. Authorities for the UN 2013 Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction which recognises excellence in reducing disaster risk for a safer, more sustainable world under the theme Acting As One.
- Dilanthi and Richard are leading ANDROID, the Academic Network for Disaster Resilience to optimise Educational Development, c.€800,000 and funded by the European Union, an international consortium comprising partners from 64 universities across Europe, as well as three institutions from Australia, Canada and Sri Lanka. ANDROID will promote co-operation and innovation in European higher education institutions to increase society’s resilience to disasters of human and natural origin, such as earthquakes or wars.
- CDR is currently also engaged in CEREBELLA Community Engagement for Risk Erosion in Bangladesh to Enhance LifeLong Advantage, funded by the British Council. The goal of this partnership between the School of the Built Environment’s CDR and Patuakhali Science and Technology University (PSTU) in Bangladesh is to share skills, knowledge and experience on climate change and disaster management. In 2013, CDR held a capacity development workshop in conjunction with PSTU, the University of Dhaka, the British Council, and the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center.
a) United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) Making Cities Resilient: 'My City is getting ready!'