Executive Summary

The VIth International Conference of the International Society for Integrated Disaster Risk Management (IDRIM) was co-hosted by the Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC, India) and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA, Austria) at the SCOPE Complex, New Delhi during October 28-30, 2015. More than 300 participants, researchers, academics, development practitioners, and government officers from over 20 countries enthusiastically participated in plenaries, key note addresses and parallel sessions on topics ranging from early warning and forecasting systemsto the involvement of schools and key stakeholders in disaster risk reduction. The conference broadly covered six major themes.

The sessions under the theme Natural Hazards and Technological Hazards: Forecasting and Early Warning Systemsfocussed on the preventive measures which could be implemented by forecasting and early warning for these hazards. The presentations mainly covered relevant information under following domains:hydrology of dams and its imperatives to dam risks and management; case study of 2013 Kedarnath Floods; Flood risk assessment, forecasting, management especially with focus on urban flooding; Impact of natural hazards on large industrial production systems.

Under the theme Disaster Preparedness: Anticipating and minimizing impacts,various issues related to frequency and unpredictability of hazards, institution participation, skill building and early action in preparedness were discussed. Technology based solutions to predict, communicate and forewarn disaster risks were shared by the eminent speakers. The theme also dwelled on the gaps, strengths and opportunities to build risk resilient communities by understanding risks and preparing for the same through effective action using an aggregate of traditional and scientific knowledge and diverse skill sets.

The theme on Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction was devoted to understanding needs, challenges and opportunities for risk reduction in every spectrum of development. Natech hazards and conflict situations have compounding and incalculable impact from disaster risk reduction perspective. The conference brought out the special topics on child centred DRR and climate change adaptation through environmental education, issues related to socially marginalized communities, achieving DRR through training, education, and capacity building etc. The conference also suggested outcomes for betterinterconnection between development, humanitarian action and recovery across all phases of disaster management.

The conference theme onGrowth, Environment and Disaster explored the relationship between development and environment and its impact on disaster,exposure and threats caused by natural calamities to the human livesand socio-economic systems. Some presentations laid emphasis onthe vulnerable sections of the society i.e. women and children, capacity building programs, measure for economicdevelopment andsustainable development, planning and development of disasterresilient cities and creation of eco-sensitive zones (ESZs) aroundprotected areas to prevent ecological damage caused due todevelopmental activities etc.

The sessions onEducation and communication strategybrought an understanding on the critical role of data generation and management, reproductive health care – issues & challenges in emergencies, regional frameworks for disaster management, strategies and practices of community in promoting knowledge etc. The conference discussed some of the important case studies on adolescent reproductive health during disaster, augmentation of public-private partnership in disaster situations, improving the Yonmenkaigi System Method (YSM) for a collaborative communication forum, role of community to maintain and increase the disaster control capability, participatory methods for disaster recovery in a slum community

The sessions under the theme Post disaster recovery and management looked into various aspects and challenges in disaster recovery, planning and action through positive development action considering the complexities of development deficits, damages and standards for resilience. The key highlights discussed the role of volunteers in long-term disaster recovery, urban planning and land use decisions for reduction of critical vulnerabilities related to disasters, humanitarian cooperation and logistics, post-disaster needs assessment and need based rehabilitation measures

Brazil, Russia, Indian, China and South Africa have formed a cooperative framework and are trying to find solutions to socio-economic challenges these countries are facing. The BRICS countries also trying to find collective solutions to disaster management and climate change. The conference also gave the participants an opportunity to participate in a special BRICS session. The BRICS Session covered topics related to Understanding Disaster Risks; Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk; Climate Change and Natural Disaster policies; Investing in Disaster risk reduction for resilience; Community-based early warning systems; and BRICS’ Work Plan 2015-2018 in the context of Sendai Framework 2015-2030.

The conference included another special session on Nepal earthquake which was was arguably one of the most devastating disasters this region has faced in April 2015. The Nepal session captured issues and challenges related to rehabilitation efforts using different perspectives. The topics broadly covered an overview of the Nepal Earthquake, role of ICTs in building response communities and assessing damage, the impact on small farmers and opportunities for rebuilding livelihoods, resilience in the urban environment (Kathmandu), efforst on rebuilding institutions, the challenge of governance, partnerships etc.

During the concluding session, the panellists discussed and suggested various future collaborative directions. This included more interdisciplinary action to overcome a huge gap between academics and non academics. The panellists discussed on the need to develop a very special tool kits by groups ofexperts involving politicians, social scientists, researchers, technocrats etc to address and mitigate the common risks. Community participatory processes beyond normative approaches, regular monitoring mechanism, team coordination, population growth and rural to urban migration were some of the key highlights of the discussions. Communication and education through children also play a vital role for this process to internalize the disaster prevention. The discussions also emphasized on the need to incorporate disaster risk management (DRM) in broader contextfor development of the society.

The recommendation from the conference included the development of technology showcase document to include following:
1. Technologyshowcase for Disaster forecasting / management • Different technology platforms have been developed for assessing and generating information. These technologies and the range of application of each including potential application of technology in forecasting and management should need to be identified. • Development of an integrated platform, which could synthesize information in an integrated manner from the technology forums 2. Technologyor information sharing for guiding response There is a need to develop a centre to integrate the information from the different technology platforms to generate risk profiles, to guide response and resource allocation of (a) first responders; and (b) DRR 3. Cross-sections of society impacted by an event and quantification of risk A study of influence of demographics on the disaster impact 4. Scenarios and identification of vulnerability • Development of scenarios for projected threats • Identification of vulnerabilities in infrastructure and social groups

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