The Hyogo Framework for Action (2000-2015) aimed at building the resilience of nations and communities to disasters. However, efforts were not sufficient and integration among all DRR actors was missing. “Pure” Scientific knowledge continued to be seen as a possibility to “prevent disasters”, although in a real sense and in only some countries is used for understanding natural hazards. The international agenda identified the need to address DRR under a new framework, which could also lead to interlinkages with the Sustainable Development Goals and Climate Change. Therefore, a longer period of time framework was established in order to convince the world society of the urgent challenge that involves: “(1) The substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries; and (2) To Prevent new and reduce existing disaster risk through the implementation of integrated and inclusive economic, structural, legal, social, health, cultural, educational, environmental, technological, political and institutional measures that prevent and reduce hazard exposure and vulnerability to disaster, increase preparedness for response and recovery, and thus strengthen resilience.
Within this context, the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction WCDRR 2015 was held from 14 to 18 March in Sendai, Japan.
On a special session devoted to the Role of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Disaster Risk Reduction, a presentation on the “Identification of existing advances and linkages of the scientific and academic community initiatives with Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in Latin-America and the Caribbean (LAC)” was jointly prepared by I. Alcántara-Ayala and B. Carby, and presented by B. Carby. It was well received by the audience. In the discussions which followed the panel the idea of a network of universities was mooted, and an initial meeting was convened at which the idea was further discussed. A decision was taken to try to build the network across Africa, Asia, LAC and the Pacific regions. Peri Peri University will coordinate efforts in this regard.
A presentation on the advances of the version 2.0 of Forensic Investigations of Disasters (FORIN) was presented by A. Oliver-Smith and I. Alcántara-Ayala during the IRDR session. A lot of interest by colleagues from different parts of the world was developed and networking on the need of understanding root causes of disasters and the FORIN perspective was enhanced.
One of the highlights of the conference was the announcement that committee member Allan Lavell had been awarded the Sasakawa Prize for DRR for 2015. We congratulate Allan on this well-deserved award.