Last updated:
13 March, 2015

Strategy Asia 2020 

Knowledge Development and Capacity Building: A Holistic Approach

The management of disasters is changing as existing relevant institutions and policies come under criticism and calls for better preparation. The nature of cities is also changing. They are bigger with growing demands from expanding and diversifying populations. Disaster-risk management involves more than one player or agency; and a common understanding of risks is important among them. Increased education, information, networking and research that presents a range of approaches to deal with the risks is needed.

a. "How-to" resource books that translate increased awareness into action

Advances have emerged in the fields of hazard forecasting, risk assessment, mitigation planning and implementation and community-based disaster-risk management over the past two decades. However, most of the currently available resource documents on disaster-risk management are out of date and do not represent current development issues and trends. Asia, in particular, lacks well-resourced comprehensive reference documents that could be used by professionals and practitioners for understanding disasters in their own contexts.

Strategy: To develop a Primer on Disaster-Risk Management for Asia that would serve as a comprehensive, practical and updated resource on disaster-risk management. The overall goal is to assure an appreciation for and common understanding of disaster-risk management applied across all sectors and among all levels of current and potential participants in the disaster-risk reduction process.

Following extensive consultations with stakeholders of disaster management in a range of forums, it was agreed that the Primer would be a series of different volumes. Volume I will provide the rationale and theoretical context of a holistic approach to disaster-risk management. The other volumes will focus be hazard-specific and include "how-to" guides, effective strategies, policy options, proven tools, good practices and lessons learned.

Target: Strategy Asia 2020 will deliver five volumes of the Primer on the management of slow onset flood, rapid onset flood (coastal flood, storm surge and typhoon), seismic hazards, drought and mass movements (landslide).

b. Research on disaster-risk reduction

There is much research on cities and disasters but little communication between the scholars and professionals studying them. Disaster-risk management is a critical urban issue but it competes for attention with other problems (e.g. new urban in-migrants, decaying infrastructure, poor housing, pollution, street crime, ethnic and racial tensions). And yet, those problems are what make communities more vulnerable to disasters. For example, the recent flood and landslide disaster in central Sri Lanka exacerbated the problems of poor migrants from rural areas in obtaining affordable housing.

Strategy: To partner with networks of universities to facilitate research of different hazards and in different contexts and to provide guidance in pilot project implementation to young professionals at the graduate level in a range of fields including environment, planning and construction in disaster prone areas.

Target: Strategy Asia 2020 will form three networks of research groups and universities in conducting research and sharing findings in the different fields of urban disaster-risk management.

c. Asian Conference on Disaster-Risk Management

Disaster-risk reduction is an integral part of sustainable development, is multi-sector and inter-disciplinary in nature. As natural and built environments are constantly changing, the threats posed by hazards also changes. Disaster management laws, institutions, plans and programs must anticipate changes and adapt to new knowledge and conditions. Thus, it is important for stakeholders in the region to meet regularly to share updates on scientific findings, as well as practical approaches.

Strategy: To organize an annual multi-stakeholder conference in Asia, involving policy and decision makers in international and regional agencies, national governments, donors, bilateral and multilateral institutions, the scientific community, NGOs and private sector organizations. ADPC conducted its first multi-stakeholder conference in September 2002 in Bali, Indonesia. The conference was co-organized by Citynet, Institute of Technology Bandung, UNDP's The Urban Governance Initiative and UN's International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, with funding support from USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance.

Target: Strategy Asia 2020 will facilitate disaster-risk management conference every two years.

d. Build capacities to reduce risks

The concept of capacity building is to provide a target group with skills, resources and technical abilities to enable it to better help itself. There is a greater need for the training of professionals in risk reduction, as both the public and political authorities recognize that effective risk-management strategies require many different skills. But it is also important to target the new generation of young graduates and professionals who will one day plan and manage cities.

At ADPC, a range of regional and national courses for Asia have been designed and conducted to include both target groups. The courses focus on hazard awareness and specific components of disaster-risk and sector management - all of which emphasize a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding risk.


Earthquake Vulnerability for Cities
Flood-Risk Management
Technological Risk
Urban Fire-Risk Management

Disaster-risk Management Courses

Climate Forecasting and Applications
Community-Based Disaster-Risk Management
Disaster-Risk Communication
Disaster-Risk Management
Urban Disaster Mitigation


Land-Use Planning and Risk Management
Public Health in Complex Emergencies
Hospital Preparedness for Emergencies
Medical First Responders
Training for Instructors

Strategy: To build capacity of mid-level professionals from government and non-government organizations by working in partnership with appropriate in-country training institutes and universities. Through a "training of trainers" approach, ADPC will work with selected training institutes and universities to adapt the appropriate regional course curriculum to suit national and institutional needs and conduct the course in the local language on a regular basis. Resources such as the Primer and research conducted will be valuable contributions to updated and advanced course curriculum.

Target: Strategy Asia 2020 will institutionalize appropriate training in 10 countries in Asia.

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Urban Disaster Risk Management Team
Asian Disaster Preparedness Center
P.O.Box 4, Klong Luang, Pathumthani 12120, Thailand.
Tel: (66-2) 516-5900-10; Fax: (66-2) 524-5360; Email: