Technical Sessions

The 6th WCDM will provide a platform for interested scientific, technical, research, and academic institutions to organize Special Technical Sessions of 2-3 hours each on specific issues related to the theme of the conference. These sessions would run parallel to other Technical Sessions. The organisers will be given liberty to decide the structure and format of the session, invite speakers /panelists and conduct the sessions.

The five key themes for technical sessions of the 6th WCDM are:

Innovations in disaster risk reduction and resilience

The Sendai Framework was adopted in March 2015 and sets out an agenda for the period 2015-2030, with four priorities for action and seven targets. The goal is 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 & recovery, and thus strengthen resilience. The four priorities of the Sendai Framework are:
  • Understanding disaster risk
  • Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk
  • Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience
  • Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and building back better in recovery, rehabilitation, and reconstruction

The Sendai Framework targets substantial reductions in global disaster mortality, the number of affected people, economic loss (in relation to GDP) and damage to critical infrastructure/disruption of basic services, and substantial increase in the number of countries with disaster reduction strategies, international cooperation and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and information systems. With its guiding principles aligned with the SDGs, there is a lot of opportunity to bring about transformative change for sustainable development, by achieving the targets set out in the Sendai Framework.

The 6th WCDM Technical Session Theme of “Innovations in Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience” calls for papers that focus broadly on ‘Learning from Disasters’ and address one of the session topics listed below, without being limited to them:

  1. Strengthening DRR and resilient systems
  2. Resilient social infrastructure, reaching the last mile
  3. Resilient economic infrastructure
  4. Resilient environmental infrastructure
  5. Resilient financial systems
  6. Risk assessment
  7. Recovery and reconstruction
  8. People-centric development
  9. Disaster response systems, grassroots approaches
  10. Social protection - informal economy, women, and the marginalized
  11. Community action including informal networks
  12. Sustainable natural resources management

This 6th WCDM Technical Session theme of "Innovations in Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience" will include papers related to disaster risk reduction that align with SDG-13 or one or more of the other 16 SDGs and contribute to the Sendai Framework outcome of “substantially reducing disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities, and countries.

Mountain specific hazards and their management

By virtue of their similar geo-tectonic evolutionary history and comparable meteorological conditions, most mountainous regions around the globe are highly vulnerable to a number of hazards. Lessons learnt in managing these hazards in one mountainous region can thus be highly beneficial to other mountainous regions.

The 6th WCDM is being hosted in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. The north-western Himalayas, including Uttarakhand, are especially vulnerable to disasters accelerated by the rapid rate of urbanization.

On a positive note, the state of Uttarakhand has the privilege of housing some of the premier institutions working on Disaster Risk Reduction and Mitigation (DRRM) including the Centre of Excellence in Disaster Mitigation and Management (CoEDMM) at IIT Roorkee, Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS), Forest Research Institute (FRI) and Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG).

Uttarakhand State Disaster Management Authority (USDMA) is the apex body in the field of Disaster Mitigation and Management in the state. Leveraging the Uttarakhand experiences and lessons learnt from other Mountain ecosystems and communities, the 6th WCDM Technical Session Theme of “Mountain Specific Hazards and their Management” will focus on the three Ms - Mitigating disasters, Managing risks in fragile ecosystems, and Managing human-engineered conflicts (3M). Papers are invited that address one of the session topics listed below, without being limited to them:

  1. Resilient infrastructure in the Himalayan ecosystem
  2. Enhancing resilience and preparedness of mountain communities
  3. Protecting mountain biodiversity and ecosystem services
  4. Floods and flash floods in mountains
  5. Seismic risks, earthquakes and mountain environment
  6. Avalanche, snowstorms, blizzards and rockfall readinessGlacial retreat and glacier lake outburst
  7. Emergency preparedness and response in mountain landscapes
  8. Community based disaster management and indigenous knowledge
  9. Landslide and Land subsidence

The 3M approach includes people-ecology dynamics with the need to build the resilience of mountain ecosystems & communities through DRRM measures, so that the general direction is towards inclusive sustainable development including both climate adaptation and mitigation efforts.

Challenges in tackling DRR issues

With due recognition to the imminent dangers posed by climate change, there is allaround agreement that accelerated climate action is needed and that everyone including governments, businesses and citizens have their roles to play. The IPCC Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) recognizes that support is needed for regions and people with the highest vulnerability to climate hazards and that integrating climate adaptation into social programs improves resilience.

The 6th WCDM Technical Session Theme of “Challenges in Tackling DRR Issues” recognises the implications of global climate change while focusing attention on local solutions that invest in building resilience in the light of SDG-13: Climate Action. Papers are invited that address one of the session topics listed below, without being limited to them:

  1. Equity and inclusiveness, women-centric, people-oriented DRRM planning
  2. Climate adaptation for resilience
  3. Vulnerability to climate hazards
  4. Multi-hazard early warning cooperation
  5. Forecasting and early warning coverage & systems
  6. Spatial technologies for DRM
  7. India’s G20 leadership – WG-DRR: Lessons on the way forward
  8. Roads, railway, and bridges risk assessment and mitigation
  9. Resilient aviation in a changing climate
  10. Decarbonization and disaster-risk-reduction equation
  11. Finance and/or technology challenges in DRR
  12. Governance and policy issues in DRR

The 6th WCDM recognizes that transformative change contributing to the strengthening of resilience can only emerge by enabling coherence and mutual reinforcement of DRR and SDG objectives focused on accelerated climate action. This theme builds on these systemic interlinkages with a view to identifying challenges and defining concerted and coordinated approaches to disaster risk reduction that will help achieve all-around targets set out by the SFDRR and the SDGs.

Multidisciplinary research and best practices

The 6th WCDM Technical Session Theme of “Multidisciplinary Research and Best Practices” is aligned with the objectives of India’s G20 WG-DRR with the aim of contributing to its repository of collective work, multi-disciplinary research and best practices on DRR.

Examples of research could include the development of digital risk databases to enable decision-making for early warning systems (EWS) and mitigation on the ground, technological innovations for EWS, etc. Best practices could include standards, certifications, building codes and regulations, etc. Case studies that use data and narratives, and take a multidisciplinary approach and help strengthen existing DRR strategies are encouraged. The broad topics for sessions under this theme are:

  1. Standards and Certification
  2. Innovation and Emerging technologies including EWS
  3. Methodologies and Frameworks for DRRM, Digital risk database (EWS)
  4. Case studies / Best Practices – Legal and Policy
  5. Case studies / Best Practices – Financing DRR
  6. Case studies / Best practices – Nature-based solutions
  7. Case studies / Best Practices – Cities, settlements, infrastructure
  8. Case studies / Best Practices – Technology, finance, capacity building

Case studies could be from different countries and communities, or they could compare the different approaches in two or more regions, highlight innovative practices and action research approaches. The 6th WCDM recognizes the value of this session to the policy and practice of DRRM.

Traditional risk reduction practices and voices from the grassroots

The Technical Session Theme of “Traditional Risk Reduction Practices and Voices from the Grassroots” will aim to showcase “thinking globally but acting locally.” The Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015 call for a global partnership of Developed and Developing countries toward peace and prosperity for all on the planet. The aim is to reduce deprivation and inequities, enhance access to education and health, and foster economic growth while taking action towards climate change and preserving our forests and oceans.

There is a wealth of traditional knowledge among indigenous communities, accumulated over generations through long and continuous interaction with their surroundings. With their keen observation, experimentation and vast volume of traditional knowledge, they have not only been effectively and optimally managing resources but also minimising the impact of commonly occurring natural hazards in their respective regions.

A comprehensive approach that fosters both traditional knowledge and modern scientific research could lead to effective DRR strategies. Grassroots efforts have demonstrated that actions targeting one SDG could help meet other SDG targets. Lessons from traditional practices and holistic grassroots experiences could lead to the transformational change needed to achieve the SDG targets.

The 6th WCDM Technical Session Theme of “Traditional Risk Reduction Practices and Voices from the Grassroots” will cover bottom-up approaches of “building back better," innovations through nature-based solutions, and investments in capacity building and knowledge sharing networks, with a focus on the most vulnerable communities including Small Island economies and LDCs. Technical sessions that fall under this theme (but are not limited to these) are listed below:

  1. Community-based disaster risk reduction
  2. Rebuilding in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic
  3. Disaster Risk Management in Fisheries, Aquaculture
  4. DRR development for small island economies and LDCs
  5. Human-engineered conflicts (mitigation of)
  6. Nature-based solutions for DRR
  7. Traditional disaster risk reduction practices of the people
  8. Traditional knowledge and innovations from the grassroots
  9. Scientific validation of traditional knowledge
  10. Constraints in promoting traditional practices