International focus for disaster research centre

Bound for Geneva

Joint Centre for Disaster Research Centre staff from left, Tom Huggins, Dr Christine Kenney, Professor David Johnston and Associate Professor Sarb Johal

Four emergency management specialists from Massey’s Joint Centre for Disaster Research at the Wellington campus are bound for Geneva this week for a United Nations forum addressing strategies to reduce natural disaster risk.

Centre director Professor David Johnston, Associate Professor Sarb Johal, Dr Christine Kenney and research officer Tom Huggins will be in Switzerland to attend The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction as part of a sub delegation from New Zealand.

Established in 2007, the Global Platform is managed by the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction and is the world’s most significant gathering of stakeholders addressing ways to reduce disaster risk and build community resilience.

The forum coincides with confirmation that Wellington has been named one of 10 partner cities for the UN’s City Resilience Profiling Programme. The cities, which also include Barcelona, Beirut, and Tehran, were selected based on a commitment to actively reduce potential loss of lives and assets, protecting development gains and ensuring continuity of public and private services in the event of a disaster.

Combined with the city’s commitment to a Wellington Region Emergency Management Office community resilience strategy that involves engagement with universities, research institutes and business, Dr Johnston says the initiatives are further evidence of the cross-disciplinary plans being made to protect Wellington should disaster strike.

“We want Wellington to become an international centre of excellence for building communities of resilience for future disasters,” Dr Johnston says.

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