Building Resilience Conference Series

The 2015 event is the fifth in a series of conferences aimed at increasing societal resilience to disasters.

The 4th International Conference on Building Resilience was held in Media City UK, Salford Quays, United Kingdom from the 8th - 11th September, 2014.

The conference also incorporated the 3rd Annual Meeting of the ANDROID Disaster Resilience Network.

Visit the website for more information on this conference.

Heritance Ahungalla, near the Southern city of Galle, Sri Lanka, was the setting for the third international conference on the development of societal resilience to disasters. The conference welcomed 142 delegates, including 87 academics, practitioners, professionals and policy makers, and 55 technical officers from the Southern Provincial Council. Alongside local delegates, the conference attracted 40 leading scientists from Europe, Asia, North America and Australasia. The conference also incorporated the National Launch of the United Nations Global Assessment Report and a Capacity Building Workshop for the Sri Lankan Southern Provincial Council. This event built upon the successful 2011 event that was held in association with the launch of the United Nations Making Cities Resilient: 'My City is getting ready!' campaign, which addresses issues of local governance and urban risk. The 2013 Conference further supported the campaign focus areas up to 2015, including city-to-city learning and capacity building, and an emphasis on partnerships.

2013 ConferenceThe conference encouraged debate on individual, institutional and societal coping strategies to address the challenges associated with disaster risk. As a country subject to several large-scale disasters in recent years, including the 2004 Tsunami and a civil war spanning several decades, Sri Lanka provided an ideal setting to explore the challenge of creating resilient communities and cities.

The conference programme incorporated keynote addresses by respected government officials, leading industrialists and implementers, and distinguished local and international academics.

Mrs Marina Mohamed, Secretary at the Ministry of Disaster Management Sri Lanka, and Hemanthi Goonasekera, Chief Executive Officer of the Federation of Sri Lankan Local Government Authorities welcomed delegates and provided an important policy context for the subsequent debate, highlighting national and local priorities and action plans. They also established an expectation that the conference will serve as an impetus for further action in helping Sri Lanka to tackle the challenge of disaster risk.

The conference programme featured five keynote addresses by distinguished practitioners and academics: Professor Martin Hall, Vice Chancellor, University of Salford, UK; Vinod Thomas, Director General of Independent Evaluation, Asian Development Bank; Professor Sarath Abayakoon, Former Vice Chancellor, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka; Dan Lewis, Chief of Urban Risk Reduction, UN-Habitat, Kenya; Dr Samantha Hettierachichi, Professor of Civil Engineering, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka and Chairman, Working Group on Risk Assessment, UNESCO/IOC/ICG/IOTWS; and, N.M.S.I. Arambepola, Deputy Executive Director, Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC), Bangkok, Thailand. These keynote addresses provided a local and global perspective and vision for disaster resilience research and practice.

The conference included the publication and presentation of 87 research articles and practice notes that had been subject to double blind peer review by a distinguished international scientific committee. All accepted papers were published in the conference proceedings. Selected papers will also be published in a special issue of the International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, by Emerald Publishing.

The conference was organised by the Centre for Disaster Resilience, School of the Built Environment, University of Salford, UK, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University, Australia and Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia, in conjunction with local hosts the University of Colombo, the University of Moratuwa, and the University of Peradeniya. The conference was also held in association with the ANDROID Disaster Resilience Network, a major EU funded global network of 67 organisations across 31 countries that promotes collaboration among Higher Education Institutes to address disaster risk (www.disaster-resilience.net).

The Conference was chaired by Professors Martin Hall, Dilanthi Amaratunga and Richard Haigh, from the University of Salford, UK.

Further details on the conference can be found at the Building Resilience 2013 website.

The conference outcomes are being used to support the United Nations World Disaster Reduction campaign 'Making Cities Resilient', which addresses issues of local governance and urban risk while drawing upon previous ISDR Campaigns on safer schools and hospitals, as well as on the sustainable urbanisations principles developed in the UN-Habitat World Urban campaign 2009-2013.

Heritance Kandalama near Dambulla was again the setting for a major international conference on the development of societal resilience to natural and human induced disasters. The International Conference on Building Resilience welcomed over 65 international and 45 Sri Lankan academics, practitioners, professionals and policy makers concerned with interdisciplinary approaches to disaster risk reduction, and the development of sustainable communities and cities. The conference had a particular focus on the challenges associated with reconstruction of communities in a post-war environment.

The conference programme incorporated keynote addresses by respected government officials, leading industrialists and implementers, and distinguished local and international academics. The Chief Guest, Minister of External Affairs, Hon Professor G L Peries, and Guest of Honour, Mrs Marina 2011 ConferenceMohamed, Secretary, Ministry of Disaster Management Sri Lanka, welcomed delegates and provided an important policy context for the subsequent debate, highlighting national priorities and action plans. They also established an expectation that the conference will serve as an impetus for further action in helping Sri Lanka to tackle the challenge of disaster risk.

The conference programme featured five keynote addresses by leading industrialists and academics: Dakshitha Thalgodapitiya, CEO Chamber of Construction Industry Sri Lanka; Dr Ananda Mallawatantri, Environment, Energy and Disaster Risk Management, United Nations Development Programme, Sri Lanka; Professor Peter Barrett, Professor of Management in Property and Construction at University of Salford, UK; Professor John Fein, Professor of Sustainability in the Innovation Leadership programme of RMIT University, Australia; and, Professor Terrence Fernando, Director of the Future Workspaces Research Centre, University of Salford, UK. These keynote addresses provided a local and global perspective and vision for disaster resilience research and practice.

The conference also included the publication and presentation of 109 research articles and practice notes that had been subject to double blind peer review by a distinguished international scientific committee. All accepted papers were published in the conference proceedings. Selected papers were also published in a special issue of the International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, by Emerald Publishing.

The conference was organised by the Centre for Disaster Resilience, School of the Built Environment, University of Salford, UK and RMIT University, Australia, in association with UNDP Sri Lanka and the Disaster Management Center, Ministry of Disaster Management, the Central Environmental Authority, and the Ministry of Environment. The local organisers and hosts were Chamber of Construction Industry Sri Lanka, University of Moratuwa, University of Peradeniya, and University of Colombo.

The Conference was chaired by Professor Dilanthi Amaratunga and Dr Richard Haigh, from the Centre for Disaster Resilience, University of Salford, UK.

Further details on the conference can be found at the Building Resilience 2011 website.

The conference outcomes were used to support the 2010-2011 United Nations World Disaster Reduction campaign 'Making Cities Resilient', which addresses issues of local governance and urban risk while drawing upon previous ISDR Campaigns on safer schools and hospitals, as well as on the sustainable urbanisations principles developed in the UN-Habitat World Urban campaign 2009-2013. 

The Centre for Disaster Resilience, University of Salford, UK continued to offer its support to the Ministry of Disaster Management with a view to incorporating the conference outcomes in the local government joint action plan to tackle hazard risk in Sri Lanka, which was launched in July 2011. The plan identified key priority activities that follow the 'Ten Essentials' of the 'Making Cities Resilient' campaign. The action plan was later implemented in coordination with the Ministry of Disaster Management and the Ministry of Local Government & Provincial Council.

The International Conference on Building Resilience series began in 2008 with an event held in Sri Lanka from 11th – 15th February at the Heritance Kandalama Hotel near Dambulla. The conference was a landmark gathering for international academics, practitioners, professionals and policy makers concerned with the future of built environment education and research.2008 Conference

The 2008 conference specifically targeted the promotion of built environment related education and research towards a more expansive view of the life cycle of infrastructure projects, one that extends beyond the traditional cycle of feasibility analysis, planning, design, construction, operation, maintenance and divestiture. This revised life cycle should encompass the construction professional's ability to anticipate and respond to unexpected events that damage or destroy an infrastructure project. 168 papers were published in the conference proceedings and over 170 delegates participated.

The conference gained the support and endorsement of a wide range of organisations: CEBE, Centre for Education in the Built Environment; RICS, Royal Institution of Charted Surveyors; AIQS, Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors; ISR, Institute of Sustainable Resources; SLIA, Sri Lanka Institute of Architects; IESL, Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka; UGC, University Grants Commission, Sri Lanka; Ministry of Education, Sri Lanka; ICTAD, Institute of Construction Training and Development, Sri Lanka; HFH, Habitat for Humanity Habitat for Humanity; World Bank; Sri Lanka Convension Bureau.

Key events during the conference included:

  • Five keynote addresses by leading academics and practitioners on different challenges across the disaster management lifecycle
  • A themed discussion on the role of the construction industry in disaster preparedness, response and reconstruction, with contributions from a range of CIB working commission and task group coordinators
  • Meetings of five major CIB working commissions and task groups
  • A special issue of the Journal of Education in the Built Environment
  • A special session of student papers from the University of Moratuwa and the University of Ruhuna
  • A CIB student chapter annual general meeting and research skills workshops
  • Prizes by CIOB, Emerald Publishing and Taylor & Francis publishing