|International Workshop At Western
|Dec 10th, 2004
Some of the world's
leading researchers, policy and decision-makers in
catastrophic loss reduction will be at Western Monday and
Tuesday for an international workshop on water and disasters.
Nearly 100 participants from Canada, Germany,
Venezuela, Japan, Australia, Austria, Nigeria, France, Ghana
and Jamaica will share knowledge and expertise about
international, national and local initiatives aimed at
minimizing the negative impacts of water-related disasters.
The workshop, which takes places at Western’s Spencer
Conference Centre, will include representatives of UNESCO,
International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), UN
University and other international and national organizations
responsible for mitigation of water-related disasters.
"ICLR is pleased to have a notable gathering of
international experts at our event such as Dr. Andras
Szollosi-Nagy, Deputy Director General of UNESCO and
participants from three major UN organizations,” says Western
professor Slobodan Simonovic, Chair of the Institute for
Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) and host of the event.
“The goal of the conference is to jointly produce a
document which I will present to a World Conference on
Disaster Reduction in Kobe, Japan in January 2005."
addition, conference participants will produce an analytical
report to address conclusions relevant to the international
and Canadian context with recommendations as to what actions
should be taken in Canada and internationally.
the last decade, more than 2000 water-related disasters
occurred globally. Asia and Africa led the pack with floods
accounting for half of these disasters. The economic cost of
water-related natural disasters, especially in developing
countries where they often cause water-borne and
vector-disease outbreaks, is considerable.
poor, the elderly, women and children are most affected. As
more and more people live on marginal land, there is a greater
risk from flooding or drought.
Research Professor (Economics) Paul Kovacs, and ICLR Executive
Director, says 2004 is the International Year of Water
“World wide, there is a shortage of
effective disaster preparedness and mitigation method,” says
Kovacs. “Appropriate risk-mitigation investment and the
redirection of resources into prevention offer significant
benefits as well as reduction in loss of life and personal
Globally, the number of water-related
disasters (floods and droughts) has more than doubled since
1996. Climate change and escalating climate
almost assuredly means that the risk of water-related hazards
In fact the world will be facing more
severe water-related events more often meaning that proactive
disaster risk management strategies will become an
increasingly important part of prevention activity world wide.
The documents generated by the International Workshop: Water
and Disasters are expected to go a long way toward shaping
international strategy and action.