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China to host new international disaster research programme

The International Council for Science (ICSU) today announced that China will host the office of the new international programme, Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR). The International Programme Office for IRDR will be established in Beijing at the Headquarters of the Center for Earth Observation and Digital Earth (CEODE)—the first time an international office of this type has been hosted in Asia.

PARIS, France – The IRDR is a major new 10-year international research programme that aims to provide answers to the growing global problem of disasters and how countries can reduce the root causes of disaster risk. In a break from past approaches, it will combine diverse expertise and perspectives into one coordinated effort, drawing on the natural, socio-economic, health and engineering sciences.

ICSU, along with the other IRDR co-sponsors—the International Social Science Council (ISSC) and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN ISDR)—selected Beijing following an international call for offers The office will be jointly funded by the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

‘China offers an impressive array of facilities and talented researchers within Beijing, and throughout the country. I am confident that the programme office will benefit from the support and resources that will be put at its disposal,’ said Professor Gordon McBean, Chair of the Scientific Committee overseeing the programme.

‘The research community in China—and throughout Asia—will also benefit since IRDR and its office will be a catalyst for the interdisciplinary work that is necessary for sustainable risk reduction,’ McBean added.

CEODE is recognised for its commitment to scientific research, with wide experience and expertise in research on disaster mitigation—especially remote sensing, data collection and modelling. The centre also has as a proven track record in international cooperation; establishing long-term partnerships with institutions from more than 20 countries and international organisations.

The International Programme Office will not only support the management and administrative needs of IRDR; it will also play a major role in organising the capacity building and outreach activities that will be important for the success of the programme.

‘Our first task will be to ensure that the office has a secretariat that is both innovative and responsive. This will ensure that the IRDR programme has the behind-the-scenes support that will be essential if it is to successfully address the challenge of natural and human-induced hazards and disasters,’ said McBean.

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