Deakin CHCAP seminar: Building Capacity for Reducing Disaster Risks

Deakin CHCAP seminar: ‘Building Capacity for Reducing Disaster Risks to Cultural Heritage: Challenges and Opportunities in Asia Pacific’

Now a lunchtime seminar series starting at noon on the last Wednesday of the month at Deakin Prime City Campus, Theatre Room, 3/550 Bourke Street, Melbourne the first seminar is presented by Dr. Rohit Jigyasu, President, ICOMOS-India and chaired by Kristal Buckley, Deakin University.

Cultural Heritage in the Asia Pacific region; both tangible and intangible, movable and immovable is at increasing risk due to disasters caused by natural as well as human induced hazards such as earthquakes, floods, typhoons, fires, armed conflicts, looting, vandalism and terrorism. Climate change has further exacerbated hydro-meteorological events that have put cultural heritage in vulnerable locations such as coastal areas and on mountain slopes at greater risk than ever before. The lecture will illustrate these risks through examples of past events and predictive data that help in projecting future scenarios. The lecture will further outline through case studies the underlying factors especially those linked to maintenance and management that are increasing the vulnerability of cultural heritage to disasters.

Various international, regional and national level initiatives on risk management of cultural heritage (including sites as well as collections) especially during last 20 years since Kobe earthquake in 1995 will be briefly elaborated.  The lecture will stress on the need for capacity building for various target groups ranging from decision makers to those who are responsible for day-to-day maintenance of heritage sites and museums.

Further the activities of UNESCO Chair programme at Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan that is aimed at capacity building through international training course on disaster risk management of cultural heritage since 2006 will be explained in terms of the overall aim and objectives, pedagogy and the end result. The efforts of the university to disseminate the results of this activity through extensive network of its alumni and the publication of interactive training guide would be described in detail. The lecture will also explain other capacity building initiatives in this area that have been undertaken by international organizations such as ICCROM, UNESCO, ICOMOS and ICOM. Notable among these are the Museum Emergency Programme in Asia Pacific (2005-06), ICCROM’s programme on First Aid to Cultural Heritage (2011 onwards), regional workshop in Jakarta and national workshops in Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar. To respond to increasing threat of cultural heritage due to conflicts, the on-going initiatives for Emergency Protection of Cultural Heritage in the times of Conflict in Syria and other countries in the Middle East Region by UNESCO, ICCROM and ICOMOS will be given special mention.

The lecture will conclude by outlining the future agenda of action for disaster risk management of cultural heritage for protecting the present of our past for the future generations.

Presenter: Rohit Jigyasu is heritage conservation and risk management professional from India, currently working as UNESCO Chair professor at the Institute of Disaster Mitigation for Urban Cultural Heritage at Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan and is the President of ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Risk Preparedness(ICORP) and ICOMOS-India. He is also senior advisor at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) based in Bangalore, India.

Enquiries: Yamini Narayanan at