The official programme for the first International Conference on Risk and Disaster Management began at the Elephant Hill Hotel in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, on Sunday. The event ends on Tuesday.
Organised by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and Zimbabwe’s Midlands State University (MSU), the Victoria Falls conference seeks to harness the interdisciplinary expertise of the delegates to build networks and to discuss pressing issues in disaster risk research across academic and practical disciplines.
Discussions and seminars at the conference will be held under the theme “Investing in Disaster Management for Sustainable Development”.
The event comes in the aftermath of the devastating social, economic and environmental effects of several interlinked crises, including the Covid-19 pandemic, droughts, famine, cyclones, the recent flooding in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as global armed conflicts and wars.
More than 100 delegates from all regions of Africa are expected to participate in the conference, physically and virtually.
According to the Dr Konosoang Sobane, of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), the significance of disaster management was expressed in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, the Sendai Framework, Africa Agenda 2063 and national constitutions.
“A 360º interdisciplinary exploration of the dynamics and risks associated with disasters is necessary to develop effective strategies and responses to the disaster phenomenon,” she said.
Presenters from different regions of the continent are focusing on issues such as business continuity, public health risk management, resilient critical infrastructure, indigenous knowledge for disaster risk reduction, disaster modelling, surveillance and remote sensing, the nexus between disasters and development, disaster risks, monitoring and mitigation, community response, recovery and resilience building.
The conference was organised in collaboration with the Tugwi Mukosi Multidisciplinary Research Institute of the MSU, HSRC of South Africa, National Disaster Management of Africa, the Civil Protection Unit of Zimbabwe, Santam, and the HSRC’s Africa Institute of South Africa.
The event gives policymakers, disaster specialists, researchers, academics, think tanks, civil society organisations, business and humanitarian organisations the opportunity to exhibit their products and to network.