Full Agenda


19th May

10:05 - 11:05: Setting the Scene

A discussion by the international advisory panel will set the scene, before a round table discussion on the current state of disaster preparedness and response.

  • Opening by the Advisory Panel

  • From Crisis Response to Building Resilience


  • Mark Jones, Chief Officer, South Australian Country Fire Service (Moderator)
  • Dr Krishna Vatsa, Member National Disaster Management Authority, New Delhi
  • Mihir Bhatt, Director, AIDMI India

11:30 - 12:30: Frontline search and rescue in natural events – collapsed structures

Disasters arising from natural hazards are on the increase, but what does this mean for humanitarian and rescue responders? Take building collapses, often viewed as being a consequence of earthquakes, but which are now being seen in increasing numbers because of other environmental conditions. How are rescue teams evolving? And what about responding to natural hazards and other disasters in areas of conflict?


  • Lieutenant Jorge Terrones, USAR Team Advisor, Peruvian Fire Service

  • Mr Tsukasa Katsube, Humanitarian Assistance Expert, Japan International Cooperation Agency

  • Luigi D'Angelo, Head of Operations, Ministry of Interior, Italy (Moderator)

13:10 - 14:10: Strengthening the Capacity of Local Response (Reinforcing National and Local Actors, The Importance of Localization)

The individuals affected by crises are firstly those in local areas, enhancing their capabilities for response is critical with increased localisation. The ability to respond better with local, national and international organisations can bring improved capacities to respond to crises. Therefore, what are the challenges to improving this? What new technologies can reinforce these capabilities?


  • Rupert Douglas-Bate, Director, Global MapAid

  • Paul Knox Clarke, Co-Founder, Climate and Humanitarian Crisis Initiative

  • Loreine De La Cruz, Executive Director, Centre for Disaster Preparedness Foundation

  • Anna Averkiou, Optimal Risk (Moderator)

15:30 - 16:30: Water crises and resilience

Too much water, not enough water, these problems are set to become an ever increasing hazard across the globe. Aside from the immediate impacts, what are the cascading consequences of floods and drought? This panel will discuss case studies of what has worked, along with the importance of nature-based solutions, and will also look at geopolitical consequences if we don’t tackle the root causes of water crises.


  • Mr Harjeet Singh Co-coordinator - Adaptation, Loss & Damage working Group, Climate Action Network International

  • Mr Rupert Douglas-Bate, Director, Global MapAid (Moderator)

  • Mr John Butterworth, Director, Global Hub, IRC Wash

  • Dr Haseeb Irfanullah, Independent Consultant, Environment, Climate Change and Research System

  • Mr Kitka Goyol, Chief of WASH Programme, UNICEF in Ethiopia

16:35 - 17:35: NGO Access to Disaster Zones: The Importance of Collaboration Between Agencies and Government in the Field

The compounded effects of climate change, growing populations and increasing population density are often cited as factors behind the increasing occurrences of natural events all over the world. In order to reach these urgent humanitarian needs, we need to ensure and improve access of NGOs to disaster zones. 


  • Dr Nibedita Ray-Bennett, Associate Professor of Risk Management & Founding President, University of Leicester & Avoidable Deaths Network (Moderator)

  • Andrew Brown, Chief Security Officer, Jesuit Refugee Service

  • Mr Alois Hirschmugl, Technical Director, DMAT Consulting KG



20th May

10:05 - 11:05:  Communities First: The Natural First Responders

Inevitably, the first on the scene after a major disaster are local communities. How can we empower communities to prepare for emergencies? What about hard to reach or vulnerable communities? How do we ensure that everyone is given a voice in their own safety, and that of their local area? This panel will showcase initiatives that are already showing positive impact.


  • Mr Marcus T Coleman, Senior Associate, HWC (Moderator)

  • Ms Emma Le Mesurier, Director, Mayday Rescue

  • Dr P G Dhar Chakrabarti, Chairman, Scientific and Technical Committee, WCDM-2020 

11:30 - 12:30: Natural Events - Assessing the crises of today and tomorrow

It is not enough just to look at what is happening today; the crises of tomorrow are set to become larger, more destructive, more frequent and demand ever greater resources to deal with them and protect communities. This panel will discuss the future, both in terms of what lies on the horizon, and how we can prepare to mitigate any adverse effects.


  • Mr Paolo Garonna, Secretary-General, FeBAF

  • Ms Anoka Primrose Abeyratne, Lead, Environment Working Group, Royal Commonwealth Society

  • Mihir Bhatt, Director, AIDMI India (Moderator)

13:10 - 14:10: Disaster Risk Reduction in Action

DRR is more vital than ever in today’s complex world. Disasters have become endemic in many parts of the world with UNDRR estimating that at least 25 million people are displaced each year by conflict and natural events. This panel will highlight good practice and discuss effective disaster risk reduction and governance. 


  • Dr Gianluca Pescaroli, Lecturer in Business Continuity and Organisational Resilience, UCL

  • Dr Mika Peace, Australian Bureau of Meteorology

  • Dr Albrecht Beck, Director, PPI and Head, Knowledge Hub for Urban Disaster Risk Reduction (moderator)

  • Zal Rustom, Chairman, Argo UK Resilience

15:30 - 16:30: Technology and disaster response

New technology in resilience building and disaster response is burgeoning. This panel will examine the positive trends in this area and discuss how the sector can harness future technology to make communities and nations safer from natural hazards.


  • Mr Timothy Chapuis, Senior Project Manager, Pix4D

  • Mr Romeo Durscher, Vice President of Public Safety, Auterion

  • Mr Andrew Staniforth (Moderator)

  • Ms Cass Collins, Deputy Director, Microsoft Services Disaster Response, Microsoft

  • Dr Sergio Bianchi, Director of International Research, Agenfor International

  • Andrew Staniforth: Director of Innovation, Saher Europe

16:35 - 17:35: What next? Extrapolating trends for the future

It is clear that agencies and disciplines are going to have to work more closely together to ensure safer and more equitable societies for all. This forward looking panel will discuss the way forward.


  • Mr Andy Towler, Advisory Board, Crisis Response Journal

  • Mr Yossi Matthias, Head of Google Crisis Response

  • Lord Toby Harris, National Preparedness Commission

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