On May 18th, the United Nations’ 9th Meeting of the High-level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters organized by SCU Institute for Disaster Management and Reconstruction was held at the University. The opening ceremony was attended by leaders such as Han Seung-soo, Disaster and Water Affairs Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General, Chairman of the High-level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters (HELP), and former prime minister of South Korea, Zhang Wenbiao, Deputy Director of Sichuan Provincial Water Resources Department, Tang Chuyang, Deputy Director of Chengdu Water Authority, Xie Heping, President of SCU, Yan Shijing and Xu Weilin, Vice President of SCU. Experts and scholars in the field of global water and disasters prevention also attended the meeting. The opening ceremony was jointly hosted by Mr. Yan Shijing and Mr. Gretchen Kalonji, Counselor of SCU’s development strategy and Dean of Institute for Disaster Management and Reconstruction.
High-level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters (HELP) is an international organization established under the proposal of 2007 UN Secretary-general’s Advisory Committee, as the top-class independent institution for global water and disasters; it aims at improving the global awareness on the importance of water and disasters at a national level, positively facilitating the disaster prevention and mitigation actions of global water disasters, offering suggestions on climatic change, disaster, urban construction, development and protection of mountainous river, and other aspects. With a theme of “Water Promotes Sustainable Development”, the 9th Meeting of the High-level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters gathered senior experts in the field of water disasters from the UN and many countries, who conducted discussions on the water and disaster issues under the “Water Promotes Sustainable Development” International Actions Ten-Years Framework (2018-2028), as well as the water and disaster issues under the framework of global hydraulic construction and disaster risks reduction; by probing into relevant research projects like how to make contribution in the 23th United Nations Climate Change Conference and in the progress of climate change, as well as the financing and investment of water and disaster issues, it explored a path to establish Water and Disasters Scientific Research Alliance, and establish a regular conversation platform for international water and disasters issues.
Mr. Han Seung-soo addressed the opening ceremony, noting that, SCU has made significant contributions to the global disasters prevention and mitigation, and hoped that the conference could inject vitality to SCU’s construction of a world-class university. After the occurrence of “5·12” Earthquake, SCU, together with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, rapidly established the Institute for Disaster Management and Reconstruction, which not only offered relevant knowledge and know-how education about disasters prevention, mitigation and relief, but also provided an important platform for disasters-related scientific researches for China and even the World, he stressed, adding that water disasters affected 90% population of the world, and its effects on human beings were estimated to be more extensive and far-reaching in the future; he hoped the participants could work together to actively put forward strategic advice on water disasters, so as to facilitate the future disaster prevention and mitigation works of international community; the conference could promote the sharing of knowledge and skills internationally, especially technology transformation between developed and developing countries; and further enhance the communication and cooperation in the field of water and disasters between scientific community and education circles.
On behalf of SCU, Mr. Xie delivered a speech that, SCU, as the first-class university in Western China, always attached great importance to its duties and commitments, including tackling major global disaster crises, promoting human development and progress, and contributing to the community of human destiny. Especially after the occurrence of 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, SCU established the first-ever Institute for Disaster Management and Reconstruction in collaboration with Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Adhering to the concept that "all people on earth must have a disaster awareness and disaster education”, the Institute for Disaster Management and Reconstruction is dedicated to cultivating internationally competitive professionals in addressing major global disasters and crises, to providing comprehensive high-end technology support and social services for disaster prevention, mitigation and post-disaster reconstruction. This will not only witness the growth of SCU when facing the disasters, but also help SCU to shoulder the responsibility when managing the future challenges. Xie Heping added that, the Meeting would certainly facilitate the high-end international exchanges and cooperation on disaster prevention and mitigation, comprehensively promote the cutting-edge technology innovation research on global water disaster prevention and mitigation, and vigorously boost the sustainable development of the disaster prevention and mitigation undertaking for the benefit of the whole human beings.
Mr. Zhang Wenbiao and Mr. Tang Chuayang delivered a speech respectively. Through this meeting, they further strengthened the exchanges in science and technology of water conservancy with experts and scholars from all over the world, in order to make efforts to create a better future for the development of human civilization.
During the meeting, Xu Weilin ,Vice-president of SCU, Cui Peng ,Vice-director of Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS, Zhang Limin, Professor of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Atsuhiko Kinoshita, Senior researcher of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Japan, and Xie Hong, former Vice-president of Sichuan Provincial Committee of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, made a technical keynote speech successively on the issues, such as technological challenges caused by water-related geological disasters. The experts and scholars conducted a series of discussions about major problems of geology and water disasters, and the measures to be taken by global research and educational institutions in coping with challenges. Experts also discussed the matters related to international conference on water-related disasters.
On the following day, the 9th Meeting of the High-level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters also conducted discussions on relevant issues covering the establishment of multi-universities alliance to improve water disaster research and education.