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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  News & Events  /  News  /  News Archive  /  March 2016  /  Disaster Risk Reduction in the 21st Century

Disaster Risk Reduction in the 21st Century

David Alexander gives 2016 Frank Carter Lecture

Disaster Risk Reduction in the 21st Century

On 3rd March, this year’s Frank Carter Lecture was given by Professor David Alexander, of the UCL Institute for Risk Reduction.

David gained his PhD from UCL Geography in the 1970s, and has since worked in the USA, Italy, and in Switzerland as Chief Senior Scientist at the Global Risk Forum between 2005-11. He is a leading international authority on the assessment and management of risk, with books on  Confronting Catastrophe: New Perspectives on Natural Disasters, and Principles of Emergency Planning and Management.

In The Game Changes: Disaster Risk Reduction in the 21st Century, David  reviewed the evolution of Disaster Risk Reduction over the last century, and its convergence with modern agendas for climate change adaptation and increased human mobility.

He argued that responses to disasters are, in general, dominated by corrupt practices, favouring, and even benefiting, the interests of capital. They also tend to encourage repressive state responses, driven by political expediency rather than evidence based reactions to the needs of the affected populations.

On the other hand, in discussion it was noted that the globalisation of concern, through modern communications and professionalization of disaster risk studies, has heightened awareness of events that, in the past might have been accepted as ‘Acts of God’. The widening of the perceived incidence of disasters may also reflect a continuing inability to manage responses to such extreme events effectively.

The annual Frank Carter Lecture was endowed by the late Mrs Krysia Carter in memory of Professor Frank Carter, who worked in UCL Geography and the School of East European Studies until his untimely death in 2001.

 

 

See:

http://www.pacificdisaster.net/pdnadmin/data/original/JB_DM596b_UOM_2000_Confronting_catastrophe.pdf


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David Alexander


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