Over the last week Professor Mark Pelling has been at the Sendai World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction as part of the UN Science and Technology major group delegation. The Conference has now passed the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. In addition to Mark, Geography at King’s was represented by PhD student Erin Roberts in her role as a climate change loss and damages expert. Most impressive perhaps was the presence of eight alumni from the MA Disasters Adaptation & Development (DAD) programme with leading roles in the NGO and government processes including Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), Overseas Development Institute (ODI), Tearfund, Red Cross, Global Network for Disaster Reduction (GNDR), YCARE and Health England. A wonderful recognition of the contribution of the DAD programme to international policy development on disaster risk reduction – its core mission.
The Urban Africa Risk Knowledge (Urban ARK) programme seeks to open up an applied research and policy agenda for risk management in Urban Africa. With £3.3m in support from DFID-ESRC this three year programme of work highlights urbanization processes that generate human vulnerability and exposure to hazard, as well as examples of capacity building and learning. Field work will be undertaken in sub-Sarahan Africa including Niamey (Niger), Dakar (Senagal), Nairobi and Mombasa (Kenya), Karonga (Malawi) and Ibadan (Nigeria). We focus on those at risk, especially in low-income and often informal or illegal settlements, but also on large scale planed urbanization projects and how these reshape the social and environmental geographies of cities and consequent risk profiles. Disaster risk is our primary focus but we understand that from the perspective of those at risk avoiding – or suffering from – harm risks are multiple and we will contextualise our work on natural hazards alongside work on social and political violence and public health concerns. Research is a collaboration between city level researchers, international teams and practitioners.