Disaster risk forum honours champion of local action

Dr Ilan Kelman shares ideas with UNISDR Head Margareta Wahlström on how to implement effective risk reduction action.
 
By Andy McElroy

OSLO, 26 September 2013 - A champion of local action to reduce disaster risk was this week honoured for his years of commitment in support of building safer and more resilient communities worldwide.

The European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction presented Dr Ilan Kelman with the Damir Čemerin Award for Local Change for his work to link disaster risk reduction with climate change adaptation.

“It is an honour and privilege to receive this award. I have learned so much through working with all of my colleagues who are also dedicated to disaster risk reduction,” said Dr Kelman, who is based at the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo.

“I hope that I, and others, will continue to apply that knowledge and expertise to further reduce disaster risks.”

Dr Kelman is internationally renowned for his work on the “Many Strong Voices” programme that brings together the peoples of the Arctic and small island developing states to meet the challenges of climate change.

He regards these regions as critical barometers of global environment change that act as testing grounds for the ideas and programmes to strengthen the adaptive capacities of societies and improve policy development to strengthen vulnerable social, economic, and natural systems.

Dr Kelman is also involved in the ‘Disaster Diplomacy’ initiative which investigates how and why disaster-related activities influence conflict and, or cooperation.

Closer to home in Norway, Dr Kelman is the coordinator of the ‘Adapting to extreme weather in municipalities’, which looks at how local climate change adaptation can be achieved by focusing on issues such as natural resources, including drinking water, and cultural heritage.

The Award recognizes the work of an individual in building resilience to disasters at the community level. It is named in honour of Mr Damir Čemerin, who prematurely passed away earlier this year after a long period of service in support of disaster risk reduction in his home country of Croatia as well as at the international level.

“We are all working towards Damir’s goals and hope that this award will inspire others to follow him,” said Dr Kelman.

The Head of UNISDR Regional office for Europe, Ms Paola Albrito, echoed Dr Kelman’s sentiment. “Damir was a committed member of the disaster risk reduction movement and a friend,” she said.

The 4th European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction in Oslo was hosted by the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning and organised in collaboration with the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and the Council of Europe.

The Forum advocates for strong implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action on disaster risk reduction and acts as a knowledge sharing platform for various European partners involved in this area.
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