The impacts of climate change and intensive human activity (such as rapid urbanisation) have led to more frequent and severe natural hazard-induced disasters (NHID) – including severe storms, floods, droughts, heatwaves, landslides and debris flows.
Disaster risk reduction is, therefore, crucial for sustainable socio-economic development worldwide.
Launched by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) in 1992, there are now more than 850 UNESCO Chairs worldwide.
The new UNESCO Chair in Informatics and Multi-hazard Risk Reduction will advance multi-disciplinary knowledge, harness emerging computing and data technologies, and develop tools to enhance global research capacity to better manage multi-hazard systemic risks, contributing to several UN SDGs (1, 2, 5, 9, 11 and 13).
Professor Liang has expertise in developing high-performance computational models and data tools for disaster risk assessment and reduction. The high-performance models he has developed have been widely applied in many countries – including the UK, Japan, China, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Nepal, Malaysia, Bhutan, Sierra Leone and Uganda – to support flood modelling and forecasting alongside risk assessment through research projects and collaborations.
A key strand of his activity as Chair will be the creation of an International Centre of Informatics for Disaster Risk Reduction – and he and his team will work closely with UNESCO to achieve its key strategic goals.
Talking about his appointment as UNESCO Chair, Professor Liang says: “I am truly honoured to establish the UNESCO Chair in Informatics and Multi-hazard Risk Reduction.
“It will provide a tremendous opportunity to expand partnerships and co-deliver innovative research to support global disaster risk reduction and contribute to the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
The Chair and partnership with UNESCO will be officially launched on Friday 18 August. To review the event programme and join the launch event online, please register your attendance before 16 August.