ISC Distinguished Lecture Series: “Apprehending the Duality of Disaster Risk and Sustainable Development”

Organizer(s) International Science Council (ISC)


15:00 – 16:00 CET | 14:00 – 15:00 UTC


Disaster risk and disasters are socially constructed systemic processes that unfold over time due to the relationships and interdependencies between vulnerability, exposure, and hazards. Have you ever wondered why geography is a compass for understanding disaster risk reduction and global sustainability? Discover more in the “ISC Distinguished Lecture Series: Basic Sciences For Sustainable Development” webinar featuring Irasema Alcántara-Ayala from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, in Mexico City, Mexico.

Lecture abstract

Although certainly nothing erodes sustainable development more than a disaster, the root causes of disaster risk, and therefore of disasters, are political, socio-economic, institutional and environmental factors often linked to skewed development models. The complex duality of disaster risk and sustainable development requires an understanding that goes indeed beyond a single discipline. Nevertheless, the nurtured perspective of geographic knowledge provides significant and elementary principles to apprehend and address the multidimensions of the humanized landscape within the sphere of the prevailing socio-territorial challenges. The objective of this Lecture is to give a powerful impetus to reflection and actions on disaster risk reduction and global sustainability in an era of unprecedented socio-environmental changes, in which the leading role of geography as a compass to support transdisciplinary approaches to strengthen policy formulation and practice is indispensable.

Speaker biography: Irasema Alcántara-Ayala

Former Director and current Professor and Researcher at the Institute of Geography of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), and ISC Fellow (appointed in December 2022). Her research seeks to understand the root causes and drivers of disaster risk through forensic investigations of disasters, and to promote integrated research on disaster risk. She is particularly interested in bridging the gap between science and policymaking and practice in the developing world. She has previously served as member of the Committee of Scientific Planning and Review (CSPR) of the International Science Council (ISC, former ICSU); as Vice-President of the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk programme of the International Science Council (ISC-IRDR), of the International Geographical Union (IGU), of the International Consortium on Landslides (ICL), and of the International Association of Geomorphologists (IAG). She has also been an associate of the Board of Directors of the Global Alliance of Disaster Research Institutes (GADRI).

About the ISC Distinguished Lecture Series: “Basic Sciences For Sustainable Development”

Adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development represents a new way of thinking about how to better link basic science and education with issues such as climatic and environmental change, water and energy security, ocean preservation, disaster risks and other topics. It intertwines social, economic, and environmental targets in 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Basic sciences have an important contribution to make to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The United Nations General Assembly approved by consensus a resolution that promulgates 2022 as the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development. IYBSSD2022 encourages exchanges between scientists and all categories of stakeholders, whether from grassroots communities or political decisionmakers and international leaders, as well as associations, students and local authorities.

Nine ISC Members forming GeoUnions proposed to establish the programme “Distinguished Lecture Series on Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development” to promote the IYBSSD2022, and to highlight the importance of basic sciences for the ISC community.

Join us for this engaging lecture series!

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