Last November 18-20, 2013, the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization, together with the Japan Foundation held the first ever International Conference on Cultural Heritage and Disaster Risk Reduction in Bangkok, Thailand. The main theme of the conference revolved around the integration of heritage preservation into disaster risk reduction, and vice versa. The benefits of this symbiotic relationship were also highlighted.
Vice Minister for Education of Thailand, Dr. Kitti Limskul delivering the opening remarks
Director-General of Japan Foundation, Mr. Kazuhiro Fukuda delivering the opening address.
The event was graced by the Vice Minister of Education of Thailand, with members of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Several professionals coming from different fields of expertise from 17 countries were also present.
Dr. Lessandro Garciano, Assoc. Prof. (DLSU CE Dept)
Among the presentors were two members of the Civil Engineering Department of De La Salle University. Dr. Lessandro Garciano, Associate Professor, presented the “Seismic Risk Assessment of Heritage Structure Using Fragility and Net Present Value Approach.” This paper was co-authored with MSCE student Michael Baylon. The presentation highlighted the post-scenario at the Bohol earthquake (2013) and the utilization of fragility curves to assess the risk for buildings. Dr. Garciano discussed the overview of the methodology and also integrated into the study a economic approach to check the feasibility of the proposed method.
Kirk Yu, BSMS CE Student
On the other hand, Mr. Kirk Kennedy Yu, BSMS CE student, presented the paper co-authored with Dr. Andres Oreta (DLSU), Noel Hechanova (CENRO) and Dr. Rhodella Ibabao (UPV) entitled “Supporting Local Initiatives in Preserving Heritage Buildings in Iloilo City (Philippines) through Risk Assessment.” The presentation elaborated on the legislative and actual efforts of the city government in preserving heritage buildings. It also discussed the vulnerable condition of the heritage buildings and the proposed implementation of a Rapid Visual Screening method to assess various risks and hazards.
In total, the conference ended with the main statement that cultural heritage and disaster risk reduction must be integrated into each other. The conference also became a platform for the call for inputs into the post-2015 Framework for DRR, also known as the Hyogo Framework 2.