Development is vital for reducing disaster risk, yet the current unsustainable development model is driving and creating disaster risks, such as in the removal of natural storm-surge protection barriers including mangrove forests in favour of aquaculture farms or beachfront properties. At the same time, disasters can destroy development gains, and existing disaster risk reduction (DRR) approaches are not sufficiently contributing to sustainable development. Transformation is increasingly understood as necessary for moving from current development patterns that increase, create or unfairly distribute risks, towards more equitable, resilient and sustainable development outcomes.

The International Centre of Excellence on Transforming Development and Disaster Risk, established by the SEI Initiative on TDDR and hosted by the SEI Asia Centre, is co-hosting two events in Bangkok this week that bring together a diversity of stakeholders to explore these processes in more depth and energize transformative action in Asia.

First, together with the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) and Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, the TDDR in Asia Forum will take place from 10-11 October. Researchers, decision-makers, practitioners and students working on development and DRR in Asia will identify priorities and explore opportunities for transformation in Asia at local, national and regional scales. Sessions will focus on key sustainable development concerns in Asia: Urban governance, livelihoods, water resources management, and gender and social equality.

Second, the TDDR in Asia Academy will take place at Chulalongkorn University, on 12 October. The Academy will convene students, researchers and academics from a variety of disciplines to promote knowledge sharing and strengthen the skills of early career researchers and university students in the TDDR field. It will promote learning methods that include lectures from leading TDDR researchers, insights from policy-makers, group discussions and interactive exercises that advance peer-to-peer learning and future Initiative collaboration.

The TDDR in Asia Forum and Academy will strengthen collaboration with key partners in the region as SEI and the Centre of Excellence look to establish a platform for co-creating new knowledge on transformation, together with, and in direct support of, development and DRR policy and practice institutions and initiatives. The insights and partnerships developed during the week can support transformation towards a more equitable, resilient and sustainable future.

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ICoE-TDDR was established by the SEI Initiative on Transforming Development and Disaster Risk and the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) programme, with support from key regional partners, and is hosted by SEI Asia in Bangkok, Thailand. ICoE-TDDR seeks to transform the relationship between development and disk risk by integrating disaster risk reduction and sustainable development through combined approaches and action in scientific research, policy engagement and capacity development.