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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Disaster Risk Reduction and International Law Symposium

Co-sponsored by the University of Reading (School of Law and Walker Institute) and the American Society of International Law (Disaster Law Interest Group)

University of Reading, UK - 29 June to 1 July 2017

Registration closed


Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

The changing global landscape

The international community is grappling with the increasing frequency and severity of a broad range of ‘man-made’ and ‘natural’ disasters, through initiatives such as the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, Sustainable Development Goals 2015, and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The current global landscape governing disaster risk reduction (DRR) is therefore in a significant period of evolution. It is likely that the reach of DRR will extend into many different legal regimes, both in the development of ‘soft’ (non-binding policy) and ‘hard’ (formally binding) law governing a broad range of disasters. 

Be part of the response

In response to this changing global landscape, a significant symposium will take place at the University of Reading between 29 June and 1 July 2017. It is organised by the University of Reading (School of Law, and the multidisciplinary Walker Institute).

This symposium, which will be framed around the principles and objectives underpinning the Sendai Framework, is a unique opportunity to discuss, debate, inform and progress the development of law, policy and practice governing DRR and disasters at the national, regional and international levels.

Join us and some of the world’s leading academics and professionals

The symposium is designed to bring together a multinational spectrum of participants drawn from across governmental, intergovernmental, private, NGO/civil society, academic and media sectors. Participants will comprise a mixture of those contributing papers and non-contributors informing wider discussions and debate. Whilst the discussions and papers will be framed primarily around international law and policy, other disciplinary perspectives which inform law and policy understanding are welcome also.


A mixture of:

  • Keynote speakers - those confirmed so far include:
    - Professor Virginia Murray, Consultant in Global Disaster Risk Reduction Public Health England; UK Government member on the UN International Strategy for Disaster Scientific and Technical Advisory Group since 2008
    - Mr Arnold Pronto, Principal Legal Officer in the Codification Division of the Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations, who has served on the Secretariat of the International Law Commission since 1999 (including regarding the protection of persons in the event of disasters)
    - Ms Peri Lynne Johnson, Director and Legal Advisor, Office of Legal Affairs, International Atomic Energy Agency
    - Ms Isabelle Granger, Global Legislative Advocacy Coordinator, International Federation Red Cross, who directs the Federation's Disaster Law Programme
    - Mr Julian Enoizi, Chief Executive, Pool Reinsurance Company Limited
    Dr Robert MacFarlane, Deputy Director, Civil Contingencies Secretariat, UK Cabinet Office - tbc
  • Panel discussions
  • Presentations of leading research
  • Interactive activities
  • Networking opportunities including through the planned social events

You are welcome to use the symposium flyer to publicise the event on your own web pages or by e-mail to relevant contacts.

This page will be updated frequently prior to the symposium itself - please bookmark and check back for latest updates.

Output and Impact    

The overarching sought impact is to inform and make recommendations regarding the development of national, regional and international law and policy governing DRR. One planned output is a significant edited handbook for publication by Cambridge University Press (subject to satisfactory completion of the formal peer review process). Another is development of new, and augmentation of existing, expert networks across all key stakeholders.


The cost for each participant will include use of conference facilities, lunch, soft refreshments, reception and BBQ (29 June), and optional social/dinner (30 June).

Participants (regular, not contributing a paper, which by now has been accepted and notified)
£350 - full symposium (with optional barge dinner on the River Thames on 30 June)
£300 - full symposium (without the optional barge dinner on 30 June)

Participants (contributing a paper, which by now has been accepted and notified)
£275 - full symposium (with optional barge dinner on the River Thames on 30 June)
£225 - full symposium (without the optional barge dinner on 30 June)

A limited amount of accommodation on campus is available for the nights of 28-30 June and 1 July at a cost of £61 per person per night including breakfast. This is bookable through the online registration system.

Symposium Supporting Organisations

Read about our supporting organisations.


Click here to register now. Please note that registration closes 15th June 2017

For further information, please contact

Guidance for Contributors

Read more about our contributor guidance.

Logistical Information


The symposium will take place within the award-winning Whiteknights campus of the University of Reading.

Reading is located approximately 50 km west of London. It is well-served by transport facilities, with fast and frequent rail links to central London, Oxford, Birmingham, Manchester and Southampton and to London/Gatwick airport, a frequent bus service to London's Heathrow airport, and three junctions from the M4 motorway.

Click here to see how to find us.


Read more about the range of accommodation choices available.