12-14 December 2010 (Thimphu, Bhutan)
The International Conference on Disaster Management and Cultural Heritage "Living in Harmony with the Four Elements" was held on 12-14 December 2010 in Thimphu, Bhutan. This was the first large-scale international conference to be held in Bhutan; it attracted 55 international participants from 23 countries, as well as 98 participants from around Bhutan, including His Excellency the Prime Minister Lyonchhen Jigmi Y. Thinley, and Ms. Margarita Wahlstrom, the United Nations' Assistant Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and Special Representative of the Secretary General for the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action. This conference was organized by the Department of Disaster Management and the Department of Culture, Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs, Bhutan, and was supported by UN/ISDR, UNESCO, UNDP, GFDRR, and the World Bank. During this conference, participants discussed the following five themes. The results are reported in the Thimphu Document. a. Policy and Institutional Framework for Disaster Management b. Technical Aspects of Disaster Management c. Traditional Practices for Disaster Risk Reduction d. Post-Disaster Recovery of Cultural Heritage e. Capacity Building and Networking This document will be reported to the next Global Platform in Geneva on 8-13 May 2011, and the Climate Summit for a Living Himalayas Bhutan 2011. The ADRC dispatched Mr. Masaru Arakida, Senior Researcher, to introduce historical disaster management techniques and community-based early warning systems, and to propose an implementation strategy for Bhutan.
After the conference, he visited Punakha and paid a courtesy call on the provincial governor, investigated damages caused by flooding in 2009, and visited candidate sites for rain gauges along the upstream areas of the Mo-chu River. ADRC will hold a workshop on disaster education and disaster drills for residents, including students and monks, in the Mo-chu area, and also will hold a class to teach people how to make rain and river gauges that can be managed by the local community.