Achyut has about 3 decades of experience in the development sector gaining practical knowledge in different kinds of rural infrastructure and livelihood programmes.
After his graduation in Bachelors of Civil Engineering from MA National Institute of Technology, Bhopal, India in 1988, he started his career as an engineer in the Government of Nepal. In expanding the engineering base, he undertook Master’s Degree in Environmental Management and Technology from Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand, and an MA in Sociology from Tribhuvan University, Nepal. He has also completed a management course from the Cranfield School of Management, the UK.
He started his career in the Development Aid sector in 1994 joining Helvetas, a Swiss INGO. He was part of the core team involved in the design of a transport and livelihood programme of DFID in 2000-2001. Later he continued in implementation of same programme as Deputy Team Leader in the beginning and later as Team Leader until early 2006. He joined Practical Action, a UK based INGO as the Country Director of Nepal Programme in March 2006.
He has been working as Practical Action’s South Asia Regional Director since April 2012. He has been guiding Practical Action’s development management programmes across Climate & Resilience, Renewable Energy; Agriculture & Markets and WASH programme and and projects in Nepal, Bhutan, India and Sri Lanka. He is also steering committee member of Duryog Nivaran, a South Asia Regional Network on DRR. He has been the key note speaker in several regional conventions and seminars in climate change, disaster risk reduction and development management issues organised in Bhutan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka He has also served as the adviser of Disaster Preparedness Network (DPNet) of Nepal.. He is also the current Chair of Association of INGOs in Nepal since June 2019.
Dr Animesh Kumar is the Deputy Chief of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, based in Bangkok. In this capacity, he coordinates disaster risk reduction policy, and inter-governmental, multi-stakeholder and UN mechanisms in the region.
Before joining this position Dr Kumar held the same position in the UNDRR Regional Office for Africa, based in Nairobi.
In his previous positions, Dr Kumar worked in other UN entities in Africa and Asia, including on a UN secondment to the Government of Ethiopia as their Policy Advisor on DRR and climate change. Dr Kumar has also led risk assessments and profiling in multiple countries, including a series of food security atlases in India, and serves on various committees including on science and technology, urban risk management, business resilience, etc.
Dr Animesh Kumar is a Geographer, and holds an MPhil and PhD in adaptation and sustainability.
Bijay has a long track record in humanitarian and development work, particularly in DRR. He has considerable expertise in leading and managing civil society organisations and networks, gained through hands-on experience working in Africa, Europe, South Asia & South East Asia.
Bijay is a strong advocate of shifting power from the international system to community led capacities, preparedness and response facilitated by the local organisations. He is also a passionate promoter of Human Rights and ‘people power’, both in policy advocacy and implementation.
Elizabeth Dean Hermann
Elizabeth Dean Hermann is a Professor of Urbanism and Landscape at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in Providence, RI USA. She teaches both graduate and undergraduate interdisciplinary courses on the urban built environment; design in the context of social and economic development; urban water issues, poverty and land rights; sustainability and resilience; and critical cartography looking at issues of displacement, place and identity.
Hermann is founder and co-director of TAASI East – the Centre for Transformative Arts, Advocacy and Social Impact, whose work focuses on design-based multiscalar social and economic strategies for under-resourced, post-conflict and post-disaster communities in South Asia and the Americas. Hermann received her Ph.D from Harvard University, her Master degree from the School of Architecture, Art and Design at Cornell, and pursued graduate work in tropical diseases at the School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins.
Krishna S. Vatsa
A disaster management practitioner for 25 years. Worked in the Government of Maharashtra and UNDP in several capacities. Joined the NDMA in May, 2020.
Mihir R. Bhatt
Mihir R. Bhatt studied and practiced architecture and city planning in India, and later Cambridge and Washington DC, USA. On returning to India, he initiated All India Disaster Mitigation Institute (AIDMI). Under his leadership, AIDMI works in 79 cities and 52 districts in India focusing on making schools safer from disaster: local planning for disaster risk reduction; and piloting disaster insurance coverage for the poor. He received Russell E. Train Institutional Fellowship from the World Wildlife Fund, USA; Eisenhower Fellowship, USA; and Ashoka International Fellowship, USA. He Chairs Duryog Nivaran a South Asia Network in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and is on the Independent Panel of Accountability Now, Berlin. He is a member of Gender Working Group of IAP UNISDR, Bangkok.
Mihir was one of the lead co-authors of chapter 9 of the IPCC SREX Report, “Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation” and is often invited to review large national disaster and climate risk reduction programmes across Asia and Pacific.
He is building synergies for Climate Smart Disaster Risk Management (CSDRM) partnerships at various levels in India to strengthen ways of making citizens safer.
Currently he is working on understanding uncertainties and transformation in desert, delta, and coastal metro city areas in India; exploring temporality and hybridity in COVID 19 response by local authorities and NGOs in South Asia; demanding universal social protection for informal sector and migrant workers in Asia Pacific; documenting economic paradox of social distancing in national command and control approach to pandemic; and health and wellbeing blindness of current urban planning.
Monica Khosla Bhargava
Monica Khosla Bhargava is an architecture graduate from Jadavpur University with a Masters in Urban Design from School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi where she was the topper of her batch. She further received a SIDA Fellowship to pursue a Post Graduate Diploma in Architecture and Development Studies at Lund University, Sweden.
As Founder and Principal of KHAM Consultants, Monica has been in practice since 1992 and felicitated with several awards, both national and international. Her projects expressing her spatial, cultural and environmental ethos have been featured extensively. She has been invited to present papers at various conferences in India, Bangladesh, Japan and the United Kingdom and is visiting faculty at the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, Jadavpur University, Om Dayal College of Architecture and INIFD Jaipur. Monica has been editor of the International Newsletter ‘Built Environment’ and was part of the Ministerial Conference at the 3rd World Water Forum, Japan, March 2003 which prepared the Kyoto Declaration on Water.
As President of SPARK, she initiated an urban rejuvenation program for Kolkata’s fine dining and entertainment hub- Park Street, and today, the Park Street Christmas festival is one of the most successful street festivals in the country. She is presently the Secretary of the Institute of Urban Designers India – Kolkata Chapter.
Taher is a founder member and currently a member of the Steering Committee of Duryog Nivaran. He mostly works as a Research and evaluation consultant focusing on policy and programmes related to human, social and institutional development. Based in Bangladesh, Taher has previously worked with different national and international development programmes and organizations. His areas of interest include human and institutional development, reduction of disaster and climate risks, human rights of marginalised people and gender justice.
City and Risk: Achievements and Opportunities
This webinar proposed by the All India Disaster Mitigation Institute (AIDMI) will bring together national disaster management authorities, city authorities, and humanitarian and developmental workers from Asia and the Pacific region to share their experiences in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in their countries.
Data shows that Cities across the world are badly hit and remain extremely vulnerable to the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. After imposing lockdowns, Cities are now moving towards unlocking. However, still, a lot of uncertainty looms around suitable approaches, methods, and strategies for unlocking.
Instead of discussing the pros and cons of lockdowns, this webinar aims at identifying and discussing good practices for unlocking, and thus it is forward-looking. During the webinar, speakers will:
(1) share their experiences in supporting their Cities in addressing the impacts of COVID-19;
(2) what has worked and what has not in response to the COVID-19 at City levels; and
(3) the new and emerging role of City administration in COVID-19 preparedness, response, and recovery.