In the past decades, geo-disasters triggered by typhoon, landslide, debris flow, earthquake, tsunami, and volcanic eruption frequently occurred in Asia. These disasters caused great loss of human life as well as huge damage of infrastructure and property. As disasters are serious threats to the human society, the reduction of geo-disasters has become an urgent and critical issue for the safety of communities and their economic development.
Before the official establishment of the ICGdR in 2013, the core members have conducted preparatory activities for 10 years. In 2003 the first symposium was held at Kanazawa University, Japan for the mitigation of geo-disasters in the areas around Japan Sea. This pioneering event drew attention of researchers and engineers from China, Korea and Japan. The second, third and fourth symposia were also held at Kanazawa University. Then, the fifth and sixth symposia were held in Xi’an and Kunming in China respectively. In 2009 the symposium was renamed as “The International Symposium on Mitigation of Geo-disasters in Asia” to include more countries and cover larger area, and the seventh event was held in Harbin, China. The Eighth and Ninth symposia were held in Vladivostok, Russia in 2010, and Yogyakarta, Indonesia in 2011, respectively. Gradually, the event evolved from a regional meeting to a regular international conference. In 2012, Shimane University, Japan organized the tenth event of the symposium, and about 100 participants attended this event. During the symposium, a field trip from Sendai, via Hotaka and Kyoto, to Matsue was made to investigate the disasters caused by earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, and landslides. To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the continuous event, the core members collaborated to publish “The Progress of Geo-disaster Mitigation Technology in Asia” with Springer to show the progress of geo-disaster mitigation technologies in Asia. According to a regional initiative from Asia, the participants, most of them are experts on geo-disaster reductions, had an intent to establish an international consortium on geo-disaster reduction. In May 2013 the organizing meeting of the International Consortium on Geo-disaster Reduction (ICGdR) was held in China Institute of Disaster Prevention, Beijing, China. The legal registration was completed in August 2013 in Matsue, Japan.
In 2013 the 11th symposium was successfully held in Kathmandu, Nepal. Because the importance of geo-disaster reduction for the Nepalese society, the Nepalese prime minister attended this event signifying the great importance of an active and application oriented research on geoenvironmental hazards. As a result of the success of the last ten symposia, the core members of ICGdR reached a consensus on opening the symposium from Asia to the whole world. So the symposium was officially renamed as “International Symposium on Geo-disaster Reduction (ISGdR)”, and kept the number continually. The 12th to 15th ISGdRs were held in Fullerton (California, USA), Prague (Czech Republic), Chengdu (China), and Oki Islands – Matsue – Kyoto (Japan). Besides, the training course for landslide disaster reduction was organized by National Taiwan University in Taiwan from 2013 yearly. The course focused on advanced technology of hazard assessment and mitigation of landslide and debris flow hazards with lectures and practices. A training course on earthquake disaster reduction has also been conducted in China Institute of Disaster Prevention since 2014.
With firm foundation from past preparatory activities, the ICGdR is devoted actively to reduce geo-disasters in populated areas and make a positive contribution for communities and human society especially in vulnerable areas.
In April 2017, cooperating with Shimane University, Japan, an application to “UNESCO Chair on Geoenvironmental Disaster Reduction” was submitted to UNESCO. The application was adopted in August 2017, and the UNESCO Chair will be established in January 2018.