Advancing Disaster Risk Reduction to Enhance Sustainable Development in a Changing World


    The growing frequency and magnitude of extreme environmental events (such as floods, landslides and drought) have intensified research interest in these events, in particular regarding the level of risk they pose in different locations, the vulnerability of communities and their response capabilities. The concept of human security focuses on threats that endanger the lives and livelihoods of individuals and communities. Safeguarding human security requires a new approach and a better understanding of many interrelated variables (such as social, political, economic, technological and environmental factors) that determine the impact of extreme events when they occur.

    The overall goal of the Intensive Summer Course is to increase awareness regarding the complexity and importance of vulnerability and resilience in the field of disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA). The course is based on UNU-EHS key research questions, and covers the following major themes:

      • Environmental, physical, social, and economical dimensions of vulnerability;
      • Processes and conditions that have an impact on vulnerability and determine vulnerability patterns (such as human mobility);
      • Measures and activities which enable shifting from vulnerability to resilience policy recommendations (such as the use of insurance and risk transfer);
      • International law and a rights based approach to the 2016/Post-2016 discussions on DRR, development, and climate change;
      • Using methods, models, geospatial technologies and hands-on practical exercises for understanding early warning systems, emergency response preparedness, DRR and CCA;
      • Early Warning Systems and Geospatial Technologies in support of disaster management, emergency response preparedness, DRR and CCA;
      • Disaster coordination and management within national and international organizations (including Simulation Exercise).

    The time allotted for the Course is two weeks.

    The Course is designed for academics and practitioners working in related fields who have already obtained (or are in the process of obtaining) a master’s degree. Commonly held master’s degrees are in geography, economics, social science, engineering, anthropology, environmental and/or natural science or related disciplines, along with basic experience in vulnerability, risk and/or disaster management.


  • PhD and/or Master Students in geography, economics, social science, engineering, anthropology, environmental and/or natural science or related disciplines

    • Doctorate candidates – in the early stages of PhD research or about to begin PhD studies
    • Master’s candidates – in late stages of study


    • Experienced Practitioners working in fields related to vulnerability, risk and/or disaster management who hold a Bachelor’s Degree.
    • Fluency in English (B1/2)
    • Basic computer user knowledge
  • Interested Applicants must submit: 

    • A completed Application form  (REQUIRED)
    • Résumé/CV: A current résumé including a chronological listing of employment and other significant activities. (REQUIRED)
    • Motivation letter: Applicants must provide a written statement, one to two pages in length, describing their motivation, relevance of their research/ educational background and practical experience relevant to the course, and why they feel participation in this course is relevant to their future work. (REQUIRED)
    • One letter of recommendation. (REQUIRED)
    • For non-native English speakers, English language proficiency certificate. (RECOMMENDED)

    Only digital versions sent via email will be accepted.  We do not accept applications sent via post.  Completed application packets must be received by the date of deadline, 31 March 2017, 23:59 CET (Central European Time) for Bonn, Germany.

    Any applications received with timestamps of 24:00 CET or later for the following day will be automatically excluded.

  • If you have additional questions that are not answered in our FAQ section, please send us an Email:

  • The main objectives of the course are to:

    • Increase awareness about the complexity and importance of vulnerability and resilience in DRR and CCA;
    • Explore options to reduce vulnerability and risk by improving adaptation capacities;
    • Understand the principles and approaches of ecosystem based disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation (EcoDRR/CCA);
    • Increase awareness of synergies with development planning processes and biodiversity conservation;
    • Increase awareness of Geospatial technologies and Early Warning Systems for Disaster Risk Management;
    • Learn about Coordinated Assessment and Information Management within the United Nations System;
    • Increase understanding of human-made hazards in relation to urban vulnerability and e-Waste; and
    • Learn about empirical research on environmentally induced migration, legal aspects of climate change and loss and damage.
  • For questions or further information about the UNU-EHS Intensive Summer Course please contact us via Email: