Call for Applications: Disaster Risk Management Summer University in Khorog, Tajikistan

Date: 03 April 2019
June 16-28, 2019 

Application Deadline: April 30 2019

The University of Central Asia's (UCA) Mountain Societies Research Institute (MSRI) together with the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) and the University of Bern, Institute of Geography are pleased to announce a call for applications for the Disaster Risk Management Summer University 2019. The Summer University is a part of the development project Creating Opportunities in a Safe Environment (COSE), funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

Risk from natural hazards impact human lives, livelihoods, and assets throughout the Pamir, Hindu Kush, Tien Shan, and Karakoram Mountains. These threats to settlements and infrastructure are not new. However, intensified land use, higher complexity of societies, higher concentration of values, as well as effects of climate change constitute new challenges for DRR specialists, emergency managers, and land-use planners. The consideration of risks in development planning (mainstreaming), preparedness (response capacity), and design of protective measures requires a full understanding of hazards, vulnerabilities, and risks to various stakeholders, including all aspects of risk reduction as well as socio-economic aspects. Locally-based but internationally supported research, tertiary education, and training associated with the  understanding and assessment of hazards, risks, and DRR are of utmost importance in this mountainous and hazard-prone part of the world.

The 2015 debris flow events in Barsem (outside of Khorog) from 2015 will serve as an excellent training case study for this summer university. Issues of magnitude and frequency of hazards and risks, effects of climate change, and local community understanding and interpretation of mountain hazards will constitute a focus of this SU. Beyond that, measures of and solutions to major hazards related to land degradation, which are threatening many areas and communities will be featured. In this context, instruments and approaches such as ‘integrated watershed management’ (IWSM) and ‘sustainable land use’ (SLM) will be discussed in a case study area in Muminabad, Khatlon.

Learning Objectives
Participants from universities as well as from government and non-government agencies will work on the assessment and management of risks from mountain hazards. Combining regional practitioner’s experience and international knowledge, the workshop will offer both scientific and practical skills in disaster risk reduction.

After the Summer University, the participants will: 
  • understand the fundamental frameworks and concepts of DRR and resilience building (hazard, risk, vulnerability, resilience)
  • be able to identify and analyse flood, flash flood, landslide, debris flow and other prevailing hazards in high-mountain environments (magnitude - frequency considerations), assess causes for the initiation of these processes (particularly in light of climate change), and analyse multi-hazard conditions
  • know how to analyse risks in a semi-quantitative and quantitative manner
  • be aware of and consider people's perception of risks and their willingness to invest in increased resilience
  • develop risk reduction concepts based on changing natural and socio-economic conditions
  • be familiar with community and ecosystem-centered DRR approaches and the potential and limitations of CCA strategies for DRR (e.g., Ecosystem-based Adaptation)
Lectures and class-room exercises will be complemented with field exposure and practical work exerises. Khorog and its surroundings offer abundant opportunities to study issues related to hazards and risks.

Who Should Apply?

We invite interested participants from academia, relevant government agencies, NGOs and the private sector.
  • In particular, we are encouraging students majoring interested in hazards from Tajik universities rand undergraduate and graduate students in a similar fields from University of Bern, and BOKU Vienna to apply.
  • For professionals, practitioners, NGOs, and the private sector, we invite candidates holding a university degrees in a relevant field of science. Professionals are required to demonstrate professional and/or academic competency in disaster risk reduction (DRR) or related issues.
  • English is the working language.

Participation Cost

Which costs are to be covered by the participants?
  • Tuition fee: US$300 (US$200 for university students)
  • International travel costs (financial support available upon request*)
  • Food and beverages during the Summer University
Cost covered by the course include: 
  • Local accommodation
  • Travels during the Summer University event, including field trips
  • Costs for documentation
* If you need financial support for international travel, some support can be provided upon request. In this case, please submit a detailed budget listing all travel and related costs at the end of the “Application Form” to be filled.

Application Process

The following documents need to be prepared and submitted online not later than April 30th 2019:
  1. Completed application form;
  2. Curriculum Vitae (CV), including relevant certificates, if any;
  3. Motivation letter (1 page).

* Budget: If you would like to request financial support to your international travel, please submit a detailed budget as requested at the end of the Application Form.
If you have any questions, please contact 
For further information please visit
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