Post 2005 earthquake, Pakistan witnessed an extraordinary period of improvements in disaster risk management (DRM) and emergency response (ER) institutions. My work, as an avid advocate of institutional strengthening always remained closely associated with government and major non-government organizations working in the sector. Therefore, I can remark that, notwithstanding the presence of relatively robust institutional arrangements at national and sub-national levels, disaster losses have persistently increased over the years, as a result of increased emphasis on managing the disasters, while allocating insufficient efforts towards reducing disaster risks. It is essentially an outcome of reactive approach and strict compartmentalized approach followed in socio-economic development process and disaster risk reduction (DRR) practices. The recommendations of the global frameworks, Sendai Framework for DRR (2015-30) and Sustainable Development Goals -SDGs (2015-30) also stress upon a need for embracing DRM as a holistic process to formulate risk informed development policies and integration of DRR strategies in development practices for reducing risk and building resilience at national, regional and global levels.
Recognizing the importance of developing systematic linkages between DRR and sustainable development policies to reduce disaster risks and building resilience, I intend to expand the focus of my work in future. As a future extension to my current endeavours I plan to help bridge the gap that exists between sustainable development and DRR by supporting mainstreaming risk reduction practices in socio-economic policies and planning process. My current specialized academic qualifications and numerous technical courses in DRM and ER combined with an experience of more than ten years have laid a strong foundation for my career progression. My selection of undermentioned university courses is based on the premise of my need for acquiring conceptual clarity, thorough understanding and comprehensive knowledge of nexus between sustainable development and DRR before embarking on my prospective quest. (i) Disasters, Adaptation and Development – (MA) King’s College London, University of London: The course takes a social development perspective, covering issues such as human vulnerability, poverty alleviation and international development.(ii) Disaster Management and Sustainable Development- (MSc) Northumbria University: The course explores the ways in which sustainable development informs policies at various levels while also touching upon aspects of human health and well-being associated with disasters. The course is supported by the Disaster and Development Network (DDN), providing an opportunity for enhanced professional networking.
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(iii) International Disaster Management-(MSc) University of Manchester: This course adopts a socio-economic and cultural standpoint to study processes that intersect with DRM with an emphasis on understanding the disaster risk governance.Nonetheless, the main focus of all selected study courses remains on critically examining the connection that exists between sustainable development, vulnerability and exposure to the hazards, also referred to as the drivers of risk. These multidisciplinary courses objectively analyse contemporary trends in academic research and policies pertaining to DRR and sustainable development through various dedicated and elective modules, making them perfectly suitable for me to pursue my future career objectives.