Building Resilience for Urban Heritage in Time of Changes

The 3rd Training Workshop on Disaster Risk Management for  Southeast Asian Cultural Heritage


  • SEAMEO Regional Center for Archaeology and Fine Arts
  • ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and the Restoration of Cultural Property)
  • Institute of Disaster Risk Mitigation for Urban Cultural Heritage, Ritsumeikan University (R-DMUCH), Kyoto, Japan


  • Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology – Japan (MEXT)


The Southeast Asian region is home to invaluable and significant forms of cultural heritage, ranging from the tangible – such as collections of antiques and objects, ancient monuments, archaeological sites, historic buildings, towns, cities and cultural landscapes – to the intangible – such as customs, relics, music, craftsmanship and traditional lifestyles. In recent years, unpredictable disasters caused by natural hazards, such as flooding, tsunamis, earthquakes, fires and tropical storms, have affected the region’s cultural heritage. Human actions such as tourism, economic development and urban expansion are also dramatically impacting heritage. These hazards can affect heritage at various levels, both locally and regionally. Whether natural or human-induced, disasters affect the physical condition and intangible aspects of heritage. As a result, intervention and action are needed to help protect the region’s heritage. Unfortunately, restoring heritage to its original state can be difficult, and sometimes the damage is irreversible. Disaster risk management for cultural heritage is urgently needed.

Following consultation on “Developing Capacity-Building Activities on Disaster Risk Management for Southeast Asian Cultural Heritage” held in Bangkok, Thailand, from 19 to 21 April 2016, SEAMEO SPAFA, in collaboration with the Institute of Disaster Risk Mitigation for Urban Cultural Heritage, Ritsumeikan University (R-DMUCH) and ICCROM (the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and the Restoration of Cultural Property), has developed and conducted workshops on disaster risk management for cultural heritage. 

At least three workshops will be held at historical Southeast Asian places that comprise various types of cultural heritage. Two workshops were held in 2018 and 2020, and the third is now upcoming.

The first workshop was conducted in Bagan, Myanmar, in 2018 and focused on post-disaster recovery for the living urban archaeological complex. The issue of disaster risk management focusing on post-disaster measures was raised so that Myanmar’s experience could be shared and learnt throughout the region. The workshop included capacity-building activities for conservation practitioners in Myanmar. The workshop considered globally-discussed issues in heritage conservation that are relevant to Bagan, such as living heritage, value-based management, archaeological heritage management, urban conservation and intangible aspects of cultural heritage.

In 2020, the second workshop was held to implement a place-based approach to heritage management. The theme, ‘Understanding People, Nature and Culture: Heritage Management for Building Resilience of Living Settlements,’ centred on increasing resilience for heritage settlements in Southeast Asia through disaster risk management and climate change adaptation. In collaboration with the ICCROM-IUCN World Heritage Leadership Programme, this session aimed to improve conservation practices for culture and nature through the work of the World Heritage Convention, establish the contribution of World Heritage to sustainable development, and strengthen collaboration among diverse partners. The course also looked at ways of integrating climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies with disaster risk management of cultural heritage. It was for this reason that the 600-year-old water village Kampong Ayer, located on the Brunei River at the heart of Bandar Seri Begawan, was chosen as the workshop’s venue - but COVID forced the workshop online. 

The third workshop in this series, to be held in Bangkok in February 2023, concerns disaster risk management in historic urban areas applied to the context of Southeast Asian cities. In the past few years, there has been mounting concern about the potential risks to heritage and local living conditions posed by natural hazards – especially those resulting from climate change. Vulnerabilities caused mainly by human activities are one of the major factors that escalate the severity and frequency of natural disasters’ impacts, including losses and damages. In most Southeast Asian historic quarters, towns or cities, tourism infrastructure and construction, urban expansion and transformation, and population growth can negatively affect local heritage. At the same time, they also catalyze the impacts of natural and human-induced hazards to be more disastrous. 

Overall Objectives

  1. Raise awareness of disaster risk and its impact on cultural heritage in Southeast Asian countries
  2. Introduce the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction to participants
  3. Promote disaster risk management as part of cultural heritage conservation 
  4. Provide the fundamental principles of disaster risk management for cultural
  5. Harness traditional knowledge and local wisdom for the elaboration of risk mitigation measures
  6. Increase recognition of the importance of community participation in cultural
    heritage conservation
  7. Establish a Southeast Asian and international network of collaboration in disaster risk management

Course Aim

  • Guide participants to develop heritage management action plans that take into account the diverse risk factors, vulnerabilities and multiple hazards related to disasters and climate change to solicit management solutions for risk mitigation, adaptation and preparedness for historic urban areas
  • Contribute to the development of a guideline/publication of disaster risk management of Southeast Asian cultural heritage  


The training workshop comprises two main parts:

  1. Interactive lectures by resource persons who have long-standing experience in cultural heritage conservation and disaster risk management for cultural heritage at regional and international levels, i.e., experts from ICCROM, the International Council of Monuments and Sites - International Scientific Committee on Risk Preparedness (ICOMOS-ICORP), UN-Habitat and the World Heritage Centre
  2. On-site workshop activities, including field exercises in historic quarters and other heritage sites in Bangkok and various assignments adapted from the methodologies developed by R-DMUCH and ICCROM

The contents of this workshop will be an interdisciplinary endeavour, combining heritage conservation focusing on historic urban areas, disaster risk management and climate change adaptation.

Course Structure

The course lasts 10 days and will take place both in the classroom and on-site. The course is limited to 25 participants, with 11 of these slots reserved for SEAMEO member states. The remaining slots are open to applicants from any region.


Participants should:

  1. Preferably be mid-career (5-10 years of experience) Southeast Asian or Asian professionals working in cultural heritage conservation as architects, landscape architects, archaeologists, engineers, heritage site managers, etc., who can make effective apply the results of the course upon returning to their home countries;  or those with the potential to work with heritage, who may be part of a heritage office/authority, risk management agency, urban development institution or a living community 
  2. Be fluent in English to allow discussion, exchanges and presentations
  3. Be able to attend the entire training programme
  4. Be in good health and able to participate in the training programme
  5. Submit all of the required documents by the deadlines
  6. Be in a position to continue to exchange information and interact with the organizer after returning to their home countries

Course Fee 

750 USD  

Travel, accommodation and living expenses

The course fee covers lunch (ten days) and accommodation (12 nights on a shared basis). Participants will be responsible for their round-trip travel costs to and from Bangkok, Thailand. Candidates are strongly encouraged to seek financial support from sources such as governmental institutions, employers and funding agencies and inform the organizer of any ongoing applications or funding secured. 

One participant from each SEAMEO member state will have all expenses covered by SEAMEO SPAFA, including travel, food and accommodation. Up to five participants from Thailand will be provided with domestic transportation and meals.


Please send the application form with your curriculum vitae (CV) and a copy of your passport by 15 December 2022 to: