The International Training Course on Disaster Risk Management of Cultural Heritage was introduced at RitsDMUCH, Kyoto in the year 2006, as part of the UNESCO Chair Programme. A Special Thematic Session on Risk Management for Cultural Heritage had been organised during the World Conference on Disaster Reduction (UN-WCDR) in January 2005 in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan. One of the outcomes of the conference was highlighting the urgent need for the academic community to develop rigorous scientific research, education and training programmes incorporating cultural heritage in both its tangible and intangible manifestations, into the subject areas of risk management and disaster recovery. RitsDMUCH had already been preparing for an International Training Course; and the recommendations of the conference helped steer the planning of such courses. The course, now in its ninth consecutive year has significantly evolved and has become popular among professionals, researchers and decision makers from the cultural heritage as well as disaster management sides.
The course includes field‐based learning, class lectures and presentations. Additionally, academic support is provided by the resource persons to the course participants for developing disaster risk management plans for cultural heritage properties in their respective countries. This course has been organised in cooperation with the World Heritage Centre and the Division of Cultural Heritage at UNESCO, ICCROM, ICOMOS, and Agency for Cultural Affairs as well as other relevant institutions of the government of Japan. However due the limited resources, only 8‐10 applicants are trained annually through this course. Considering the increasing need for capacity building in this area, it is important that the vast body of experience from this course available in the forms of its academic content, pedagogy as well organisation and methodology is communicated to a global audience. It is essential that similar courses are organised by institutions/organisations in other regions of the world. Therefore RitsDMUCH decided to develop the Training Guide for Disaster Risk Management of Cultural Heritage in Urban Environment with the support of UNESCO World Heritage Centre and ICCROM.
RitsDMUCH intends to act as the hub for institutions concerned with organising such courses and also as a resource bank for experts as well as teaching material. It is willing to contribute as a hub until similar organisations are well established and able to function independently.