Monday, October 21, 2013

Addressing Safety & Sustainability of Infrastructures in Hazard-Prone Countries

Keynote Paper delivered at Nagoya University's
International Forum on CE Infrastructure Technology Transfer, 31 August 2013
“Civil Engineers shall hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public and shall strive to comply with the principles of sustainable development in the performance of their duties.” This is one of the fundamental canons of the Code of Ethics of Civil Engineers. The task of a civil engineer includes provision of safe, reliable and comfortable infrastructures for housing, transport, communication, water supply and sanitation, energy, commercial and industrial activities to meet the needs of a growing population. Today, there is an increasing demand for civil engineers to focus their efforts on the protection and preservation of the environment. With the increase in severity and frequency of natural disasters that devastated both developing and advanced countries,  planning, design and construction of infrastructures that are safe for people and at the same time reduce their impact on further deterioration of the environment becomes a major challenge. Civil engineers who are experts in the various fields of specialization in structural engineering, transportation engineering, water resources engineering, geotechnical engineering and construction engineering must embed in their tasks disaster risk reduction especially in hazard-prone regions – for when they do this, they not only address safety but also sustainability – two important issues for maintaining the balance and harmony between the built and natural environment.
Living in hazard-prone regions. Achieving safety and sustainability is a major challenge in regions or countries that are vulnerable to adverse natural hazards like earthquakes, typhoons, floods, volcanic eruptions, drought and tsunamis. The vulnerabilities of the built environment to a hazard depend on the safety provided and sustainability features. The disaster will have impacts on both the built and natural environment.