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Over the years, we have gained a high level of competency in key areas of the disaster risk management practice and in the management of complex emergencies.

In 1998, EMI was established as an international scientific organization with the endorsement of ICSU (International Council of Science) and UNESCO. It was charged with a simple and focused mission: To advance knowledge, policy, and practice of urban disaster risk reduction, focusing on megacities and fast-growing metropolises. In December 2003, EMI was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in the Philippines. It undertakes projects globally. Its main focus remains Urban Resilience. Its main offices are in Quezon City, Philippines.

With over two decades of experience we have pioneered the development of effective scientific approaches and analytical tools for Climate and Disaster Risk Management (CDRM). We have worked in some of the most complex cities in the world, to understand risks and define major investments in CDRM that have improved livelihoods, protected lives, upgraded infrastructure, and enhanced the capacity of communities and institutions in managing risks while living in a more productive and safer environment. Our science-based participatory solutions have yielded a legacy of progress and achievements in CDRM and resilience globally.

Our Competencies

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Our Approach

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Board of Trustees

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Our Competencies

Urban Resilience ​Master Planning

ICT-GIS for Risk ​Management

Legal and ​Institutional ​Arrangements for ​Disaster Risk ​Management

Hazard, ​Vulnerability, ​Capacity, and Risk ​Assessment


Integrated ​Emergency ​Management ​System

Risk Sensitive Land ​Use and Urban ​Development ​Planning

Monitoring and ​Evaluation of DRM ​in Urban ​Governance and ​Development

Sectoral Urban ​Resilience

Risk Investment ​Programming

Information, ​Education, and ​Communication ​Campaigns

Training and ​Capacity Building ​for Urban Resilience

Our Approach

Mainstreaming DRR in urban governance and development

Disaster risk reduction and management can only be effective when related strategies, programs, projects, and activities are integrated in various local government functions, responsibilities, and practices. This is referred to as mainstreaming.

In a changing environment caused by climate, natural, and man-made hazards, EMI works with complex cities in mainstreaming DRR in their core functions and processes by engaging city leaders, its citizens including civil society and peoples organizations, academe, private sector, and other key stakeholders in a participatory process that builds ownership, sustainability, and efficient inter-institutional coordination.

Our mainstreaming approach:

  • engages all stakeholders
  • uses sound and convincing science
  • merges science and practice
  • is grounded on reality
  • tested and proven

Developing tools to support local DRM practice

We develop tools to facilitate delivery, sharing, and adaptation of scientific and technical knowledge on urban DRR. We undertake capacity needs assessment studies, resource analyses, and shelter and needs analyses to create baseline knowledge cities and institutions can build on. We conduct training programs to enhance the competency of DRM practitioners worldwide and enhance policy making.

Connecting cities through knowledge sharing mechanisms

We provide opportunities for DRM practitioners, researchers, donors, policymakers and local stakeholders to exchange and promote sound urban resilience practices. EMI forges strategic partnerships with local government organizations to promote DRR, undertake city-to-city sharing, and scale up its own capacities and applications.

Our approach is anchored on the concepts of mainstreaming and co-development to engage stakeholders into strategic planning and problem solving endeavors. We present scientific evidence hand-in-hand with practical applications through collaboration and consultation. We ensure stakeholders are guided and able to own their DRR strategies and actions. We also support governments and other institutions to establish the foundations for efficient solutions and sound policies.


EMI is an international scientific organization formed in 1998 by a renowned group of scholars, scientists and practitioners representing fields of social science, humanities, earth sciences, engineering, public policy and public administration.

In 1999, EMI was recognized as a scientific organization by the International Council of Science (ICSU) after receiving endorsement from three international scientific unions, namely the International Geographical Union (IGU), the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG), and the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS). Its agenda was defined at that time and it received its first grant to start its activities from ICSU. It was incorporated in ICSU’s global research focus on the International Lithosphere Program (ILP) within the ICSU’s scientific research agenda. At the same time, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) provided its endorsement. EMI’s agenda was to continue the accomplishments of the GSHAP (the Global Seismic Hazard Program) taking it from hazard to risk, particularly urban risk and support institutions such as the World Seismic Safety Initiative (WSSI) and the UN Task Force for Disaster Risk Reduction with scientific research and tools to assess and reduce risk to megacities and complex urban areas. In 1999, EMI forged a strategic partnership with METROPOLIS, the organization of the largest global agglomerations to promote DRR and to support training of local officials in DRM.

It also engaged into discussions with ICLEI, UCLG. UNDP, the UNDRR and others to forge the first global network of twenty megacities focusing on DRR and to advocate among donors and international financial institutions for more emphasis and attention on urban risk and the uncontrolled growth of cities in developing countries, which was accumulating risk at an alarming rate. EMI launches the Cluster Cities Program to facilitate sharing and dissemination of knowledge between cities regionally and globally and to create mechanisms for facilitating access to knowledge being developed by research institutions globally, particularly on hazard and risk assessment but also on land use, disaster management, building codes and standards and other fields most relevant to urban development.

During its Board of Trustees meeting in Shanghai in December 2003, and under recommendations from its megacities partners, EMI Board of Trustees unanimously adopted a resolution to establish EMI as a non-stock, non-profit organization in the Philippines in 2003. EMI moved from an advocacy and research coordination organization to an operational organization that can engage into projects to support its megacities partners, in particular and local authorities, in general in establishing sound DRM practices.

In 2005, EMI earned an accreditation from UNDP as an Implementing Agency for the UNDP/Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR) Urban Disaster Risk Reduction Program. At the same time, the organization became a part of the U.N. Inter-agency Task Force for Disaster Reduction.

In 2007, EMI earned its first membership in the UN Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GPDRR), thus recognizing its authoritative knowledge, commitment and advocacy to urban DRR.

In 2009, EMI became a member of the Primary Consultative Group for the Global Campaign on Building a Local Government Alliance for DRR, a worldwide effort spearheaded by the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR).

In 2013, EMI was conferred Special Consultative Status by the UN Economic and Social Council, the highest UN recognition for non-governmental organizations.

EMI is actively involved in several global DRR initiatives such as the UNISDR’s Making Cities Resilient Campaign and the 1 Million Safe Schools and Hospitals Campaign.

Board of Trustees

Dr. Fouad Bendimerad


Dr. Bendimerad has served as consultant and advisor on risk management to several international organizations and corporations, including the World Bank, and United Nations organizations, as well as governments and corporations worldwide. He also served as Principal Scientist to RMS, an acknowledged leader in the development of risk assessment models for the global insurance and reinsurance industry. He is also a former faculty member of the School of Engineering at Stanford University and in charge of the university’s seismic reduction program, which received the ATC-ENR award for being one of the ten top seismic projects in the country. Dr. Bendimerad earned his masters and doctorate degrees in Civil Engineering from the same university, and has written numerous articles and papers on disaster risk assessment and management.

Dr. Laurie A. Johnson FAICP

Vice Chair for Organizational Development

Dr. Johnson is an internationally-recognized urban planner specializing in disaster recovery and catastrophe risk management. For nearly 30 years, she has combined her unique blend of professional practice and research to help communities worldwide address the complex urban challenges posed by natural hazards and disasters. Much of her post-disaster recovery research is captured in her recent book, After Great Disasters: An In-Depth Analysis of How Six Countries Managed Community Recovery (2017). She is the President of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI)—a multi-disciplinary technical society devoted to earthquake risk reduction worldwide, and is also affiliated with New York University’s Global Institute for Public Health Program on Population Impact, Recovery and Resilience. She holds a Doctor of Informatics degree from Kyoto University and a Master of Urban Planning and Bachelor of Science in Geophysics, both from Texas A&M University. In 2018, she was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Dr. Renan Ma. T. Tanhueco

Vice Chair for Program Development

Dr. Tanhueco is an Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at De La Salle University in the Philippines. He is a recognized expert in integrating disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in local development planning and decision-making processes, as well as risk-sensitive land use planning. Dr. Tanhueco holds a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Nagoya University and received his PhD in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of the Philippines, Diliman.

Dr. Friedemann Wenzel

Vice Chair for International Relations

Dr. Wenzel is an emeritus professor at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany and former head of its Geophysical Institute and Center for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Technology. He is a founding member of EMI and has served on its Board ever since its creation. He is a member of several professional societies (EERI, AGU, SSA), of the Heidelberg Academy of Science and Humanities, and of the German Committee for Disaster Reduction, of which he served as chairman of its Scientific Board between 2000 and 2004. His scientific interests include earthquake physics, engineering seismology, geological hazards, and risk mitigation in megacities.

Atty. Violeta Somera-Seva

General Secretary

Atty. Seva is a Legal and Institutional Expert in Disaster Risk Management (DRM), having analyzed the legal and institutional arrangements for DRM in local governments in the Philippines, Jordan, India, and Bangladesh. She was responsible for establishing EMI’s linkages with associations and networks of local authorities such as the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), the Regional Network of Local Authorities for the Management of Human Settlements (CITYNET), the World Association of Major Metropolises (METROPOLIS) and International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) for the promotion of disaster risk reduction in cities worldwide. She was actively involved with the activities of the UNISDR Making Cities Resilient Steering Committee and UNISDR Urban Planning Advisory Group.

Dr. Amaryllis Torres


Dr. Torres is the former Dean of the College of Social Work and Community Development and an affiliate professor of Women and Development Studies at the University of the Philippines, Diliman. She has written several books and scholarly articles on women and development, gender mainstreaming, human resources, child labor, community development, and Filipino social psychology, among others. In 2000, she was awarded by the Women’s Studies Association of the Philippines for her Outstanding Contributions to Women’s Studies in the country. Alongside her academic and administrative posts, Dr. Torres is involved in several local and international research and development projects, as well as in social movements that are working towards women empowerment, rural development, education and third world development, in general. She received her doctoral, masteral, and bachelor’s degrees in Psychology from the University of the Philippines, Diliman.

Dr. Richard V. Sliuzas


Dr. Sliuzas is an Associate Professor of Urban Planning with the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and Geo-Information Management at the University of Twente, Netherlands. His research interests are focused on the use of geo-spatial technologies in planning for sustainable urban development, one aspect of which is the relationship between spatial planning and disasters. He graduated with a Diploma in Technology in Planning from the South Australia Institute of Technology, and earned his MSc in Urban Surveys and Human Settlement Analysis from the University of Twente, and his PhD from the Faculty of Geographical Sciences at the University of Utrecht.

Dr. Renato Solidum


Dr. Solidum is currently the Secretary of the Philippine Department of Science and Technology (DOST). He was the Undersecretary for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Affairs at DOST and the Director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), a post he has held since 2003. He received the 2010 Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award for raising the bar of disaster risk reduction and initiating a nationwide mapping program that generated new information on tsunami-prone areas, useful for local governments in risk-sensitive development planning and disaster preparedness. He holds a Master’s Degree in Geological Science from the University of Illinois and completed his PhD in Earth Science at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, University of California in San Diego. He is a recognized expert in Geochemistry, Marine Geology, Volcano and Earthquake Geology, Geologic Hazards Assessment and Awareness, and Earth Science Education.

Atty. Jejomar C. Binay


Atty. Jejomar C. Binay is the former Vice-President of the Philippines, former Mayor of Makati City, and former Chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority.

As former Mayor of Makati City, he established the Makati Command, Control and Communication (C3) Center, which responds to emergency calls within the city and dispatches emergency response teams from the Makati Rescue, Makati Police, Makati Fire Department and Department of Public Safety, as part of his administration’s commitment to disaster risk management.

As Mayor, Atty. Binay was also actively involved with numerous local and international organizations, as Vice-President for Membership of the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) -Asia Pacific Region and a lifetime honorary member of its World Executive Committee, as a member of the Executive Committee of the Network for Local Authorities for the Management of Human Settlements (CITYNET), and as Chairman of the Finance Sub-Committee of the World Scout Organization. He also placed 4th in the 2006 World Mayor Award, the only Philippine local chief executive to have earned such a distinction so far

As former Chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority, he was also a member of the Executive Committee of METROPOLIS, the world association of major metropolises. He was a former Governor of the Metro Manila Commission as well. Atty. Binay was also a senior executive fellow of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Engr. Farouk Tebbal


Mr. Tebbal held various positions for the Algerian Government in urban development and planning, including senior positions in the government as General Secretary and Minister of Housing and Urban Development. As director of the National Construction Control Agency he supervised the planning and reconstruction process of the city of Alsnam after the 1980 earthquake. He joined UN HABITAT in 2001, and was in charge of the management of the Global Campaign for Secure Tenure that was launched in over 12 countries. He was also a member of the UN Millenium Task Force on Slums. Seconded to the Cities Alliance, a global coalition of cities and their development partners based in Washington DC, he was in charge of the Slum Upgrading portfolio, covering around 50 cities worldwide. He retired recently from the UN system and is currently the lead consultant on urban projects in the MENA region for the German Cooperation Agency (GIZ). Mr. Tebbal earned his Masters degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California Berkeley.

Dr. Hussein S. Lidasan


Dr. Lidasan has been involved in various urban and regional/development planning projects in the Philippines, and in transport planning and logistics in the ASEAN region. Dr. Lidasan was the Dean of the School of Urban and Regional Planning of the University of the Philippines - Diliman (2019 - 2022). He was previously the deputy director of the UP Office of Design and Planning Initiatives, the Director of Graduate Studies in the University of the Philippines School of Urban and Regional Planning, and former Director and current Research and Extension Fellow of the National Center for Transportation Studies at the same university. He is also President of the Transportation Science Society of the Philippines (TSSP). Dr. Lidasan earned his masters degree in Environmental Sciences and doctorate degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Tsukuba in Japan.

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