Dr. Akhilesh Surjan is an associate professor at Kyoto University. He has successfully engaged with issues of climate and disaster risk reduction and urban environmental management for more than a decade. Currently, he is serving as a Lead Author for the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He is associated with the IPCC’s Working Group-II report that focuses on ‘Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability’ and is scheduled for release in March 2014. He also served as Contributing Author for the UN’s Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction published in May 2011.
While mainly associating with UN agencies, Dr Surjan has also successfully worked in academic, civil society and government institutions in Asia. In the past, he has deliberated upon risk management issues from the platform of Disaster Management Institute, Bhopal (India) - established in the aftermath of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy of 1984. Under UNDP’s Disaster Risk Management Program, he facilitated mainstreaming of community-based disaster preparedness concepts in Indian government’s policy, planning and implementation. As the Project Coordinator for a rural housing project, he coordinated a study that helped Indian government develop housing finance strategy for the rural poor.
Dr Surjan has presented his research in international forums, edited newsletters, project reports, and contributed papers in international journals, peer-reviewed books and global seminars. He is regularly invited to lecture in universities, citizen forums, Governmental/ Non-Governmental forums & conventions, city-networks and other relevant training institutions. In recent years Dr Surjan has competently contributed in academic circles by evaluating postgraduate/doctoral research works for universities located in Asia-Pacific.
His writings have featured in journals, such as, Disaster Prevention and Management; Sustainability Science; Asian Journal of Environment and Disaster Management. He is the author of ‘From Disaster and Climate Risk to Urban Resilience: Approaching through Community Based Environmental Improvement’. Dr Surjan has also contributed chapters in peer-reviewed books, namely: Urban Risk Reduction: An Asian Perspective; Eco-City and Green Community: The Evolution of Planning Theory and Practice; Disaster Management: Global Challenges and Local Solutions; Climate and Disaster Resilience Profile of Asian Cities. His case studies have featured in Climate Change and Cities: First Assessment Report of the Urban Climate Change Research Network – a Cambridge University Press publication. Periodically, he is invited to review manuscript submissions made to major journals in the field of global change and sustainability issues.
While with the UNU, Dr Surjan’s contributions were directed towards issues of urban sustainability, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Other significant aspects of his current responsibilities at the UNU include capacity building and productively collaborating and networking with multi-tiered stakeholders. He is particularly focusing on issues surrounding sustainability of development, and adaptation concerns of emerging cities. At the University, Dr Surjan was the Coordinator of a module on Global Change and Sustainability, offered during UNU International Courses and an Asia-Pacific Initiative course on Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance - a multi-institutional/university collaborative education program. On the whole, Dr Surjan has a very reliable record of successfully generating competitive funding from both intergovernmental and corporate sectors, and is currently acting as the Project Leader for multi-country projects in Asia-Pacific Region.
Dr Surjan was trained at Kyoto University where he successfully completed his doctoral study, an empirical action-research focusing on resilience to environment and disaster risk reduction in the Asia-Pacific region. Dr Surjan is also a trained architect-planner – an interest zone that keeps him enthused when free.