The UNESCO Chair set up at the University of Florence and dedicated to the prevention and sustainable management of hydrological hazard officially commences its activity on 27 October at 9.30 a.m. at the Auditorium Sant'Apollonia - via San Gallo, 25/a, Florence.
After the welcome greetings by the University President, Luigi Dei, and the local authorities, Blanca Elena Jiménez-Cisneros, the director of the UNESCO Division in Hydro Sciences will deliver the introductory talk. Jiménez-Cisneros is also the secretary to the International Hydrological Programme.
This is the first chair of applied research that Italy has proposed within UNESCO in this field and has been recently established with head office at the University of Florence upon the initiative of the Departments of Earth Sciences and Civil and Environmental Engineering.
The chair – set up to promote the exchange and circulation of knowledge between the academic world and the community – deals with global issues in which our University is an internationally recognised centre of excellence.
The University of Florence has long since been involved in research, development and cooperation activities for the prevention and reduction of hydrological hazard in view of conservation of UNESCO World Heritage List sites of which a sizeable number are in Italy.
For such work, the University has obtained numerous awards, including, since 2008, that of World Centre of Excellence for the International Programme for Landslides of UN-ISDR (the United Nation Office for Disaster Risk Reduction)
The teaching staff and researchers of the chair's proposing group have participated in recent years to many missions for the protection of heritage threatened by hydrological hazards in developing countries among which Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Jordan, Albania, North Korea, Bolivia, Peru (Machu Picchu), Ethiopia, Egypt.
Heading the chairis Paolo Canuti, former lecturer of Applied Geology at the University of Florence. Canuti has also served as president of the International Consortium on Landslides, establishing in the process the research group hosted by the Department of Earth Sciences and currently coordinated by Nicola Casagli. Among the teaching staff of the University of Florence involved in the UNESCO project are Sandro Moretti and Carlo Alberto Garzonio of the Department of Earth Sciences and Giorgio Federici, Enio Paris and Fabio Castelli of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
The conference takes place in combination with the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the big flood of 4 November 1966. Many are the speakers and the topics covered. Here the full programme.