Public Lecture

Date: Thursday 25 March 2021

Time: 4.30pm - 5.30pm

Venue: The Dunedin Centre

Cost: Free courtesy of EQC

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Hugh Cowan

Hugh Cowan

The Public Lecture will be delivered by Hugh Cowan. Hugh will talk about New Zealand natural hazard and risk – and opportunities to become more resilient as a community, as our cities age and continually renew.

Until last year, Hugh Cowan guided EQC’s investment in hazard risk research and its reinsurance programme for more than a decade. He previously led the establishment of New Zealand’s geological hazard monitoring system “GeoNet” at the Crown Research Institute, GNS Science, and earlier worked in the Americas and Scandinavia on international disaster risk reduction and infrastructure development projects. Hugh is a graduate of the University of Canterbury and Victoria University of Wellington; a Fellow and Life Member of the NZ Society for Earthquake Engineering; and a member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors.

Natural Hazard Risk - Treatment Options for Resilience

What does it mean to assess and manage natural hazard risk? The treatment of risk involves four options - Avoidance, Control, Transfer or Acceptance – ACTA for short. Each of these demands a level of awareness and knowledge sufficient to consider certain trade-offs, for example ‘likelihood versus consequences’, and ‘costs versus benefits of mitigation’, over time. Rarely is this optimal except with hindsight, so the challenge is to make good use of science to inform judgement and to apply lessons learned. The crucial ingredient for success is engagement among diverse interests. Shared learning and collaboration help shape priorities and drives action. The lecture will explore these opportunities and challenges to adapt successfully to hazard risks in New Zealand.