What is UNESCO Chair?

UNITWIN/UNESCO Chair Programme, established in 1992, promotes international cooperation and networking between universities. It helps reinforce higher education institutions worldwide, bridge the knowledge gap, mobilize university expertise, and collaborate around the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. (source https://en.unesco.org/themes/higher-education/unitwin).

When UNESCO Chair Programme on Cultural Heritage and Risk Management start?

In 2003, Ritsumeikan University established the Research Center for Disaster Mitigation of Urban Cultural Heritage aiming a base international hub for education and research in Disaster mitigation of cultural heritage. The recommendations of the thematic meeting on cultural heritage risk management was held in Kobe, Japan, in January 2005 as part of the World Conference on Disaster Reduction (WCDR). Since then, as a follow-up of the recommendations, UNESCO Chair Programme on Cultural Heritage and Risk Management is begun from 2006. 


The UNESCO Chair Programme on Cultural Heritage and Risk Management aims to promote an intensive educational programme, scientific networking, and research works on disaster risk management of cultural heritage. It aims to create sufficient measures for cultural heritage sites to reduce risks to both movable and immovable, as well as tangible and intangible cultural heritage. These disasters are not only caused by natural hazards such as earthquakes, the tsunami, floods, typhoons, landslides, forest fires; but also, human induced hazards like arson, vandalism, terrorism and conflicts including biological hazards.

International Training Course

The INTERNATIONAL TRAINING COURSE (ITC) on DISASTER RISK MANAGEMENT of CULTURAL HERITAGE (ITC) is the principal educational project of the Chair Programme. ITC has been conducted annually under this UNESCO Chair since 2006. The target groups for this course include government institutions, departments, universities, NGOs and private consultants from cultural heritage, as well as relevant disaster management fields. The three-week course is based on lectures by experts, field visits, exercises, and discussions. Ten to fifteen professionals from various countries are trained in each annual course, which is held in Kyoto along with other historic sites in Japan. Until 2019, 152 professionals from 62 countries have been trained through this annual course.

Follow-up Programme

Besides ITC, this Chair also conducted short-term training courses as a follow up programme for various countries to support Disaster Risk Management (DRM) planning, emergency response, recovery, and reconstruction of cultural heritage sites.


The Chair also conducts academic research on the field of disaster risk management in various countries. It also promotes experts, including former participants of ITC and its scientific network, to build disaster risk management planning and implementation systems in historic sites.