Speaker Profile


Ilan Kelman
United Kingdom
University College London & University of Agder (Norway)
A framework for animals and habitats in disaster-related activities.

A disaster is typically defined as a situation requiring external assistance, under the (potentially contestable) assumption that the situation must affect people and society to be a disaster. Animals and the habitats in which they live are part of society. Thus, animals and their habitats should be considered for and involved in all disaster-related activities, before, during, and after. This straightforward statement has produced divergent theories, policies, and practices which this presentation aims to bring together in a consistent framework. The proposed framework comprises five groups, sometimes overlapping, of animals and their habitats impacting and being impacted by disaster-related activities: companion animals, service animals, livelihood animals, captive animals, and wildlife. Questions arise about animals contributing to a disaster by being a hazard themselves. Considering animals and habitats necessarily leads to considering ecosystem approaches, including nature-based disaster risk reduction, while further suggesting ethical and practical conundrums about rights for, responsibilities of, and disaster definitions relevant to non-human individuals and collectives.

Ilan Kelman is Professor of Disasters and Health at University College London, England and a Professor II at the University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway. His overall research interest is linking disasters and health, including the integration of climate change into disaster research and health research. This covers three main areas: (i) disaster diplomacy and health diplomacy; (ii) island sustainability involving safe and healthy communities in isolated locations; and (iii) risk education for health and disasters.