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Strengthening Resilience Through Disaster Risk Reduction

Call for papers

Strengthening Resilience Through Disaster Risk Reduction Commonwealth Small States Centre of Excellence (SSCOE) Research Conference
Valletta, Malta, 29 – 31 January 2019

The Commonwealth Small States Centre of Excellence (SSCOE) welcomes papers from practitioners, experts and academicians alike on the role of disaster risk reduction (DRR) in building the resilience of small states and invites their participation at the Annual Research Conference on Small States (ARCSS) which is scheduled for 29-31 January 2019 in Valletta, Malta. The theme for this Research Conference is “Strengthening Resilience through Disaster Risk Reduction”.


The Commonwealth Small States Centre of Excellence is a joint initiative of the Government of Malta and the Commonwealth Secretariat established to support and provide capacity to small states in their attainment of national and international development goals. Based in Malta and with a coordinating office at the Secretariat in London, the Centre has linkages across the world, primarily through the thirty-one small states of the Commonwealth. The SSCoE was officially launched at the Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting (CHOGM) in April, 2018, in London.

The priority areas of the Centre include, but are not limited to: public debt management; natural disaster management and mitigation; youth entrepreneurship; diplomatic training; women and enterprise; and ocean governance.  These priorities are supported through four delivery modes: ‘Capacity Building’, ‘Knowledge Management’, Technical Assistance’ and ‘Communities of Practice’.

Under ‘knowledge management’, the Centre will convene an Annual Research Conference on Small States (ARCSS) to discuss the latest dynamics and thinking on certain topical issues.  This Conference will also act as a platform for sharing and disseminating information and best practices amongst key small states’ stakeholders.  


Mounting economic costs and humanitarian losses from natural disasters, including extreme weather events resulting from climate change, have led to an acceleration of efforts to enhance disaster resilience practices, particularly with regards to prevention and preparedness measures. In 2015, countries formalised these efforts by committing to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.

The ARCSS is aimed at gathering information related to progress with DRR, challenges encountered along the way and key lessons learned to help small states and other regional and international stakeholders. The ARCSS will also guide SSCoE on priority actions and advocacy strategies for supporting small states with DRR.   

Paper topics

Papers should relate to the overall theme “Strengthening Resilience through Disaster Risk Reduction in Small States”, and should aim to address specific topics including:

  1. Environmental Governance: The importance of governance to DRR; steps to instituting governance in DRR; key challenges encountered in setting-up sound governance structures for DRR; key ingredients for an inclusive disaster preparedness, response, recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction; and could ensuring environmental governance is integrated into national development plans and strategies.  
  2. Information Communications Technologies (ICT): The role of ICT in DRR, including: ICT challenges in DRR in small states; mechanisms to strengthen ICT systems in DRR; how ICT could be funded/financed; and the role of national, regional and international stakeholders in strengthening ICT systems in DRR.
  3. Capacity Building: The importance of appropriate capacity in DRR and how this relates to small states; specific capacity constraints in DRR in small states; measures to addressing these constraints.
  4. Financing: Key challenges that small states encounter in investing in DRR; practical mechanisms for channeling more investments into DRR for resilience; engaging the private sector and CSOs to increase investment in DRR for resilience; innovations for attracting investment and reducing the cost of DRR; and achievements in strengthening DRR for resilience as a result of investment.
  5. Blockchain: The use of blockchain as a technology facilitating alternative funding pathways. Potential use of blockchain as a distributed, trustless network technology in key phases of DRR.
Submission details and timelines

Paper abstracts should be submitted by 31 October. Submissions should include a title, an abstract of no more than a 1000 words (with sufficient details on the significance of the research question(s), country/regional coverage, conceptual framing, methodological route and key findings). In addition, a brief biography (maximum of 100 words) including full names of the authors (maximum of two), nationality, institutional affiliation, and full contact details.

Draft papers
Draft papers of between 6,000 to 7,000 words are expected by 30 December 2018. These should include the full references, images/tables, graphs and any citations as necessary. Please note that only previously unpublished papers or those not already committed elsewhere can be accepted.

The Centre plans to publish an edited volume of selected papers presented in this Conference and as such, by submitting a draft paper, you agree to have your paper published by the SSCoE if selected for inclusion. The ARCSS publication will be launched at the forth-coming Commonwealth Global Biennial Conference on Small States (GBCSS), scheduled for March 2019 in Samoa.

Please submit your abstract, using the provided paper proposal form below to Mr. Wonderful Hope Khonje at w.khonje@commonwealth.int and Ms. Gabriella Cassola gabriella.cassola@gov.mt by 31 October 2018. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by the Friday 2 November 2018.

 Paper proposal form