The times described below are in British Summer Time time zone.

Wednesday, 19th May 2021

11.00 - 12.00: Setting the scene

Today’s disruptions are much more interconnected and complex – our traditional models of dealing with emergencies are likely to be overwhelmed if we don’t start to think differently. What is the overall landscape? What areas do we need to improve, and how?


  • Craig Fugate, Former Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • Paolo Garonna, Secretary-General, FeBAF
  • Eric McNulty, Associate Director, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Moderator)
  • Rupert Douglas-Bate, Chairman & Founder, Global MapAid

12.50 - 13.50: The global landscape – Communication: Toxification and polarisation

How are the increasing schisms online spilling over into the real world? What are the real life effects that emergency responders are seeing, and how do they communicate critical safety advice and information in an era of increasing mistrust? 


  • Dr Jennifer Hesterman, Vice President, Education Services, Watermark Risk Management
  • Peter Coleman, Co-Executive Director, The Earth Institute - Columbia (Moderator)
  • Nigel Singer, Mediation and Conflict Resolution Expert
  • Natasha Mudhar, Founder, The World We Want

14.00 - 15.00: What’s next on the emergency agenda? From a Pandemic to Climate Change?

We need to be thinking and planning in a more holistic and long term manner with regard to disasters and emergency response. This means understanding the nexus between increasing severity of disasters, governance, climate and the cascading consequences of conflict, social disturbances and how these intersect with daily operations and future planning.


  • Prof Steven Pyne, Emeritus Professor, Arizone State University
  • Alice Hill, Senior Fellow for Energy and Environment, Council on Foreign Relations (Moderator)
  • Prof Johann Goldammer, Director, Global Fire Monitoring Centre

15.45 - 16.45:  Intelligence versus information in emergencies

Today’s responders have myriad information sources in a disaster or emergency, but how to use this intelligence effectively? How do we avoid information overload, and what can we learn from other disciplines? This session will showcase examples that work, including the UK Situation Centre.


  • Brigadier David Russell-Parsons, Assistant Director, Cabinet Office - Civil Contingencies Secretariat
  • Andrew Staniforth, Director of Innovation, Saher Europe (Moderator)
  • Commissioner Georgeina Whelan, Emergency Services Agency

16.50 - 17.50:  Procurement and Supply Chain Management in Emergencies

Globally, Covid-19 has laid bare the vulnerabilities and fragility of our supply chains, both for society and in emergency response. What happens when supply chains for emergency services – including PPE, face masks and even vehicles – are severed? What happens when supply chains that were previously considered robust are revealed to be fragile? What can we learn from the private sector? This panel will discuss all these areas, and more.


  • Mr John McFall, Amazon Web Services
  • Mr Alan J Brown, Groups Security & Resilience Director, Tesco
  • Mr Lewis Curtis, Co-Founder and Director, Services Disaster Response, Microsoft
  • Mike O'Neill, Group Managing Director Optimal Risk (moderator)

Thursday, 20th May 2021

9.35 - 10.35: Design Perspectives for Emergency Response

The WHF Design competition aims to find innovative solutions across sectors to improving emergency responses. More details on how you can submit a proposal to our design competition will be available closer to WHF London. 


  • Dr Anjali Mazumder, Theme Lead on AI and Justice & Human Rights, Turing Institute
  • Dr Lisa Thomas, Lecturer in Design, Lancaster University
  • Mr David Wales, Founder, SharedAim Ltd
  • Mr Jonathan Collie, Co-Founder, The Age of No Retirement

11.00 - 12.00: Urbanisation, cities and future planning through design

More than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas, and this is increasing dramatically. In that process, environmental degradation of the environment continues apace, with a dangerous proximity of humans, livestock and natural wildlife = an incubator of dangerous pathogens. Informal settlements and rapid urbanisation are one of the biggest drivers of risk. How can we ensure that cities are designed with disaster risk reduction and resilience in mind, while making them sustainable and maintaining economic viability, as well as places where people and businesses can thrive? 


  • Idrees Rasouli, Associate Professor and Deputy Head of Cambridge School of Art, and Founder & CEO of X-Crop
  • Prof Elizabeth Dean Hermann, Professor of Urbanism and Landscape, Rhode Island School of Design
  • Emily Hough, Editor in Chief, Crisis Response Journal (Moderator)
  • Dr Albrecht Beck, Director, PPI and Head, Knowledge Hub for Urban Disaster Risk Reduction

12.50 - 13.50: Future of emergency management and planning

Emergency management has been challenged over the last 18 months or so, underlining the vital need for governments, responders and society to understand the risks and work together to face them. Do we need to rethink our understanding of emergency management and response? This session brings in international perspectives on pioneering initiatives and new ways to prepare for, mitigate and act in large scale emergencies.


  • Lyndon Bird, Chief Knowledge Officer, DRI International
  • Daniel Seet, Senior Director, Operations Department, SCDF
  • Sebastian Bassett-James, Director, Strategic Partnerships, Emergency Planning Society (Moderator)
  • Zal Rustom, Chairman, Argo UK Resilience

14.00 - 15.00: Future of Emergency Services: Challenges and Opportunities

Technology such as artificial intelligence and robotics are transforming the way that emergency services plan and respond to incidents. But the ever more frequent and intense disasters, coupled with societal change around the globe are putting increased pressure on emergency services. What is the future? Should we be rethinking how our emergency services operate and interact with the communities they serve? What is the role of technology in this context?


  • Mr David Wales, Founder, Shared Aim Ltd (Moderator)
  • Dr Nicola Millard, Principal Innovation Partner, BT
  • Mr Teong How Hwa, Deputy Commissioner, Future Technology & Public Safety, SCDF
  • Dr Robert MacFarlane, Deputy Director, Cabinet Office - Civil Contingencies Secretariat

15.45 - 16.45: Future Global Health

Covid-19, as terrible as it is, may not even be the ‘Big one’. Disease X, antimicrobial resistance, virus mutations, a deep mental health crisis and other, as yet unknown, threats loom on the horizon. These, coupled with a possible resurgence of old foes, exacerbated by climate change, look set to transform the responses required in emergency medicine and global health. This session will look at these issues and the possible risk drivers, while extrapolating advice and practical solutions for the future. 


  • Dr Mike Drayton, Fellow, UK Cabinet Office Emergency Planning College
  • Dr Gregory Ciottone, Chair, WADEM
  • Dr Satchit Balsari, Centre for Health and Human Rights, Harvard FXB
  • Dr Peter Patel, Founder and International Director of the Faculty of Disaster Medicine, Sri Ramachandra University (moderator)

17.00 - 17.45: Fireside Chat - What’s next? Future trends in Emergency Management


  • Margaret Heffernan
  • Eric McNulty, Associate Director, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Emily Hough, Editor in Chief, Crisis Response Journal (Moderator)
  • Michelle Wucker, Author, The Grey Rhino

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