How can we adapt the built environment to mitigate the effects of climate change during design, construction, and retrofitting?

Global climate change is one of the greatest environmental threats and affects every country on every continent. However, coastal regions are especially vulnerable to climate change because, in addition to changes in temperature, precipitation, and more frequent flooding, they will be affected by rising sea levels, wave heights, and accelerated coastal erosion. Coastal areas are also highly populated, with vulnerable urban centres near the coastal belt.

In order to better protect these urban centres, adaptation to climate change will be vital. In addressing this adaptation challenge, there is a need to change the way in which we design, construct, retrofit, and maintain the built environment.In the process of climate change adaptation, the adaptation measures in the built environment during design, construction and retrofitting become the kick-off point since it will dictate the outset of the built environment in future. In addressing this adaptation challenge there is a clear need to change the way in which design, construct, retrofitting, and maintenance is done to accommodate the anticipated changes. In framing the climate adaptation challenge for the built environment, it is most appropriate to align this in line with the SDGs and SFDRR as they demarcate and set out the global standards in addressing the climate change impacts, climate change as a key enabler for disasters, and sustainable development.

The BEACON (Built Environment leArning for Climate adaptatioN) project, a collaborative research effort co-funded by the EU Erasmus+ programme of the European Union, aims to enhance efforts on climate change adaptation in the built environment in coastal regions. In this session, members of the BEACON team will share emerging findings from the research, including insights into the climate change adaptation process in the coastal built environment, aligning with the three landmark global agendas: the Paris Agreement; the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030. Feedback from attendees will be used to guide the next stage of the research.

Planned Interventions


The need for climate change adaptation for the built environment .



Climate change adapataion strategies for built environment during design, construction and retrofitting stages, in particular for coastal regions



Opportunities and constraints in this process and also associated with pursuing the three global agendas collaboratively within the context of built environment in coastal regions: the Paris Agreement on Climate Change; the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030


Session Objective

To understand how we can adapt the built environment to mitigate the effects of climate change during design, construction, and retrofitting stages.

Target Audience

Built Environment Professionals; Representatives of Built Environment Professional Bodies; Key Stakeholders of Climate Change Adaptation Covering Policy Makers; Climate Change and Disaster Management Practitioners; and Academics. 

For further information: please visit the website at http://beacon-researchproject.org/ or contact Shavindree.Nissanka@hud.ac.uk


Prof. Dilanthi Amaratunga

University of Huddersfield, UK


Prof. Ranjith Dissanayake

University of Peradniya, Sri Lanka


Prof. Janaka Ruwanpura

University of Calgary, Canada


Prof. Nishara Fernando

University of Colombo, Sri Lanka


Eng. Shiromal Fernando

Managing Director, Civil & Structural Engineering Consultants (Pvt) Limited



Eng. (Dr.) Asiri Karunawardena

Director General, National Building Research Organisation


Special Session on Advancing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals through Global Collaborations

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity. These global goals for sustainable development have been translated and embedded into many institutions’ strategic directions. Universities have a critical role in advancing sustainable development goals through research, teaching, training, capacity building and community engagement.

As the global community continues to struggle with many global crises due to many reasons, including geopolitics, conflicts, pandemics and inequalities across and within nation-states, the role of universities in leading to making a difference in societies across all dimensions of life and community is vitally important. How can universities collaborate locally and globally with governments and relevant industries to use the SDG framework to drive and deepen the efforts? More specifically, how can built environment education and leaders and practitioners across institutions locally and globally serve to advance the goals of sustainable development?

A panel of Sri Lankan and international experts will exchange ideas and experiences on the role that the global built environment education and industry sector can and should be playing in advancing the goals of sustainable development and helping to make a difference in the quality of life in societies.

Key questions?


What are the priorities of SDG in Built Environment Sector, including the rationale of prioritizing them?



How do you advance SDG’s strategically in your own institutions? How would you make that commitment and allocate resources practically and sustainably?



What are the barriers and challenges to advance them and how would you overcome them?



What are the models for successful local and global collaborations and projects to advance them and how would you measure the success?



  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • University Rating on SDGs


Professor Janaka Ruwanpura

P.Eng., PQS Vice-Provost International and Associate Vice-President Research University of Calgary, Canada.


Dr. Thusitha Sugathapala

University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka


Prof. Parakrama Karunaratne

University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka


Mr. Gamini Senanayake

Founder CEO of Industrial Services Bureau, Former Chairman of Industrial Development Board of Ceylon