Part 1 ISDR-ICL Sendai Partnerships 2015–2025 describes: 1.1 The ISDR-ICL Sendai Partnerships 2015–2025: Background and Content, 1.2 Three selected forum lectures as examples of recent landslide research as the scientific base of the partnerships, 1.3 Contributions from signatory organizations of the Sendai Partnerships as basic information for the high-level panel discussion for Strengthening Intergovernmental Networks and the International Programme on Landslides (IPL) for “ISDR-ICL SENDAI PARTNERSHIPS 2015–2025 for global promotion of understanding and reducing landslide disaster risk”, 1.4 One of the contributions from ICL to the Partnership “Landslide Dynamics-ISDR-ICL Landslide Interactive Teaching Tools (LITT)”, 1.5 The planned common platform for landslide case reports for the promotion of cooperation.

This chapter presents a visual overview of some landslide disasters around the world to the wider communities that are partly involved in landslide disaster risk reduction, showing first the significance of the Partnerships, then the background of the Partnerships and the full content of the partnerships.

Examples of Landslide Disasters Around the World

“Landslide disasters are caused by exposure to hazardous motions of soil and rock that threaten vulnerable human settlements in mountains, cities, coasts, and islands” (from the Sendai Partnership Resolution). When large-scale landslides have occurred and caused major disasters, they are reported. When small scale-landslides have occurred and caused disasters in urban areas in National capitals or Provincial capitals such as Hiroshima city in Japan and Ha Long city in Vietnam (introduced in the Preface), those are reported. However, small-scale landslides that killed people living in a few houses in rural areas are not always recorded in many countries. Both the number and frequency of small-scale landslides are some order of magnitude higher than that of large-scale landslides. To achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals No. 11 “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”, disaster reduction should be fostered by “the development of people-centered early warning technology for landslides with increased precision and reliable prediction both in time and location, especially in a changing climate context” (from the Sendai Partnership Resolution) and by applying it to rural areas as well as urban areas.

Unfortunately, small-scale landslides occur in many places and so frequently that they are neither remarked nor recorded, in contrast with the cases of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and typhoons/hurricanes. However, big landslide disasters are reported and may be found in Wikipedia or other sources on the internet.

Definition of landslides have varied around the world. As a voluntary commitment to the International Decade of Natural Disaster Reduction (1990–2000), the landslide-related communities in the International Geotechnical Societies and UNESCO established a working party for the World Landslide Inventory to establish a definition of landslides. The discussed result was published in “Landslide Types and Processes” by David Cruden and David Varnes in Landslides—Investigation and Mitigation, Transportation Research Board, US National Research Council in 1996. In order to disseminate this new definition and classification of landslides, including debris flows, earth flows, rock falls, rock toppling and other types of very slow to very rapid movements of rock, debris or soils, the Landslide Handbook—A Guide to Understanding Landslides was edited as an International Programme on Landslides IPL 106 Best Practice handbook for landslide hazard mitigation (2002–2007), and it was published by U.S. Geological Survey in 2008. This handbook with many illustration and photographs, has been translated and published in Portuguese and Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese. This project received the IPL Award for Success at the 2nd World Landslide Forum at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) headquarters in Rome, Italy.

As a contribution to the Sendai Partnerships, ICL are editing the Landslide Dynamics: ISDR-ICL Landslide Interactive Teaching Tools (LITT) (two volumes of around 1600 pages) for capacity development necessary as a key component of Sendai Partnerships. The revised landslide handbook “Landslide types: Description, illustration and photos” including more illustrations and photos and “Landslide Dynamics for risk reduction” for the assessment of landslide initiation and motion are written and included as the fundamental part of the Landslide Interactive Teaching Tools (LITT), which is introduced in this volume.

Landslide researchers know major landslide disasters, and showing some examples to scientists, engineers, and policy makers who are partly involved to landslide risk reduction efforts is useful. Table 1 presents an outline of major landslide disasters in the world.

Table 1 A list of major landslide disasters around the world

Examples of Large-Scale Landslides and Their Disasters Around the World

Photos and summary information is presented on several large-scale landslides in which the depth of the sliding surfaces are the order of 10 to 100 meters. Those differ from small-scale shallow landslides, in which the depth of sliding surfaces of the initial landslides are a few meters (as presented in the Preface) (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1
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a Mayuyama Landslide was triggered on the Unzen volcano by a nearby earthquake on 21 May 1792. The landslide mass moved into the Ariake Sea and triggered a tsunami wave. The landslide and the landslide-induced tsunami killed 15,153 people. It was the largest landslide disaster and the largest volcanic disaster in Japan. Left top is a Google photo of the landslide. Left bottom is the landslide cross-section. Right bottom shows the reproduction of the landslide and the resulting tsunami wave, using computer simulations of the landslide and the tsunami (Sources Landslides Vol. 11(5) 2014 Vol. 13(6), 2016) b Vajont landslide was triggered by water-level changes in a dam reservoir on 9 October 1963. A large-scale rapid landslide mass entered into the reservoir of the Vajoint dam. The water in the reservoir overflowed over the dam and wiped out a community along the river. Left photo shows the landslide mass fill in the dam reservoir. Right two photos show the community of Longarone village, Italy before and after the landslide and flood. The village disappeared and around 2000 people were killed. c Nevados Huascaran debris avalanche was triggered by an earthquake on 31 May 1970 in Peru. The rapidly moving large-scale landslide mass destroyed the town of Yungay and killed around 18,000 people. Left photo is an air photo showing the source of landslide and the debris covering the Yungay town. Right photos show that nothing remained of Yungay town. d A large-scale landslide-debris flow was triggered by the eruption of Nevado del Ruiz volcano on 13 November 1985 in Columbia. The resulting volcanic debris flow destroyed the town of Armero in Tolima, Columbia, killing 20,000–23,000 people. The map on the top left shows the debris flow path and volcanic hazard zones of nearby areas. All three photos show the town after the disaster. e A group of many small landslides were triggered by heavy rainfall in Salerno, Italy on 5 May 1998. This is a similar type of disaster to the 2014 Hiroshima landslide disaster introduced in the Preface. Initial small and shallow landslides moved debris down to the lower slope and torrents increased the flow in volume, overwhelming the urban settlement. 280 persons were killed in Salerno town. f A storm on December 14–16, 1999 struck the State of Vargas along the Caribbean Sea in Venezuela. It triggered thousands of landslides and large-scale debris flows that killed 10,000–30,000 persons. g An earthquake triggered a rapid landslide on January 13, 2001 in Las Colinas, El Salvador. The landslide mass travelled through a densely populated urban area and killed 500–1700 people h Accumulated rainfall of 674 mm from 8 to 17 February 2006 hit Guinsaugon, Leyte, Philippine. A very small earthquake (Ms 2.6) then occurred on 17 February 2006. This small earthquake after the long rainfall triggered a large-scale rapid landslide in volcano-clastic debris that killed more than 1144 people. (Source Landslides Vol. 7(3), 2010) i Heavy rainfall from 14 to 17 June 2013 struck the Indian state of Uttarakhand. This heavy rainfall caused snow melting of a glacier, triggered landslides and led to floods. The death toll was 5700 people. j Mudslides occurred on 2 May 2014 in Badakhshan, Afghanistan. A week before the mudslides, there had been torrential rain. The sliding mass flowed over a settlement and killed around 500 people. Source Wikipedia k The Usoy landslide is a very large landslide, with a depth of 700 m, which was triggered by an earthquake in 1911. The landslide mass blocked the river, forming a landslide dam lake called Lake Sarez. The water level of this lake has continued to increase and is currently near the top of the landslide dam (height is 567 m). Top-left is an air photo of the Usoy landslide dam and Lake Sarez, and bottom-left shows a wide area satellite photo. Lower right is a ground photo of the landslide dam and the lake. Top right is a record of the increasing water level since 1940. This landslide dam is threatened by further gradual increases in water level and also landslide-induced tsunami, which may be triggered by a landslide from the slopes along the shore of the dam lake (Source Science Vol. 326, 2009). l The Inca World Heritage site at Machu Picchu shows signs of potential landslides. Left-top shows the Machu Picchu citadel constructed on the sliding surface of a big landslide between two peaks of Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu. The sliding surface and another potential sliding surface (yellow) are along gently dipping shear bands. Close up photos of the shear bands are in (b) and (c). Left-bottom is the movement record of an extensometer installed in the lower slope of Machu Picchu citadel. Right figure shows ground radar investigation along a part of the red dotted line. It suggested the Plaza (flat area) was formed by filling a crack (it might be a head scarp of the potential retrogressive landslide). Sources Proc. 1st World Landslide Forum

The author investigated (1) Mayuyama landslide-tsunami disaster, (7) Las Colinas earthquake-induced landslide, (8) Leyte rainfall + earthquake induced landslide, and (12) Potential landslides in Machu Picchu. The author visited (2) Vajont landslide, (5) Salerno landslides-debris flows, (11) Usoy earthquake-induced landslide and the landslide-dammed Lake Sarez. The author did not visit (3) Huascaran debris avalanche, (4) Nevado del Ruiz debris flow, (6) Vargas debris flow, (9) Uttarakhand landslide-debris flows and floods, or (10) Badakhshan mudslides. The cases of (3), (4), (6), (9) are indirect information from Wikipedia (2016.10.3) below and other websites.

Background of the ISDR-ICL Sendai Partnerships 2015 -2025

The very beginning of ISDR-ICL Sendai Partnerships came from the foundation of ICL in January 2002 which UNISDR supported and sent its delegate. The concept of an ICL contribution to the post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction started from the 10th anniversary Conference on 17–20 January 2012 in Kyoto, Japan, with financial support from the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). Participants reviewed the first decade of ICL and IPL activities and examined the second decade of ICL-IPL activities. As a result, ICL Strategic plan 20122021To create a safer geoenvironment was adopted. This conference approved the establishment of four regional networks and five thematic networks of ICL to expand the activities of ICL members and cooperation with non-ICL members in the specific region and themes. ICL organized the ICL-IPL Conference in Kyoto, Japan in 2013 with financial support from JST. At this conference, ICL discussed and prepared the 20014 Beijing Declaration to be adopted in the World Landslide Forum 3 in Beijing, China on 2–6 June 2014. Furthermore ICL examined and drew up the draft of ICL-IPL Sendai Partnerships 2015–2025—Landslide disaster risk reduction for a safer geo-environment to be examined in Sendai, Japan, in March 2015. The 2004 Beijing DeclarationLandslide mitigation toward a safer Geoenvironment was examined in the high-level panel discussion with the participation of the Director-General of UNESCO Ms Irina Bokova and was adopted at the end of WLF3 in Beijing, China, which was held on 2–6 June 2014 (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2
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Photo of the high-level panel who discussed “Initiative to create a safer geoenvironment toward WCDRR 2015 and forward. The high-level panel was chaired by Hans van Ginkel (Former Rector of UNU). UNESCO (Director-General Irina Bokova), UNISDR, WMO, ICSU/IRDR, China Geological Survey, and ICL together discussed aspects from the floor. The 2014 Beijing Declaration “Landslide Risk Mitigation: Toward a Safer Geoenvironment” was adopted on 6 June 2014 following this panel discussion, which was the preparation for the ISDR-ICL Sendai Partnerships 2015–2025. 531 people, 211 national and international organizations from 40 countries and 5 organizations of United Nations System participated in WLF3

ICL organized the Steering Committee meeting in Kyoto on 7–9 October 2014, together with the International Forum “Urbanization and Landslide Disaster”Hiroshima landslide disaster in August, 2014 and Japan’s contribution to the Post-2015 framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. This forum, together with the ICL Steering Committee meeting, was planned as a preparatory meeting for the ICL-IPL Sendai Partnerships Conference on 11–15 March 2015. Key members of ICL, UNESCO, UNISDR, MEXT, and the Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), Government of Japan attended and discussed the global collaborative framework contributing to the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction.

The ISDR-ICL Sendai Partnerships 2015–2025

The signing ceremony of the ISDR-ICL Sendai Partnerships was organized in a Japanese Restaurant “Junsei” in Sendai, Japan from 12:00–13:30 on 16 March 2015. 16 intergovernmental, international and national organizations signed the Sendai Partnerships. The heads of some organizations attended and signed there, some organizations nominated an officer in-charge of disaster reduction to sign the documents, while some organizations signed it in advance and sent a representative to bring the signed partnerships to this signing ceremony. Following are the organizations which agreed and signed the Sendai partnerships on 16 March 2015. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) signed the Sendai Partnerships on 15 April 2016. ICL took 6–8 months to obtain the signatures from seven global stakeholders (UNESCO, WMO, FAO, UNISDR, UNU, ICSU and WFEO) for the Letter of Intent aiming to provide a platform for a holistic approach in research and learning on ‘Integrated Earth System Risk Analysis and Sustainable Disaster Management’ after WCDR in 2005 and also exchange MoUs with each of the same global stakeholders to promote the 2006 Tokyo Action Plan—Strengthening Research and Learning on Landslides and Related Earth System Disasters for Global Risk Preparedness. ICL planned to establish the Sendai Partnerships during the 3rd WCDRR in Sendai, Japan. Figure 3 shows the memorial photo after signing the Sendai Partnerships in a Japanese restaurant “Junsei” in Japan.

Fig. 3
figure 3

A group photo after the signing ceremony of ISDR-ICL Sendai Partnerships 2015–2025 on 16 March 2015 in Sendai, Japan

The full text of the ISDR-ICL Sendai Partnerships is show below as an appendix of this article. The partnerships are updated due to a change of ICL members and also signatory organizations. The objectives of partnerships will be better realized by new signatory organizations and new ICL members.

Call for Cooperation

ICL wishes to implement and develop this Sendai Partnerships 2015–2025 together with all organizations and individuals. We wish to invite those organization and individuals to join the high-level panel discussion and the round-table discussion on 30–31 May 2017 during the Fourth World Landslide Forum in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The information of the WLF4 is uploaded at

The information of the International Consortium on Landslides can be obtained from

Information on the International Programme on Landslides (IPL, a programme of the ICL for ISDR) can be obtained from All inquiries on ICL, IPL and the Sendai Partnerships should be addressed to ICL Secretariat