2014 WCDM Call for Papers

The 2014 Call for Papers is now closed.  Deadline to submit was November 29, 2013
Thank you to all that submitted, you will be notified by January 15th of the status of your presentation.

Submission of Abstracts
Conference Goal
Guidelines for Submissions
Conference Format
Review Process
Selection Criteria
Conditions of Acceptance
Compensation for Speakers
Speaker Responsibilities

For information regarding the program, contact:

Adrian Gordon
Conference Chair
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The World Conference on Disaster Management (WCDM) is proud to be the premier annual event that addresses issues common to all aspects of disaster management, providing a global perspective on current issues and concerns in the industry.  The conference program includes a roster of international speakers as well as top Canadian innovators and provides excellent opportunities for training and networking.  Highly acclaimed presentations have covered practice, research, innovation, case studies and controversies in emergency management, business continuity, risk management crisis communications and many other areas disaster management.

WCDM delegates originate from Canada, the US and some 40 countries around the world.  They come from all levels of government, non-governmental organizations, ‘quazi-governmental’ organizations and the private sector.  With more than 60 presentations over three days, WCDM attracts practitioners, responders, researchers and decision makers from a wide range of fields including utilities, financial services, insurance, business services, transportation, communications, manufacturing, retail, petro-chemical, nuclear, education, and others.

A major goal of the WCDM is to offer a program that challenges delegates by examining traditional concepts and methods of disaster management as well as current and future trends.  One of the critical attributes of this conference is the many ideas that are offered: novel, innovative, controversial, and groundbreaking.  We believe that in addition to providing attendees with the best speakers from around the world to address issues that they want to hear, we present sessions on what they need to hear in order to address the growing challenges in disaster management.  


This Call for Presentations is for the 24th WCDM to be held June 15-18, 2014 in Toronto, Canada at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Deadline for submission is November 29, 2013

The Program Committee will give preference to submissions that comply with the goals and submission guidelines (see below) of the 2014 WCDM.

Submitters will be guided through five submission steps:

  1. Create an Account (if you haven't previously submitted - if you have previously submitted but have forgotten your log-in
    you can click on the hyperlink within the returning users to have your password emailed to you)
  2. Add Speakers (or view the list of "My Speakers" that you already submitted. If you would like to update your speaker details please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  3. Add Presentation (& attach any relevant presentation or video)
  4. Assign Speakers to the Presentation (In the Step 2 of Add Presentation) 
  5. Submit for Review (NOTE: all online submissions are FINAL, any changes must be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for approval)

Note: All Submissions Must be ON-LINE. Submissions received by e-mail, Fax or Hardcopy will NOT be accepted.

Up to three submissions per person will be accepted.

If you have some knowledge to share and would like to submit an abstract, or know of someone who might be interested in presenting, please share the Call for Papers.  If you have any questions, please email Adrian Gordon, Conference Chair at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 1-(905)-599-2791


A major goal of WCDM is to offer a program that informs, educates, entertains and especially challenges delegates at all levels by examining traditional concepts and methods and provides:

  • new ideas and approaches to problem solving
  • both leading edge and topical presentations
  • a strong selection of advanced sessions for experienced practitioners
  • opportunities to engage with key individuals and organizations across the disaster management spectrum

One of the critical attributes of WCDM is the many ideas that are offered - novel, innovative, controversial, and ground-breaking.  We believe that in addition to providing attendees with the best speakers from around the world to address issues that they want to hear, we present sessions on what they need to hear in order to address the increasingly complex challenges in disaster management.  


Taking the above goals into consideration, presentation submissions should fit into one (or more) of the following four streams:

  1. Business Continuity Management - BCM

Not all businesses are practicing BCM, not all BCM practitioners have organizational support, not all BCM programs are robust and certifiable.  Why is this?  Yet there are shining examples of progress: How is BCM evolving, what are the current trends, is it succeeding or failing? How does business continuity help to build resiliency? Does the ‘common’ practitioner know enough or is there new information, tools and or techniques to be more effective and successful? Is there a better way?

  1. Emergency Management

The dichotomy continues: funding becomes scarcer but the cost of disasters keeps rising.  Generally support for mitigation is waning but threats and hazards are increasing and evolving.  Are we on the road to resilience?  Can we really ‘do more with less’?  Who has the silver bullet to make the practitioner’s job more effective or to better protect our people, infrastructure and environment?

  1. Crisis Communications

“The more things change, the more they stay the same”.  Social media provides a new and powerful venue for PR failures, gaffes and reputational suicide.  It is new, it is unwieldy, how do we control this beast? How do we marshal the power of crowd sourcing? Is social media management an independent branch of crisis communications or an integration with the overall communications program? How have our communications, crisis or not, changed due to advances in technology, information and ownership?  Is there a panacea to the time worn adage: the first thing to fail in an emergency is communications?

  1. Academic Stream

Academics research, practitioners practice.  How often does the scientist see their product put into action?  When does a practitioner have their dilemma solved using theory, research and scientific method?  The academic stream offers a venue rather than specifying a subject area.  It is a vehicle for presenting pure and applied research and findings to a practical audience.  The challenge: to present your research, thesis, theory or product in an easily digestible and applicable manner for the emergency management professional.

We will be looking for presentations that provide clear benefits for the practitioners in our audience - these can be in the form of case studies, proven results or peer validated research and studies as well as tools and templates and value added propositions for business continuity and emergency management programs.

In addition to the above questions submissions that address the following will be included in the program:

  • Issues that affect a particular aspect of disaster management e.g. leadership in crisis situations, security (terrorism, cyber security etc), technical issues (cloud computing, IT disaster recovery, interoperability), violence in the workplace, trauma risk management…
  • Case Studies especially lessons learned AND not learned
  • Emerging Trends in Disaster Management - global climate change, infectious diseases (including flu pandemic), critical infrastructure protection; nuclear, biological, radiological & chemical threats (NBRC), etc
  • Disaster Management Principles & Practices - standards, exercises, training & education
  • Innovative Solutions both proven and potential, to the issues faced in any area of disaster management and in particular how to meet performance objectives with reduced budgets and resources.

The final program will include a significant number of sessions that address (at least in part) the following:

  1. The Battle for Resilience: The conference is scheduled to open and close with sessions directly and forcefully addressing resilience.  What do we really mean by resilience? Is one common definition possible?  Is resilience possible?  What do we really know about resilience and how should it be measured?  Our goal is to end the diverging perspectives and converge on a common concept.  Without necessarily addressing the subject of resilience, your presentation should consider what resilience means within your area of expertise and subject matter.
  1. The impact of the on-going global economic crisis: This is far from being over.  Reduced budgets and support for all aspects of disaster/emergency/crisis planning (mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery) are a continuing reality for practitioners, policy formulators and decision makers.  How can any professional meet their performance objectives with reduced budgets or meet their performance objectives differently?. ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ and submissions are welcome showing innovation, creativity and / or risk taking.  Success stories of expanded programs and budgets in the face of this adversity are also sought.
  1. Program support and acceptance: executive, organizational, operational.  How does one increase the value of their emergency management and / or business continuity programs to the organization in order to secure senior management support? Or alternatively how to adapt EM/BC programs into the culture of your organization? Is the crisis management program an office to store plans, an overlay or veneer to more important things like production, or is crisis management so integral that a program is not required as the concepts are so fully integrated into each employee and each process that it is an indistinguishable piece to all operations?  Whatever your belief, how do you get those critical stakeholders to believe?

Presentation Formats

  • Keynote Sessions       (1 hour) address all attendees and should have broad appeal.
  • Concurrent Sessions (55 mins) of a more in-depth nature and allow at least 10-15 minutes for Q&A.
  • Workshops                (3 hours) are intensive, hands-on sessions – these will take place on Sunday, June 15, 2014.
  • Panel Discussions      (1 hour) are sessions with one announced theme and a list of participants who address that theme but do not present separate formal papers.
  • Debate                     (1 or 2 hours) on key issues (e.g New concepts vs. best practices in Business Continuity or Emergency Management
  • Poster Presentations will be displayed in a separate area to allow delegates to engage in one-on-one discussions with the presenter.

Special consideration will be given to presentations designed along the lines of guidelines provided in Slide:ology and Presentationzen

Review Process

Accepted submitters will be notified by email by December 20, 2013 (please note that reviewer comments will not be supplied to proposal submitters). Those selected must confirm their acceptance of the invitation to present by January 10, 2014.

Selection Criteria

The Program Committee will review all presentations - selection will be based on the following criteria:

  • Topic & relevance to the conference goals and streams and WCDM attendees;
  • Focus on future trends and lessons learned (what worked AND what didn't) and recommended solutions to common issues;
  • Advice to practitioners on how to cope with reduced budgets and resources; not only how to do more with less but how to do things differently;
  • Concise statement of the benefits of your presentation to attendees (e.g. how will this help them in their work);
  • Speaker's expertise, knowledge and ability to challenge delegates;
  • Presentation experience of speaker;
  • Research findings are welcome, provided the session is aimed at practitioners and balanced with sufficient practical information (i.e. 'here's how this can be applied to .....');
  • Absence of commercial sales content for services or products.

Conditions of Acceptance

Deadline for Submissions: November 29, 2013.

All Submissions must be ON-LINE. Submissions received by E-mail, Fax or Hardcopy will NOT be accepted.

Confirmed speakers will be required to provide the following additional information for inclusion on the conference web site and brochure:

  • photo (in jpeg, bmp or tiff format)

Final presentation slides must be submitted by May 9, 2014 in PowerPoint format.


Primary Speakers will be provided with: 

  • complimentary registration to the full conference, including admission to all sessions, the exhibit area, and sponsored events such as breakfasts and lunches where applicable.
  • 1-2 nights hotel accommodation if traveling by air, or more than 80km, to the conference.

Note: Speakers will be responsible for their own travel costs.

Co-Presenters: Additional presenters over and above the Primary Speaker will be required to pay a nominal registration fee of CAD$475 and will be responsible for all costs including travel and accommodation.

Poster Presenters will be required to pay a nominal registration fee of CAD$350 and will be responsible for all costs including travel and accommodation.

Click here to read full compensation policy.

Speaker Responsibilities:

Speakers will be responsible for all other expenses including travel, non-sponsored meals and miscellaneous charges.