Landslides often cause catastrophic disasters destroying houses in urban and urbanizing areas. They bring economic losses by destroying not only infrastructure such as roads, railways, bridges, dams, and ports, but also cultural and natural heritages and other properties which are precious for mankind. Since landslide risk mitigation and protection of cultural and natural heritages are very important now at the beginning of 21st century, the International Consortium on Landslides “ICL” was established as a common international platform. ICL was established during the International Symposium “Landslide Risk Mitigation and Protection of Cultural and Natural Heritage” in Kyoto, jointly organized by UNESCO and Kyoto University. At this occasion, significance of establishing a new Research Centre on Landslides to be a core of landslide research was discussed. This idea was appealed in order to promote international network under the initiative of the center. The 1st Board of Representative Meeting of ICL (1st BOR/ICL) was held in the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris in November 2002. Up to December 2003, 46 research organizations of the world from 15 countries have registered as ICL members, and UNESCO, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) Secretariat, the Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), U.S. Geological Survey, etc. have become the Supporting Organizations. Since ICL joined International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) as an Affiliated Organization in February 2003, IUGS joined ICL as a Supporting Organization from NGO.
The first UNITWIN cooperation programme “Landslides Risk Mitigation for Society and Environment Cooperation Programme” was signed at Kyoto University by UNESCO, Kyoto University and ICL in 18 March 2003 and continued until November 2010.
It was extended to the UNESCO/KU/ICL Landslide and Water-related Disaster Risk Management for Society and the Environment Cooperation Programme to include water-related disaster and also disaster risk management and signed by UNESCO, Kyoto University (Disaster Prevention Research Institute) and the International Consortium on Landslides at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 16 November 2010