Assessing Progress on Integrating Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in Development Processes

Assessing Progress on Integrating Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in Development Processes

How can disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation be integrated?

This paper reviews the extent of convergence between disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) at a number of scales. It also examines what is at stake if the two agendas do not converge. The authors present updated evidence of where DRR and CCA are already converging and evaluate obstacles to further convergence.

It is noted that the main overlap between CCA and DRR is the management of hydro-meteorological hazards, where DRR needs to take account of changes in these hazards, and CCA aims to reduce their impacts. Two key distinctions are that: DRR addresses the risks of geophysical hazards, whereas CCA does not; CCA also considers the long-term adjustment to changes in mean climatic conditions, including the opportunities that this can provide, and how people and organisations can develop the capacities to stimulate and respond to longer-term change processes. This has not been a traditional focus of practical applications of DRR.

The report argues that both the DRR and the CCA agenda have suffered from a lack of political influence and human capacity to raise the profile of risk management in mainstream development planning and practice. It further notes that the higher international political and public profile of CCA may generate additional momentum for innovation in international frameworks and institutional structures for DRR, which may potentially bring DRR and CCA closer together.

On financing, the authors present that few bilateral or multilateral donors have integrated their support for DRR and CCA. Many DRR programs are funded from humanitarian budgets and coordinated from humanitarian aid departments. In most cases, this segmentation of the DRR agenda is making it more difficult to achieve integration with CCA, but even with the broader development agenda. Funding DRR by allocating a standard percentage of humanitarian aid does help to raise budgets for DRR, but may increase separation of DRR projects from regular sectoral development.

The report gives the following recommendations:

  • there is need for DRR and CCA convergence at national levels to integrate climate change adaptation into development cooperation
  • a multidisciplinary approach is required for comprehensive disaster risk management that integrates DRR and adaptation, and this depends on significant resources and influence that may go beyond the traditional remit of the environmental sector
  • there is need for better coordination between climate change and disaster reduction authorities and expertise
  • donors should build on existing capacities, by working with well-functioning DRR mechanisms where they exist, particularly when they are well-integrated in sectoral planning
  • opportunities for joint work between CCA and DRR towards the common objective of reducing risk to development must be seized wherever feasible.
  1. How good is this research?

    Assessing the quality of research can be a tricky business. This blog from our editor offers some tools and tips.