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Document Abstract
Published: 1 Nov 2008

Disaster Risk Reduction Strategies and Risk Management Practices: critical elements for adaptation to climate change

How can risk be reduced and managed?
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This paper presents the risk-related elements referred to in the Bali Action Plan, namely disaster reduction strategies and risk management including risk sharing and transfer mechanisms. The paper notes that disaster risk and the adverse impacts of natural hazards can be reduced by monitoring, systematically analysing and managing the causes of disasters, including reducing social and economic vulnerability and improving preparedness for response to adverse hazard events.

The two main elements that give rise to risk are the hazards – the potential damaging events or phenomenon – and the vulnerability of populations to these hazards. Natural hazards by themselves do not cause disasters; it is the combination of an exposed, vulnerable and ill-prepared population or community with a hazard event that results in a disaster. Human activity, such as land use changes, environmental exploitation and unplanned settlement, often exacerbates the level of disaster risk.

The paper suggests that three immediate and cost-effective areas where action can be taken to advance adaptation to climate change through disaster risk reduction are:
  • Risk assessments
  • Early warning systems
  • Sector-specific risk reduction plans
It also notes that risk arising from climatic hazards can be addressed by preventative measures, such as avoiding settlement in floodplains and building strong buildings; monitoring, early warning and response measures to manage extreme events and;  risk transfer, including insurance, to cope with unavoidable impacts.

The report gives the following concluding recommendations:
  • recognise the necessity and relevance of disaster risk reduction strategies and risk management mechanisms as a first line of defence against the impacts of climate change.
  • build upon existing strategies and mechanisms for disaster risk reduction and risk management.
  • take account of, and manage, the humanitarian consequences of climate change, and protect human security, through the systematic reduction of disaster risks.
  • ensure that substantial and additional human and financial resources are available for disaster risk reduction and risk management.
  • ensure that the criteria for funding are fully consistent with the principles of the Hyogo Framework.
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