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OPPORTUNITY: Call For Proposals – Disaster Risk Reduction in South Asia

START, with funding from CDKN, is pleased to announce a Call for Proposals (CFP) for research on integrating disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation for resilient development in South Asia. We expect to fund up to five research projects of a maximum $110,000 USD for up to 19-months’ duration. The geographical scope of the CFP is Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.


South Asia is prone to disasters spawned or magnified by extreme climatic events, including floods, droughts, heavy downpours, and heat-waves. The frequency and severity of such events is expected to increase significantly with climate change, manifested both as direct impacts and indirectly through interacting with other drivers and stressors in coupled human-natural systems. In addition to rapid-onset disasters, slow-onset situations, such as those linked to climate-change induced shifts in drought frequency and rainfall characteristics interacting with widespread degradation of the natural resource base, further compound vulnerability to disasters.

Actions for managing and mitigating disaster risks have potential for significant overlap with planning processes that build adaptive capacity for climate change, as has been noted in several recent reviews. However, efforts to transition from the current conceptual basis for the convergence of disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) towards operationalizing concepts into actions that integrate the two spheres have been meager. Overcoming obstacles to integrating DRR and CCA requires, amongst other factors, better understanding of policy and institutional capacities across multiple levels and sectors, knowledge and communication needs and decision-making priorities of various stakeholder groups, and governance strengths and deficiencies that shape responses and outcomes. It is with the imperative to improve understanding of these critical factors and linkages that START with support from CDKN is offering this CFP.

In addition to this CFP, CDKN issued a global pilot research call on Climate Compatible Development (CCD) and Agriculture in January 2011; this funded 4 projects for a total of 800,000 GBP. A regional research call for South East Asia is ongoing, and funding 5 projects for a total of 400,000 GBP. A regional research call in Africa will co-fund 10-12 projects for a total of 450,000 GBP. CDKN’s main global research call was issued in September 2011, and will fund up to 8-10 projects from a fund of 4 million. Details of the all of these calls are available on the CDKN website (

Research theme and sub-themes

This CFP seeks collaborative research in the area of adaptive capacity, climate change, and disaster risk reduction in South Asia under the theme of integrating disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation for resilient development.

Under this broad research theme, the sub-themes specific to this CFP are:

  • Institutional arrangements and governance structures that influence the degree of flexibility and sustainability of DRR across varying scales.
  • The changing nature of systemic development factors (both endogenous and exogenous) that shape vulnerability to disasters.
  • Policy innovations that promote convergence of DRR and CCA into policy and practice at varying scales.

Implicit in these sub-themes is the need to understand how recent disasters can serve to inform future decision-making and enhance adaptive capacity. What were important failures and successes, and what needs to change in current policies, institutions, and governance structures to build adaptive capacity for disaster risk management given future climate change? What are key enabling factors for this change to occur? How do responses need to change in anticipation of future climate-related events, and how can appropriate responses be developed given the inherent uncertainties about future change trajectories?

Proposals are expected to demonstrate how the research will address one or more of the research sub-themes within the overall research theme.


DEADLINE: 29 February 2012at Midnight (2400 hours) US Eastern Standard Time at the International START Secretariat office. Please submit electronically to:

For more information about Call For Proposals, contact Sarah Schweizer,

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