FEATURE: Projects across Asia hope to unite disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation efforts
As a region, South Asia remains highly vulnerable to the negative impacts of natural disasters. Climate change and the associated spike in extreme weather events such as heat-waves, droughts, heavy downpours and floods are further deepening this vulnerability and increasing losses and damages from disasters in the region. Realizing the link between climate change and disaster trends, there have been calls to bring together climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk reduction (DRR) approaches and integrate into sustainable development policies. This integration is not however a straightforward and simple process and progress towards such convergence has been uneven.
Seeking to uncover the barriers to such integration and identify possible solutions, CDKN and START issued a regional research call on DRR and CCA mainstreaming in South Asia. Under this programme,which ran from 2012 to 2014, five research projects across three South Asian countries examined progress towards the implementation and integration of CCA and DRR and explored research needs, capacity and communication issues, and potential mechanism for improvement in this area of policy and practice.
Under the broad research theme, the six teams narrowed their focus on questions including the institutional arrangements and governance structures that influence the degree of flexibility and sustainability of DRR across varying scales; policy innovations that promote convergence of DRR and CCA into policy and practice at varying scales; and the changing nature of development factors that shape vulnerability to disasters.
The researchers observed a general disconnect between DRR and CCA planning agencies as well as broader development planners. This disconnect was particularly acute at sub-national levels where climate change is still perceived as a distant phenomenon unrelated to the current responsibilities of disaster and sectoral managers. An increase in shared understanding of current vulnerabilities and potential future risks is critically needed.
To find out more about the South Asia research programme, visit http://saferworld.in/project/cdkn-start/
The links to the individual projects on CDKN’s project pages are:
- Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in Koshi River Basin, Nepal
- Disaster and Climate Resilience Across the Eastern Himalayas
- Understanding flood risk and resilience in eastern India
- Multi-stakeholder action to mainstream disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation
Getting climate smart for disasters
Image courtesy online