Project : Getting climate smart for disasters

Project : Getting climate smart for disasters

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Project detail:
Status: Completed
Countries: Asia, India

This project explored the institutional barriers and opportunities in achieving convergence of climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk reduction (DRR), in the context of development, poverty and vulnerability reduction.

It did this by applying the Climate Smart Disaster Risk Management (CSDRM) approach as a process through which selected Indian institutions at varying scales examined their institutional constraints towards achieving integration of CCA and DRR, and identified how such barriers can be overcome by discovering news ways of working.

The Climate Smart Disaster Risk Management (CSDRM) approach has been previously developed through a consortium including IDS, Plan International and Christian Aid, working in ten Asian and African countries, including India. There is widespread interest in the approach, and the project contributed to demonstrating its potential effectiveness.

The team from Intercooperation, AIDMI, and the University of Sussex  worked with a number of institutions at different levels that operate in relation to one or more of the DRR, CCA and development areas, to explore the potential benefits of the CSDRM approach for them:

  • All-India level -  the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM - under the Ministry of Home Affairs);
  • State disaster management institutes (Odisha) and Bihar, selected in order to examine specific recent disasters; - (See a Workshop Report from Odisha on introducing the CSDRM approach)
  • Village-level development planning bodies 'Gram Panchayats' - (See a Report on how CSDRM was used to revisit their water use management plan)
  • NGOs (Inter-cooperation and AIDMI and a local NGO called SWAD in Odisha) operating at local level in these States.

A particular interest, given the focus on Odisha and Bihar which are very vulnerable to cyclones, was how CSDRM could be used to improve the effectiveness of national and state guidelines for managing this particular hazard. (Read a summary of the conclusions in a Project Working Paper). In December 2013 a project workshop was organised in Delhi with the Vice-Chair of the National Disaster Management Authority where the specific issues related to the integrated approach to cyclone management were discussed. (See the resulting Policy Brief).

A key component of research was to examine the behaviour of relevant institutions in relation to a recent disaster, through a “reverse engineering” approach - called 'FORIN - and also assess the social, economic and cultural factors affecting the vulnerability of the affected people. (See the Workshop Report from a training exercise on the FORIN approach, and the final Reverse Engineering Assessment Report for the 2009 Cyclone Aila)

To understand effective integration, two important areas thought to act as barriers were be analyzed: the mismatched priorities of DRR institutions and those of ordinary people in hazard prone areas (see Study Report); and the need for diversified livelihoods as a means to reduce climate dependency and increase resilience (see Study Report).

The use of the CSDRM approach was extended to support the institutions to identify their own priority pathways for integration across the threes silos, and they were supported to develop their own actions plans. (See a Report on the process used with the local NGO SWAD)

The general outcome was enhanced capacity of the relevant institutions to understand the relations between work on DRR, climate change and development.

For example, as a result of the engagement with the project, SWAD (a small NGO in Odisha working for women empowerment) recognised that co-benefits of adaptation to climate change could be easily integrated within their work. “The priorities and needs of both the rural and urban communities, and the projects implemented by governmental and non-governmental organisations must be aligned, and the main focus should be on creating a climate smart livelihood resilient society in Odisha. This is important and we want to institutionalise the CSDRM approach at our organisation.”

Read the Final Project Report of the project to learn more about the approach, and the results achieved.

A Special Edition of '' publication was produced on the CSDRM approach.


Principal Investigator: Sumana Bhattacharya, Intercooperation Social Development India

Main Co-investigators: Mihir Bhatt , All India Disaster Management Institute (AIDMI),  Terry Cannon, Institute of Development Studies (IDS)

CDKN funding: £67,587