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Adaptive Disaster Risk Reduction


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PD. Dr.-Ing Joern Birkmann …

PD. Dr.-Ing Joern Birkmann
Head of Section, UNU-EHS
Bonn, Germany

Published in: Technology

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  • Traditional international response that is at times already facing serious capacity constraints might simply be overstretched or inadequate to supply the needed amounts of aid if the humanitarian caseload as well as complexity of emergencies keeps rising. Therefore, we argue, it is urgently needed to discuss potential adjustments of international response as well as the potential of „adaptive disaster risk reduction“ that is the integration of climate change adaptation into existing DRR tools. The good news is: A lot of very good work is being done and there have been many critical reviews of international aid already that were followed by a plethora of improvements, such as the codification of the humanitarian principles or the more recent humanitarian reform that brought about many positive changes; climate change has been identified as a challenge to both humanitarian and development actors. Yet, there remains the need to clarify on a more concrete level the expectation those actors have with regard to climate change and to start using certain scenarios in their planning to be prepared for upcoming challenges.
  • Sphere: coordination one of the core principles, but only addresses humanitarians Potential to take it to a more concrete level
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    • 1. Global Risk Forum Davos 2012 Adaptive Disaster Risk Reduction PD. Dr.-Ing Joern Birkmann Head of Section, UNU-EHS Bonn, Germany
    • 2. A changing climate leads to changes in extremeweather and climate events 2
    • 3. Since 1950, extreme hot days and heavyprecipitation have become more common There is evidence that anthropogenic influences, including increasing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, have changed these extremes 3
    • 4. New challenges for DRR  Need for adaptive DRR and adjustments of international response ◯ Increase planning horizon and work with multi-hazard approach ◯ Improve the consideration of future CC-hazards into response & reconstruction ◯ Rethink: time and spatial scales of DRR ◯ Evaluate the adaptiveness of DRR measures (e.g. EW, evacuation concepts etc.)
    • 5. Humanitarian aid & DRR  Revisit existing norms and management approaches in times of crises and disasters  Strengthen the focus on how disasters might also function as a catalyst for change and resilience building  Evaluate the adaptiveness of DRR measures (e.g. EW, evacuation concepts etc.)  Improve the link between crises management, rehabilitation and climate resilient development  More strategic evaluation, e.g. establishment of DRR- CCA checklist  Potential to extend standards, e.g. SPHERE, to coordinate action of climate change and development stakeholders?  Incorporate DRR and CCA in bilateral agreements
    • 6. Analysis of tools - priorities Key thematic areas Selected priority tools(based on HFA & Cardona et al. based on expert inteviews 2005) Identification and Risk and vulnerability assessment understanding of risk Reduction of underlying risk Planning and social development factors Disaster preparedness and Early warning systems (EWS) emergency management National policy and legal frameworks Institutional capacities and and financial mechanisms financial mechanisms
    • 7. Adapting DRR tools Risk and vulnerability Assessment • Resolution of CC projections • Accounting for different and dynamic exposure •Scenarios of vulnerability •Coping and adaptation capacities. • Timescales •Creeping changes
    • 8. Increasing exposure of people and assets has been the major cause of changes in disaster losses (IPCC 2012)Specific types of urban development and rural-urban migration mightincrease the exposure of people to floods (example Mekong Delta VN)(Photo: Krause 2012) 8
    • 9. Challenges for Adaptation and DRR (Photos: Birkmann 2011; Map Source: Garschagen et al. 2012)The main challenge for local adaptation to climate extremes is to apply a balanced portfolio of approaches as a one-size-fits all strategy may prove limiting for some places and stakeholders. (IPCC 2012, p. 295)While structural measures provide some protection from disasters, they may also create a false sense of safety. (IPCC 2012, p. 293)Conflicts between governmental and non-governmental strategies and norms can generate additional vulnerabilities. (IPCC 2012, p. 86)
    • 10. Conclusions•We observe an emerging cooperation between Disaster Risk Reductionand Climate Change Adaptation research (IPCC SREX). This cooperationhas also to be strengthened in various countries, e.g. between differentministries (MoNRE – MARD).•Exposure and vulnerability are dynamic. Hence we need also to developdifferent scenarios for vulnerability and risks (in addition to climate changescenarios).•Vulnerability and risk assessment as well as adaptation strategies need tocombine different data and knowledge sources as well as methodologies.•Lastly, we have to critically review DRR measures that worked in the past(e.g. dyke construction), but might not work in the future.
    • 11. PD Dr. Joern BirkmannUNITED NATIONS UNIVERSITYInstitute for Environmentand Human Security (UNU-EHS)Hermann-Ehlers-Str. 1053113 Bonn, GermanyPhone: ++ 49 (0) 228 815-0208Fax: ++ 49 (0) 228 815-0299 11E-Mail: