Rio+20 and the future of sustainability and disaster risk reduction


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PD Dr. Jörn Birkmann, United Nations University (UNU-EHS), Germany

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Rio+20 and the future of sustainability and disaster risk reduction

  1. 1. Rio+20 and The Future of Sustainability and Disaster Risk Reduction Global Risk Forum Davos The IPCC SREX Report Content, Process, Knowledge and Outlook PD Dr. Joern BIRKMANN
  2. 2. The IPCC Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation
  3. 3. Selected Questions•What are extreme events?•Do extreme events cause extreme impacts?•What is the present knowledge regardingt the relation betweenclimate change and extreme events?•What are key determinants of (disaster) risk?•Which management options do exist to reduce disaster risk andpromote resilience or transformation?•Which knowledge is taken into account for the IPCC SREX report?
  4. 4. A changing climate leads to changes in extreme weather and climate events 4
  5. 5. Impacts from weather and climate events depend on: nature and severity of event vulnerability exposure 5
  6. 6. Since 1950, extreme hot days and heavy precipitation have become more common There is evidence that anthropogenic influences, including increasingatmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, have changed these extremes 6
  7. 7. Climate models project more frequent hot days throughout the 21st century In many regions, the time between “20-year” (unusually) warm days will decrease 7
  8. 8. Starting point:Climate models versus vulnerability perspective
  9. 9. Increasing vulnerability, exposure, or severity and frequency of climate events increases disaster risk (Source: IPCC 2012, slightly modified by Birkmann)
  10. 10. Vulnerability has to be addressed in different dimensions (IPCC 2012, p. 70-88)Vulnerability Dimensions Capacities Social dimension (e.g.  Coping housing conditions, poverty, capacities lack of social networks)  Adaptive Economic dimension capacities (property loss, lack of  Resilience insurances) building Environmental dimension (e.g. environmental services) Cultural dimension (risk perception) Institutional dimension (e.g. governance) (Photos: Birkmann 2008)
  11. 11. Increasing exposure of people and assets has been the major cause of changes in disaster losses Pakistan floods, 2010 6 million left homeless 11
  12. 12. Language of the report•It is very likely that there has been an overall decrease in the numberof cold days and nights, and an overall increase in the number of warmdays and nights at a global scale. (...)In many regions over the globe with sufficient data, there is mediumconfidence that the length or number of warm spells or heat waves hasincreased. (Chap. 3)IPCC 2012 •Virtually certain (99-100%) Very likely (90-100%) Likely (66-100%).... ..IPCC 2012
  13. 13. Managing the risks: heat waves in EuropeRisk Factors Risk Management/ Adaptation lack of access to cooling  cooling in public facilities age  warning systems pre-existing health  social care problems networks poverty and  urban isolation green space France, August 2003 (over 14,000 dead) infrastructure  changes in urban infrastructure Projected: likely increase in heat wave frequency and very likely increase in warm days and nights across Europe 13
  14. 14. There are strategies that can help manage disaster risk now and also help improve people’s livelihoods and well-being The most effective strategies offer development benefits in the relatively near term and reduce vulnerability over the longer term
  15. 15. Conclusions•The Special IPCC report SREX is a prime example of an emergingcooperation between Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate ChangeAdaptation. This cooperation has also to be strengthened in various countries,e.g. between different ministries.•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.People are already adapting to climate change and climate variability withvery different measures.•Lastly, we have to critically review structural adaptation measures that mighthave worked in the past, but might not work in the future.
  16. 16. Thank you very muchReferencesIPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) (2012) : Managing the Risks ofExtreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation; SpecialReport of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; [Field, C.; Barros, V.;Stocker, T.F.; Qin, D.; Dokken, D.; Ebi, K.L. Mastrandrea, M.D. Mach, K.; Plattner, G.-K.;Allen, S.K.; Tignor, M. and P.M. Midgley (eds.)], Cambridge University Press,CambridgeBirkmann, J.; Welle, T.; Krause, D.; Wolfertz, J.; Suarez, D.C.; Setiadi, N. (2011):WorldRiskIndex: Concept and Results. In: Alliance Development Works (ed.): TheWorldRiskReport 2011, Berlin: 13-42Birkmann, J; Garschagen, M.; Von Van, T.; Nguyen Thanh, B. (2012): Vulnerability,Coping and Adaptation to Water Related Hazards in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta. In:Renaud, F.G.; Kuenzer, C. (eds.): The Mekong Delta System: Interdisciplinary Analyses PD Dr. Joern Birkmannof a River Delta, Springer, New York: 245-289 Head of SectionBirkmann, J. (2011): First and Second-Order Adaptation to Natural Hazards and ExtremeEvents in the Context of Climate Change. Natural Hazards 58(2): 811-840; United Nations University Institute for EnvironmentBirkmann, J.; Buckle, P., Jaeger, J.; Pelling, M.; Setiadi, N.; Garschagen, M.; Fernando, and Human SecurityN.; Kropp, J. (2010): Extreme Events and Disasters: A Window of Opportunity forChange? Analysis of Changes, Formal and Informal Responses After Mega-Disasters, Bonn, Germany,Natural Hazards 55(3): 637-655Garschagen, M.; Diez, J.R; Nhan, D.K.; Kraas, F. (2012): Socio-Economic Development birkmann@ehs.unu.eduin the Mekong Delta: Between the Prospects for Progress and the Realms of Reality, In:Renaud, F.G.; Kuenzer, C. (eds.): The Mekong Delta System: Interdisciplinary Analyses www.ehs.unu.eduof a River Delta, Springer, New York: 83-132