Climate Smart Disaster Risk Management, Strengthening Climate Resilience


This report presents a new approach to disaster risk management: ‘climate smart disaster risk management’ (CSDRM) approach. It is primarily for those working in disaster risk management and climate change adaptation. It will also be critical reading for those working more broadly on vulnerability and poverty reduction programmes within or outside government. The CSDRM approach is the result of the expert input of over five hundred researchers, community leaders, non-government organisation (NGO) workers and government officials from ten disaster-prone countries. It responds to a clear call, from those working to build resilience to disasters, for a practical, evidence-based method of incorporating climate change considerations into existing DRM models. Experience from across East Africa, South and South East Asia underpins 12 components of CSDRM, which are organised into three action-oriented pillars: 1. Tackle changing disaster risks and uncertainties; 2. Enhance adaptive capacity; and 3. Address poverty and vulnerability and their structural causes. The report describes how the regional Mekong River Commission already has elements of CSDRM embedded in its work in the Mekong Delta, undeterred by national boundaries and protecting millions of people from changing patterns of flood and drought. It is relatively easy to access climate science in the Mekong Delta; the challenge lies in interpreting the complexity of impacts across a vast area, in terms of geography and social demographics. The case study demonstrates the critical role that regional cooperation has to play in mediating and coordinating DRM efforts that require integrated action across an entire river basin. The report also describes two programmes in Orissa, which contribute in different ways to the overall picture of DRM. Downscaled climate projections are not widely available or applied to DRM strategy in Orissa. Yet, the joint efforts of the Orissa State Disaster Management Authority and the Livelihoods and Water Resource Management Programme – which encapsulate the idea of ‘Watershed Plus’ – offer a rich environment to map the potential of the CSDRM approach and learn lessons for collaboration. In particular, this case study highlights the fact that there is more than one way to achieve CSDRM and that the diversity and independence of those involved is crucial. In conclusion, the report finds that successful application of the CSDRM approach will require systematic investment in people skills, new partnerships, technical collaboration and innovation to achieve the shift needed. A favourable environment for CSDRM will only occur when access to climate science, information and decision-making is transparent and democratic. Donors and governments must encourage flexibility and innovation; they need to demonstrate a commitment to their collaborative approach to the changing and increasing threat to human development that disasters represent.


Mitchell, T.; Ibrahim, M.; Harris, K.; Hedger, M.; Polack, E.; Ahmed, A.; Hall, N.; Hawrylyshyn, K.; Nightingale, K.; Onyango, M.; Adow, M.; Sajjad Mohammed, S. Climate Smart Disaster Risk Management, Strengthening Climate Resilience. (2010) : 44 pp.

Climate Smart Disaster Risk Management, Strengthening Climate Resilience

Published 1 January 2010