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Addressing the challenge: recommendations and quality criteria for linking disaster risk reduction and adaptation to climate change

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J. Birkmann (ed)
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Climate change is a fact and a threat to human society due to increases in temperature, variations in precipitation and intensive weather related extreme events. These call for the mainstreaming of climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk reduction (DRR). This study addresses the urgent need to link DRR and CCA and reflects on the opportunities and limitations.The document presents the following main findings:

the number of actors involved in DRR and CCA is seen as a challenge with awareness, communication and cooperation lacking between them
sufficient social and economic prognostic data on extreme events is limited
post-disaster monitoring should elicit information on the adaptive capacity of communities to climate change
the current short-term funding structures are a drawback to integrating CCA and DRR.

Based on these findings the paper makes the following recommendations.

Adopt a cross-sectoral, multi-scale and integrative approach to link DRR and CCA and to mainstream both into other activities on sustainable development.
Use standardised methods, databases and quality criteria for assessment of disasters. 
Strengthen the focus on changes within the DRR community and utilise their advanced knowledge of the CCA and DRR on response, recovery, reconstruction, mitigation and preparedness.
Use the latest scientific evidence to improve disaster management and response capacities with forward-looking vulnerability, capacity and adaptation assessment.
Use goal-precise guiding principles for specific regions for practical actions and strategies on the ground.
Coordinate actors and organisations to build on existing capacities and explore synergies and create flexible forward-looking funding schemes that lead to long-term sustainability for innovation and change.
Create mechanisms that improve social learning and memory and provide the necessary information and the successful link between different knowledge types.
Develop comprehensive internationally accepted frameworks to serve as conceptual and practical orientation in putting DRR and CCA into practice.

The study calls for the following quality criteria for the integration of CCA and DRR strategies:

integrative CCA strategies include aspects of DRR over different spatial and temporal scales and sectors
internationally agreed standards and principles should be in place
strategies for DRR are needs-based, damage assessments, vulnerability and adaptation assessments
mechanisms have been established to moderate conflicts stakeholders
budget schemes ensure stakeholder commitment and funding for a specific disaster should be transferable to promote CCA
stakeholder organisations should ensure cooperation for the best ideas and concepts.