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Climate change and local level Disaster Risk Reduction planning: need, opportunities and challenges

Publication date:
S.V.R.K. Prabhakar
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This paper examines strategic disaster risk reduction and what needs to be done to get reliable estimates of future climate change impacts. It looks at problems in the existing disaster risk management planning and highlights the need for a change in existing disaster risk reduction practices. The authors present a scheme and discuss its limitations for mainstreaming climate change concerns in existing disaster risk reduction systems.The authors argue that climate change has brought new risks and has the potential to bring considerable changes in the hazard, vulnerability and risk profiles of countries. This includes change in the kind of disaster that a region is vulnerable to, change in type of hazards or change in hazard intensities and magnitudes. They further argue that it is important to mainstream climate change concerns in disaster risk management planning. For any mainstreaming to happen, it is important for the local disaster risk managers and other stakeholders to understand what national and regional climate change assessments mean for the scales at which these personnel operate. Factors to be considered when mainstreaming disaster risk reduction include: uncertainty in climate change risk, capacity limitations, perception and awareness limitations, and economic limitations. The paper notes that with climate change impacts increasingly becoming evident globally, the participatory planning process is becoming more important in implementing disaster risk management programs as community participation is called for shaping perceptions for an effective climate risk reduction. The report gives the following recommendations:

there is a need to look for alternative means of addressing uncertain climate risks
a local Climate Task Group needs to be established. The CTG should consist of personnel from disaster risk management, climate and atmospheric and policy making domains
there is a need to enhance the existing capacities in order to deal with the future disasters and increasing uncertainty
appropriate education is required to facilitate an effective communication among the climate change and disaster risk reduction communities
standardization of terminology at a global scale should also solve this problem to a certain extent
there is need to empower local communities so that the decisions taken at their level are implemented to the fullest satisfaction and effectiveness in the context of climate change.