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Disaster risk, climate change and international development: scope for, and challenges to, integration.

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Author:
L. Schipper
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The authors state that reduction of weather related losses, achieving the Millennium Development Goals, and implementing successful responses to climate change can only be accomplished if they are undertaken in an integrated manner. The authors identify that policy responses may be redundant when addressed independently.The main technical discrepancies between the two agendas of development, and climate change and disaster preparedness are: climate change policy deals solely with hazards and their impactstime frames for reactive adaptations to climate change and disasters are dissimilardisaster risk reduction (DRR) has focused on local and national scales whilst climate change policy prioritises global scale mitigation.Several reasons have been observed as to why, historically, disaster risk and climate change have not been integrated into development policy, including:lack of incentiveinstitutional and funding structuresassumptions about the risk-reducing capacity of pro-poor developmentinadequate exposure to disaster issues lack of understanding of the cultural divide between the two realms.Climate change policy is based on a specialised UN convention requiring global cooperation whereas DRR is guided by a framework enacted at national levels. Development seeks to meet internationally agreed goals under the scrutiny of national and sub-national stakeholders. The authors do identify ways forward to reduce this subdivision of ‘realms’ and lack of integration. National disaster risk management institutions and frameworks are well placed to provide a climate change adaptation structure and national centres for disaster risk management show scope for establishing national focal points for climate and DRR work being embedded within development planning. In addition, the role of the Global Environment Facility is expanding to include national adaptation support and efforts are being made to bring different communities of practise together.