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An integrated approach needed for the growing threat of climate-related insecurity

Publication date:
R. Vos
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Under an intensifying era of climate change, this policy briefaddresses the need for an integrated response to deal with the challenge of climate related insecurity. The authors emphasise that the threat to economic security from natural disasters is increasing -four times as many occurred annually during the period 2000-2006 as during the 1970s, with annual damages increasing sevenfold to $83 billion per year and a quadrupling of the number of persons affected. The scientific consensus is that climate change will increase the intensity and incidence of such disasters in the coming years. The likelihood that the threats will turn disastrous is much greater in poorer countries; a particularly stark contrast is the 130,000 fatalities caused by cyclone Nargis in Burma in 2008 compared to just 30 fatalities during a similar strength windstorm, Hurricane Charley, in the US in 2004. Key points noted include:

while effective relief measures in the immediate aftermath of disasters are crucial to saving lives, it is essential to link these to medium-term development strategies aimed at reducing vulnerabilities. Increased investment in preparation and mitigation, such as strengthening infrastructure and on effective land-use planning, must form a fundamental component of disaster risk reduction
an integrated policy approach is needed to ensure sufficient, fast and effective assistance to countries affected by disasters. Many current international efforts are either insufficiently funded, or do not provide automatic assistance
the 2008 World Economic and Social Survey proposes creating a global disaster mechanism (GDM) to act as an umbrella unifying existing responsibilities and providing predictable funds rapidly and automatically to regions affected by disasters for reconstruction, risk mitigation and recovery from disasters. This would go a long way in reducing the impact of natural hazards on economic insecurity
it is in the international community’s interest to create a well endowed GDM to provide immediate assistance to vulnerable and affected regions and to strive to break the vicious circle keeping countries in a vulnerable and aid-dependent growth trap.