Climate Change’s Role in Disaster Risk Reduction’s Future: Beyond Vulnerability and Resilience

| March 6, 2015 | Leave a Comment

Fisherman | The World Bank Group

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Date of Publication: March 5, 2015

Year of Publication: 2015

Publisher: Springer International Publishing AG

Author(s): Ilan Kelman, JC Gaillard, Jessica Mercer

Journal: International Journal of Disaster Risk Science

Volume: online

Categories: , , ,

2015 marks a critical policy year for environment and development with the UN processes of pursuing a long-term agreement on climate action, finalizing and adopting the Sustainable Development Goals, and formulating  a global disaster reduction plan as a successor to the Hyogo Framework for Action all underway. The authors ask why these processes are remain separate and present their case for joining them, united around the aim “to create something new, beyond the normal situation of poor development, poverty, vulnerability, and disaster”.

ABSTRACT: A seminal policy year for development and sustainability occurs in 2015 due to three parallel processes that seek long-term agreements for climate change, the Sustainable Development Goals, and disaster risk reduction. Little reason exists to separate them, since all three examine and aim to deal with many similar processes, including vulnerability and resilience. This article uses vulnerability and resilience to explore the intersections and overlaps amongst climate change, disaster risk reduction, and sustainability. Critiquing concepts such as ‘‘return to normal’’ and ‘‘double exposure’’ demonstrate how separating climate change from wider contexts is counterproductive. Climate change is one contributor to disaster risk and one creeping environmental change amongst many, and not necessarily the most prominent or fundamental contributor. Yet climate change has become politically important, yielding an opportunity to highlight and tackle the deep-rooted vulnerability processes that cause ‘‘multiple exposure’’ to multiple threats. To enhance resilience processes that deal with the challenges, a prudent place for climate change would be as a subset within disaster risk reduction. Climate change adaptation therefore becomes one of many processes within disaster risk reduction. In turn, disaster risk reduction should sit within development and sustainability to avoid isolation from topics wider than disaster risk. Integration of the topics in this way moves beyond expressions of vulnerability and resilience towards a vision of disaster risk reduction’s future that ends tribalism and separation in order

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