Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Action on Climate Change Adaptation


In this, my first blog, I’m asking you all to help in making the case for a central place for DRR in the Climate Change adaptation debate – please take a moment to read this and respond!

In 2007 the Bali Action Plan started the ball rolling for a new climate change deal, one that would follow the Kyoto Protocol, which ends in 2012. These negotiations will be concluded by the end of 2009, in Copenhagen, Denmark. The last round of talks this year will take place in Poznan, Poland from the 1st to the 12th of December.

Theres a great opportunity here to positively influence the negotiations, because disaster risk management and risk reduction have been identified as important elements of the climate change deal. The Poznan workshop is one of few official events that will provide input to the negotiations. We need to make a strong case in Poland for the policies and resources required to avert and be well prepared for climate-related disasters.

Real impact in Poznan, and ultimately in the Copenhagen agreement, will require the coordinated effort of all of us in the humanitarian and disaster risk reduction system.

There’s increasing awareness that climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction are closely related and therefore all of us concerned with Disaster Risk Reduction need to be making our voices heard. I’m inviting you all to respond and contribute so we can go to Poznan speaking for as many of the network as possible. I’ve drafted out my thoughts for top 10 recommendations and issues and I’d be really grateful if you can comment, suggest changes and any ideas you have. Please take a moment to send a message back now!

Climate Change Adaptation – Top 10 key recommendations / issues (UNFCC)

1. Effectiveness: Innovation climate adaptation funding mechanism (MDTF) and structures to be directly accessible to local communities (possibly in partnership with local CSOs and governments) – see Provention Consortium experience.

2. Accountability and Transparency: Develop local level Climate adaptation indicators and establish independent community-based monitoring framework and baselines at local level that are functional from the start of post – Kyoto protocol 2012. Incorporate adaptation indicators into Global Network Views from the Frontline HFA – DRR monitoring framework)

3. Management of Multi Donor Trust Fund for climate adaptation to have strong civil society representation within governance structure

4. Increased amount of monies to be allocated for climate adaptation, and define when and where the sources of funding to come from

5. Adapt Hyogo Framework for Action to explicitly incorporate climate adaptation and make framework legally binding post 2015 (end of current HFA implementation phase)

6. Define how local voice / community representation and civil society will be incorporated into climate adaptation planning and decision-making processes (accountability to primary stakeholder)

7. Target those people who live in geograhically vulnerable areas most at risk to climate change

8. Primary strategy for building resilience is to build local adaptive capacities (adaptation impact to be measures in terms of outputs and outcomes at the local level)

9. Broaden climate mitigation discourse into sustainable development – not just reduction in GHG emissions (underlying justice and equity issues)

10. DRR to be incorporated into National Adaptation Plan of Action and the means defined to ensure local communities are incorporated into the planning and decision-making processes. Establish mechanisms and infrastructure to support sharing of transferable knowledge and experience (DRR - Climate Adaptation)

What do you think? Are we on the right track? Please send your comments or simply your messages of support! - just click next to the pencil icon below on 'comments' to add your views.

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Terry gibson said...

I hope we get a good range of comments and support here to strengthen our case at Poznan

Ilan said...

Thank you for taking this initiative and for promoting these ideas. See also "Placing Climate Change within Disaster Risk Reduction" http://www.managein.org/disas/Back_Issue/editorial/edit_03_08.html in support of this work.


Ilan said...

In my previous posting, the blog truncated the website for some reason (using Firefox). The end of the website should read:


I tried posting using HTML coding for the website, but the blog refused to accept that. Would it be possible to correct this error to permit easier posting and referencing to other material? Thank you.


Jessica said...

Also see the recent ISDR briefing note on Climate Change and DRR (http://www.preventionweb.net/files/4146_ClimateChangeDRR.pdf) which compliments the paper by Kelman and Gaillard.

It is available on PreventionWeb's front page if the link is not complete.


prasad said...

Yes the issue raised by you should be the important part of DRR. From last 4yr I am working on Disaster Risk Management and I belive that Climate Change should be the main factor of DRR

Anonymous said...

Thanks Marcus for your initiatives, I believe we are on the right track, and these points we help in making progress towards the integration of Climate change adaptation and DRR

Anonymous said...

Thanks Marcus for your initieves, we are on the right track. Johnson Ojo, ACI, Swaziland

sunilchauhan34 said...

Pardon me if I sound a bit cynical, but to me it seems we are always reinventing the wheel or giving a new twist to old accepted measures. 'Linking DRR with CC', DRR or otherway around, any efforts towards 'risk management', certainly from the the theoretical aspect, always factors all variables causing risk..be it natural hazards, man made, climate variability etc .. or the new hot risk 'climate change'. All qualified and trained 'Risk Managers' would acknowledge this. The practical interventions more often are lacking for reasons other than true knowledge of how things should be.

Climate change is after all one of the risk agents, and not the only one. So I don't think we need to 'make a case for a central place for DRR in the Climate Change adaptation debate'. Climate change needn't be treated as a separate issue, but as one of the stressors within the DRR framework.There is a great difference in the two approaches, viz, 'DRR within CC' and 'CC within DRR'. The latter is the right approach, and has always been so, climate variability was always factored in risk reduction, only now the scale and tempo(which also is not entirely due to purely the physical science basis, but also due to geo-political reasons) are giving climate change a dangerous and incorrect dominance.I think Ilan has captured this quite nicely in his article 'Placing climate change within DRR'.

So may be we could focus more on achieving effective inteventions for desired end results, rather than getting carried away by new catch phrases.


Anshu Sharma said...

Great initiative, and very well drafted recommendations. While we recommend treating people living in geographically vulnerable areas as a priority, we may also want to draw attention to the fact that (i) we do not have a very good understanding of such areas in all countries, and (ii) we also do not know how badly and where the secondary impacts of climate change will hit in terms of induced disasters. In this light, you may want to include a recommendation on investing in developing a better understanding of community vulnerability to climate change induced disaster through targetted research, and partnerships between civil society organisations and academic institutions.


Marcus said...

Marcus, can't seem to enter anything in the blog, but would start comments by saying why not approach the DRR-CCA debate/competition by viewing CCA inside DRR, as adapting to the impacts (direct and indirect) of atmospheric and hydrologic events (even variations and variability and slight changes) is actually part of the larger role of development to deal with risk, including risk from natural hazard events. Steve

sunilchauhan34 said...

I don't think there is any DRR-CCA competition or even a scope for debate.You answered it yourself..'adapting to impacts..is the larger role of development to deal with risk..', and DRR addresses that (all hazards, all risks.. even those arising of CC). So where should CC adaptation be placed?...quite logically and obviously within DRR.


pradeep mohapatra said...

Dear Marcus, thanks.
Excellent drafting and this has captured every thing. am putting few things looking at DRR and climate change and community /regional perspective based on our experience

 Link to the broader view of poverty and poverty alleviation that goes beyond just income poverty to include empowerment, capability enhancement for adaptation to vulnerability and risk reduction etc due to climate change variability
 Highlights the crucial role of ‘context’ (especially vulnerability context) – and how this influences the asset base, strategies, and the outcomes for households/ communities.
 Gives space to local/regional perspectives - categorize the strategies
 Build on what exists - a multidimensional, integrated for an inclusive development and reducing vulnerability and environmental sustainability.
 Networking and alliance building efforts and greaterscope for CSOs.
 http://www.google.co.in/search?hl=en&q=pradeep+mohapatra&btnG=Google+Search&meta=
 http://www.endwaterpoverty.org/members/
 www.climatecaucus.net

Marcus said...

I've been working with the BOND DRR group who are compiling a letter to send to the Uk's Department for Internatinal Development ahead of the Poznan meetings.

I think many of us are saying the same thing here albeit in slightly different ways. We've boilded down the discourse into four main issues:-

ACCOUNTABILITY: Establishing an independant monitoring framework to measure progress towards climate adaptation at the local level

ACCESSIBILITY: Develping an innovative funding mechansim that is directly accessible to at-risk communities - including a clear statement as to what proportion of Adaptation Funds will be allocated to affected communities and community-based organisations

REPRESENTATION: Clear defined mechanisms as to how local voices and community representatives will be incorproated into climate adaptation planning and decision-making processes

ENHANCING LOCAL CAPACITIES: Primary strategy to build resilience and adaptive capabilities amongst at-risk communities

PROPORTIONATE RESPONSIBILITIES: Moblisation of significant resources from industrialised nations commesurate with thier level of carbo emissions, ensuring equitable transfer of funding to the most-affected communities.

A series of letters, postcodes, presentations and lobbying intiatives are being planned based on the above.

Sarah Moss from Christian Aid will be the GN Steering Group representative at the Poznan meetings


pradeep mohapatra said...

Dear Marcus,
Thanks for very good suggestions.
Funding mobilization is important from industrial and developed countries but more important to mobilize sentiments , attitude,emotions of lawyers,policy makers, legislatures, and other important stakeholders to make broad based governance and inclusive.
Since last three years we are begging to beggars, bureaucrats,billionaires thru our citizen action for climate justice , be humane , pro-people responsive and be part of environmentally friendly.

sarah said...

Hi Everyone,

I have recently been involved in a consultation meeting with DFID DRR and climate change teams and UNISDR and last week a policy forum in Copenhagen attanded my many UN agencies, politicians and NGOs to discuss the links between climate change adaptation and DRR.

My top four advocacy points for adaptation would be:

1. Developing an adaptation framework
to guide how adaptation will be implemented and independently monitored at national and local level

2. Ensuring that vulnerable people benefit
and will have direct access to the adaptation fund to obtain the information and technology they need to adapt

3. Strengthening local capacity
to assess climate risks & implement their own adaptation and risk reduction strategies

4. Establishing fair governance for adaptation financing
raising significant funding from industrialised nations and ensuring the equitable transfer of funds to the most vulnerable people

I will be going to Poznan next week. The BOND DRRG group have sent a letter to out UK government delegation and to the international members of the the Adaptation Fund Board with these key points. I have received some positive feedback that the UK delegation support these points.

I would be interested to have contact details of anyone with a DRR interest who is going to Poznan. We are trying to put together a contact list so as to organise a meet up in Poznan. Please send details to smoss100@gmail.com. Please give name, Hotel address/tel, mobile, Date arrival and departure.

Kind Regards

Sarah Moss

Ilan said...


Thanks for your work and advocacy on this issue and for representing us. I have a few thoughts regarding your four points:

1. Why is an adaptation framework needed that is separate from a DRR framework? DRR explicitly and implicitly includes climate change adaptation. Why create separate implementation and monitoring schemes for similar activities?

2. I agree with this point.

3. Why not use instead "Strengthening local capacity to assess disaster risks & implement their own risk reduction strategies". Simpler, easier, and loses nothing. If you prefer, then "Strengthening local capacity to assess disaster risks (including climate change) & implement their own risk reduction strategies (including adaptation)".

4. I agree with this point, but it could easily be combined with 2 without losing anything, but instead making the points more straightforward.

In particular, and based on the others' comments on this blog, please bring the strong message to Poznan that climate change people must learn from the past decades of disasters, development, and sustainability work, rather than re-inventing everything on their own terms. There is nothing new in climate change, but it brings a horrible challenge similar to the other horrible challenges that we have been struggling with in disasters, development, and sustainability, so we must join forces and learn from the past in order to create a better future.

Thank you,


Ben Wisner said...

Greetings, Marcus, Sarah, and all!

This is a good discussion, and I wish the BOND group much success in pushing for the ten points Marcus began the blog with.

From my point of view there are two a few important, more detailed issues that lurk in the shadows of those quite important ten points.

First, I don't think enough has been made of the ambiguity of the word "adaptation." In the hands of national governments, "adaptation" may mean megaprojects such as dam construction or bio-fuel production that has the indirect and unintended effect of REDUCING the ability to adapt of small farmers and pastoralists and other less powerful groups with weak political voices. So there are really two kinds of adaptation but they are usually bundled together. When small farmers or pastoralists are displaced by a mega-project, the research shows that they often end up with fewer economic options and less ability to cope with extremes.

Secondly, under the item referring to "geographical location", one should emphasize that the world is highly urban and urbanizing rapidly. Many of the displaced just mentioned end up as poor in the cities, and may of these cities are on coasts exposed to storms and sea level rise, etc. The urban problematique needs to be made explicit. To some degree this came up in the recent World Urban Forum in Nanjing.

Third and finally, I have my doubts about making the Hyogo Framework of Action legally binding. It is not a very consistent or coherent document but the product of compromise and last minute negotiation at the WCDR in Kobe, 2005. I think a far better approach would be to develop a new treaty between now and 2015 that would affirm the human right to protection from avoidable harm from extreme natural events -- something I wrote a bit about as early as 2000 and 2001 (see http://www.radixonline.org/humanrights.htm ).

David said...

Dear Marcus,

This response has come rather too late for Poznan meeting therefore would not necessarily comment on it but just to acknowledge the importance of establishing a wider network of DRR Practicener is great. However with regards to your recommendation, I wish to state that we really need common understanding of global DRR policy Framework that requires mandatory commitments from stakeholders to include in their respective strategies. Alongside, we also probably require regional level interaction opportunities to thrust out key issues be it conceptual understanding of issues or practical aspects of implementation at National government institutions, accademic interest groups, professionals in DRR and agencies interest to participate and buy the ideas and issues.

I am incline to understand that this initiative is a good start and wish to trancent further.

As i understand; many actors are implementing in isolation with good intention but not necessarily free from harms and errors that could have unintended impacts.

More later.

Marcus, this is David Boyes - formal TF-DMT Afghanistan.


David Boyes