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Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change

Climate change increases disaster risk in a number of ways. It changes the magnitude and frequency of extreme events (meaning coping and response mechanisms and economic planning for disasters based on past vulnerabilities may no longer suffice). It changes average climatic conditions and climate variability, affecting underlying risk factors, and it generates new threats, which a region may have no experience in dealing with. Clearly, the climate change and disaster management communities need to work together in addressing these issues. If climate change adaptation policies and measures are to be efficient and effective they must build on and expand existing disaster risk reduction (DRR) efforts. And if DRR approaches are to be sustainable they must account for the impact of climate change.

There is a need to increase the level of strategic coordination between the climate change and disaster risk reduction communities. Although there are similarities and differences between climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, there are relevant benefits of a more integrated approach to these issues: (1) reduction of climate-related losses, through more widespread implementation of DRR measures linked with adaptation; (2) increased effectiveness and sustainability of both adaptation and DRR approaches; and (3) more efficient use of financial, human, and natural resources.