ROME – Recent extreme weather events, such as Hurricane Sandy in the UN, typhoon Pablo which has battered the Phillipines this week and the record US drought which impacted world wheat supplies, have thrown a spotlight on the importance of learning to manage the risks of disasters and extreme.
At the COP18 summit this week in Doha, where leaders were expected to move forward efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the World Food Programme hosted an event with ISDR which will explore how to manage the increasing risks, with particular attention to the poor and vulnerable, who are likely to suffer most.
The event discussed drought risks in particular and illustrated drought risk management practices and approaches. Holistic approaches to resilient development enable governments to leverage the knowledge, skills and technologies of disaster risk reduction in ways that both reduce losses and promote sustainable growth in a changing climate
Disasters and extreme events affect all aspects of human development so reducing vulnerability and managing disaster risks is essential for adaptation in a changing climate.
According to the UN Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction in 2011, over 80% of economic losses are due to weather-related disasters. Climate change is altering the face of disaster risk, not only through rises in sea-level and temperatures, but also through increased socio-economic vulnerability resulting from water stresses, impacts on agriculture, ecosystems, and health.
Climate related hazards, like droughts and floods, will increase in frequency, intensity and duration as a result of changing climate, according to the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report and IPCC Special Report “Managing the Risk of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation”. The Special Report makes clear that the severity of extreme weather and climate events depend strongly on the level of vulnerability and exposure to these events.
In that context, disaster risk reduction and climate change mitigation and adaptation share a common objective: building the resilience of communities to climate change and natural disasters and achieving sustainable development. Internationally, there is a growing recognition that climate change adaptation is predicated on efforts to reduce disaster risks.