UN examines disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation link

9 November 2009

A United Nations-backed gathering of experts kicked off today in Panama to initiate for the first time an assessment of the effect climate change has on the future threat of natural disasters and how nations can better manage an expected rise in severe weather patterns.

The first global scientific effort examining the linkages between disaster risk reduction and adaptation to climate change will be undertaken by over 90 experts attending the four-day meeting in Panama City, which was convened by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The call for the investigation – consisting of an extensive survey of scientific and technical data available in 2010 – comes in response to a IPCC report in 2007 which predicts that more frequent and severe extreme weather events such as droughts, floods, storms, heat waves were likely in the future warmer world.

“The IPCC Special Report is a collective effort that will shine a spotlight on the working policies and tools that people have been using for years to manage and adapt to natural variations of the climate,” said Margareta Wahlström, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction.

“It will inform governments about what works best to reduce disaster risks and manage extreme events, and how to cut down on future losses of lives and assets,” added Ms. Wahlström.

The assessment, Managing the Risk of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation, will be delivered in a report, slated for release in 2011 following worldwide technical and governmental review.

The experts will assess measures that governments and people can take to build resilience to weather and climate hazards and examine practices, strategies and approaches that communities can use to adapt to climate change.

The IPCC team of experts combines the forces of economists, sociologists, risk analysts, hydrologists, agricultural experts, health researchers, and risk reduction practitioners alongside climate scientists from a diverse range of developing and developed countries.

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