Climate Change's Role in DRR's Future: Beyond Vulnerability and Resilience

Submitted by Richard Taylor | published 30th Jun 2015 | last updated 13th May 2019
16802389219 9fca2c123b z 0 - climate adaptation.

Flooding in Madagascar ©EU/ECHO/Maria Olsen

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 to work together to achieve common goals for humanity.

*download from right-hand column or access via link provided below.

Suggested Citation

Kelman, Ilan, J. C. Gaillard, and Jessica Mercer. “Climate Change’s Role in Disaster Risk Reduction’s Future: Beyond Vulnerability and Resilience.” International Journal of Disaster Risk Science 6, no. 1 (March 5, 2015): 21–27. doi:10.1007/s13753-015-0038-5.