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Thematic Process T.1.3.4

Adapting to climate change: Focus on Disaster Risk Prevention with a long-term perspective

· Coordinator :
Alterra Wageningen University and Research Centre
· Co-Coordinator :
Deltares

Globally, water-related disasters already account for 90% of all natural disasters. Damages from water-related disasters can in economic terms be up to 15% of annual GDP for certain countries. The projected impacts of climate change clearly indicate more pronounced hydro-meteorological extremes and consequent increase in occurrence and severity of water-related disasters. The vulnerability of people to flood hazards and droughts has increased through population growth, poverty, land shortages, urbanization and the poor condition of flood protection and drainage infrastructure, especially in developing countries, and will continue to do so. Moreover, droughts, as slowly developing disasters, may lead to the collapse of social structures and to refugees that may cause disruptions in social structures of adjacent regions.
Most disaster response agencies at various (global, national, and local) levels consider disaster threats from a response perspective in a relatively unchanging environment. Agencies dealing with climate change adaptation on the other hand are largely concerned with accounting for long-term average shifts in precipitation patterns. Current developments indicate the need for a pro-active perspective from both communities that accounts for the shifting nature of water related threats, with special attention for shifting extremes. Such a pro-active perspective should focus on developing measures to prevent disasters from happening or measures to increase resilience against disastrous events. Such an approach pays, as each euro/dollar spent on preventive measures can pay back up to ten-fold in avoided damage and loss of life. Often vulnerable social groups are hit hardest by disasters. Prevention from this perspective reduces social inequity. Moreover, prevention is advantageous for investments as it reduces the risk that these investments are destroyed by disasters and consequently creates trust. Prevention thus promotes social and economic sustainable development. With an increasing incidence and severity of extreme events investments into disaster prevention become increasingly advantageous.
Working towards preventive action requires a reframing of the paradigm of disaster risk management from a traditional focus on mitigating the impacts of disasters using stand-alone and ad hoc interventions to a broad focus on prevention, mitigation, preparedness, and vulnerability reduction. This includes recognising that disaster risk management faces high uncertainties, especially in the long term, and is therefore an iterative effort that includes experimentation and learning. Therefore, preventive action against disasters requires a long-term development perspective. It needs to be embedded in an integrated process that incorporates water resources management and climate adaptation processes, and mainstreamed into national planning processes.

Aims of the session
The session aims to increase awareness of the increasing disaster risks as a result of climate change, and to share and discuss perspectives on the issue. The session provides a response to disasters through an approach that takes a long-term perspective and aims at preventing and mitigating the effects of extreme events. The approach and the associated requirements are explained and highlighted through concrete examples. The session will also discuss how infrastructure can provide solutions for both water management and disaster response/prevention but can also “lock in” certain solutions.
The results of the session will be put down in a document describing Disaster Risk Prevention as an approach towards improved disaster risk management and disaster preparedness. The session will thus provide a practical and workable approach that increases resilience against extreme events and aims to prevent hazards to become disasters based on a long term perspective.

Keywords :
Africa, Asia-Pacific, Climate Change, Disaster, Europe, Governance, Preparedness & Prevention, Risilience, Water Security

Session Data

· Date :
April 16, 2015 (목)
· Time :
14:40-16:40
· Venue :
DEC_310
DAEGU - EXCO
3F Room 324
· Session Code :
T.1.3.4
· Language :
English
Spanish
Korean