Integrating disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation for risk-informed and climate-smart development

Source(s): United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - Headquarters

Policy coherence for sustainable development is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. A review of good practices developed by the Issue-Based Coalition on environment and climate change looks at the linkages between disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, around the main dimensions of policy, innovation and practice. Building greater policy coherence between disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation can contribute to advancing sustainable development. This review aims to showcase good practices of policy coherence around climate resilience, with the intention of raising awareness among the UN country teams on the strengthened application of both policy agendas in the development and implementation of UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Frameworks at country level. It aspires to remain a living document, continuously enriched through good practices shared by the UN family from across the region.

The Issue-Based Coalition (IBC) on environment and climate change for Europe and Central Asia offers a framework that brings UN member agencies together in support of the UN Resident Coordinators and UN Country Teams across Europe and Central Asia. The UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, along with UNECE and UNEP, co-leads the 18-member IBC on environment and climate change since its launch in March 2020 at the Special Session of the Regional UN Meeting. Through its task team on disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change, the IBC aims to raise awareness and understanding of how the UN family can support increased coherence of DRR and Climate Change Adaptation policy agendas at a country level among other things.

The Review of good practices integrating disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation for risk-informed and climate-smart development, developed by the IBC on environment and climate change and released in September 2021, explores the linkages between DRR and climate change adaptation with policy, innovation and practice. Building resilience and improving policy coherence on DRR and climate change adaptation at country level contributes to advancing sustainable development.

The review is structured around 5 domains in which good practices fostering coherence and building resilience to climate and disaster risks are introduced:

Governance and institutional capability needed to coordinate responses to disaster and climate risks, and foster innovative and forward-thinking solutions.

Risk assessment including disaster and climate risks, vulnerabilities and coping capabilities, considering systemic interlinkages and dependences.

Nature-based solutions providing cost-effective ways of reducing risks and additional ecologic, social and economic benefits.

Disaster and climate finance embedded within comprehensive financial protection strategies and that contributes to building resilience to the financial impacts of climate and disaster risks.

Monitoring, reporting and evaluation and learning to trace progress made in reducing risks and building resilience to assess what has been accomplished, and to communicate the processes and outcomes.

Among the examples of good practices are the EU-funded projects SHELTER (Sustainable Historic Environments hoListic reconstruction through Technological Enhancement and community based Resilience) and OPERANDUM (OPEn-air laboRAtories for Nature baseD solUtions to Manage hydro-meteo risks) for which UNESCO is a partner. The purpose of both projects is to enable stakeholders and end users to improve knowledge in nature-based solutions and DRR and climate change adaptation actions as well as provide ways to build resilience and protect the natural and cultural heritage through Open Laboratories.

Actions for DRR and climate change adaptation are powerful vehicles for transformative action and change. Although the two spheres are different in many respects, the common attributes shared by transformative processes are the vulnerability and the role of citizens and communities as agents of individual and social change. Through new commitments, knowledge and innovative mechanisms, transformational approaches advance the integration of DRR and climate change adaptation on the local, regional, transboundary and global levels, by designing shared vision and pathways to realise that vision.

The IBC considers the review of good practices as a working document that will evolve over time as further good practices will be developed, shared and disseminated. The compilation of good practices could be further developed into an online database, through which each UN Country Team may identify practical solutions and inspirations from experiences shared from across the UN family.

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