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Climate change to be considered in disaster risk reduction policies

Climate change to be considered in disaster risk reduction policies

Better administrative coordination can improve the effectiveness of weather and climate risk management, shows a study undertaken by the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the University of Helsinki. This was investigated in Zambia, where disaster risk management and climate change adaptation are partly separated from each other at the policy level, leading to inefficient use of administrative resources and overlapping management structures.

Climate change brings a new dimension to disaster risk reduction and management plans due to increase in long-term uncertainty. Future uncertainties and potential impacts should be considered in disaster risk management starting at the policy level. Additionally, the reduction and management of disaster risks should be considered in conjunction with climate change adaptation in all sectors of society, with particular focus on weather-sensitive sectors.

In Zambia, where the issue was investigated, disaster risk management and climate change adaptation policies are separated from each other at the policy level. This has led to inefficient use of administrative resources and overlapping management structures. Disaster risk management is mainly implemented by an influential government agency established primarily for this purpose. Climate change adaptation, on the other hand, is connected to climate change mitigation and coordinated by a separate institution. Both parties, however, aim at accounting for each other's domains, and no real coordination exist.

Duplication of structures and inefficiency could have been avoided by creating a strategy aimed at policy integration and a plan on how disaster risk reduction and management and climate change adaptation policies are politically control in practice. It is important that each policy sector, such as agriculture and forestry sector, analyses how disaster risk and climate change adaptation are included in their respective policies and strategies. Again, this has not been realized in Zambia.

In the study, 21 stakeholders' from different government organizations, development finance institutions, non-governmental organizations and consultants were interviewed. Interviews gave an understanding of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation policies and administration in Zambia, and what stakeholders view as the links between these two policy sectors. The study was conducted as part of the SAFE-MET project, which was financed by the Academy of Finland under the Research Programme FICCA. The SAFE-MET project examined ways to improve the preparedness of Malawi and Zambia for weather and climate risks, and developed interdisciplinary climate change research in the two countries.

More information:

Karoliina Pilli-Sihvola, tel. +358 50 3094 660, karoliina.pilli-sihvola@fmi.fi
Senja Väätäinen-Chimpuku, tel. +358 46 810 8211 senja.vaatainen@gmail.com

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212420915300923


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