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Disaster Risk Must Be Considered As Part Of Climate Change Mitigation

Helping at-risk communities adapt to climate change impacts is an important part of the Paris Climate Change agreement, but adaptation will not be complete without considering disaster risk.

Disasters and climate change pose major challenges to sustainable development. They undermine livelihoods, access to natural resources, and food security for billions of people. From 1980 to 2012, disasters caused nearly $3.8 billion in economic loss and claimed a total of 1.4 million lives.

In developing countries, vulnerable population’s ability to recover from the impact of these events can be weakened by poverty, inadequate or unsustainable development practices, environmental degradation, and population growth.

When it comes to climate change, there is no shortage of urgency. We are no longer placing our worry for the future in our grandchildren’s era. Our immediate global condition is at stake.

If you ask the pastoralists in the Turkana region of Kenya – a place already facing drought every two to three years – they will tell you first hand that the rain they depend on has become completely unreliable. For them, as for millions more, risk management now has to be calibrated to an ever-changing climate in order to be effective.

At the same time, as we rush to adapt to climate change, we must not forget the resources and lessons offered from decades of risk management to address landslides, earthquakes, floods, droughts, and storms—encompassing both climate risk and non-climate risk.

UN Photo

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