copy the linklink copied!Findings and ways forward to achieve increased coherence in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction

Countries are faced with the growing challenge of managing increasing risks from climate change and climate variability, putting development and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals at risk. The adoption in 2015 of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Paris Agreement on climate change provides a clear mandate for increased coherence in countries’ approaches to climate and disaster risk reduction. While both frameworks refer to their respective goals and objectives, each guides progress towards a more sustainable, resilient and equitable future. Domestically, responsibilities for climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk reduction (DRR) tend to be spread across different institutions and stakeholders; internationally, they are supported by separate UN agencies and related processes. The different approaches and mechanisms inevitably result in overlaps and gaps.

Countries are increasingly recognising the benefits of increased coherence in CCA and DRR, exemplified by the number of countries that either have developed joint strategies or put in place processes that facilitate co-ordination across the two policy areas. For increased coherence, certain enabling factors must be in place, including strong leadership and engagement of key government bodies, broad stakeholder participation and co-ordination, clear allocation of roles, responsibilities and resources, and monitoring, evaluation and continuous learning. This can help identify trade-offs (e.g. growing need for public support to post-disaster responses in the absence of a focus on CCA) and synergies (e.g. more comprehensive assessments of interlinked climate and disaster risks), while minimising redundancies in delivery.

Coherence is a means to integrate the pursuit of CCA and DRR in sustainable development. It is a process of co-ordination and can be pursued and operationalised horizontally across sectors; vertically at different levels of government (local, sub-national, national, regional and global); and through collaboration across stakeholder groups (e.g. governments and inter-governmental organisations, the private sector, civil society organisations and citizens). Three main types of coherence can be identified:

  • Strategic: Aligned visions, goals and priorities on CCA and DRR in national development plans and strategies, providing a framework for pursuing operational coherence;

  • Operational: Policy frameworks and institutional arrangements supportive of the implementation of aligned objectives on CCA and DRR;

  • Technical: Strengthened technical capacities to assess the risks and opportunities, to identify and prioritise CCA and DRR measures and to finance them.

Informed by the country approaches of Ghana, Peru and the Philippines, this report examines approaches for increased coherence in CCA and DRR. Good practices identified and lessons learned point to enabling factors and approaches that promote coherence at different levels of government, across sectors and stakeholder groups summarised below. This provides the basis for a set of actionable ways forward not only targeting the government officials in the three case study countries, but also those in other countries as well as providers of development co-operation.

copy the linklink copied!National approaches to increased coherence in CCA ad DRR

Governance arrangements for coherence in CCA and DRR

To realise the benefits of increased coherence in CCA and DRR requires political support and strong leadership by a recognised co-ordination entity. Awareness raising and capacity development are also important in ensuring that the benefits and trade-offs of greater coherence are well understood by key stakeholders and guide the identification of shared solutions. With the implementation of CCA and DRR often occurring at the local or sector level, ministries and agencies with a presence at these levels are well placed to lead efforts to increase coherence in CCA and DRR. This is nonetheless contingent on the availability of the required human, institutional and financial capacities to facilitate such co-ordination. In some country contexts, capacities are stretched due to competing demands generated both by the separate CCA and DRR frameworks and processes, as well as by other development priorities. CCA and DRR also have strengths that can build upon each other. The historically established approach to DRR can offer lessons and entry points for CCA. The international focus on climate change brings resources and political profile to CCA that can also be leveraged for DRR.

Climate services in support of CCA and DRR

The past decade has seen a shift in emphasis from assessing climate and disaster hazards to better understanding their risks. Despite this, there continues to be a gap in exposure and vulnerability data – two key dimensions of risk – compared to hazard data, with the former often spread across ministries and levels of government. Human and technical capacity to access, generate and use the data and information available presents an additional barrier. To overcome these challenges, incentives must be in place to encourage owners of data to make it accessible. Centralised platforms with access to data and information, including risk models, observation systems (meteorological offices) and academia can facilitate robust risk assessments tailored to user needs. Strengthening capacities of stakeholders to use the data to conduct risk analysis – especially at the local level – should be another priority. To further guide decisions on CCA and DRR within the deep uncertainty inherent in climate projections, climate data should also be complemented with information on other ecological, economic and social factors that drive exposure and vulnerability. This in turn can help increase the acceptability of CCA and DRR measures by local stakeholders. Further, climate services are most effective when matched with tools that can translate climate information into a format that can guide decision-making processes, recognising broader drivers of risks, such as population growth and urbanisation.

Implementation of CCA and DRR

Political commitment to greater coherence in CCA and DRR does not always translate into implementation. Institutional bodies with a mandate to co-ordinate often do not have the mandate to implement and fund. Capacity constraints – human and financial – further exacerbate these barriers, particularly at the local level where most implementation occurs. Lack of coherence at higher levels of government can also lead to conflicting or duplicative demands at the local level. Instead, considerations of climate and disaster risks should guide all policy processes. Similarly, a range of common policy instruments, e.g. land-use management, building codes and infrastructure standards, can contribute to joint CCA and DRR outcomes. Strengthening the capacity to enforce these policies, standards and regulations can therefore be effective in managing and reducing risks, such as limiting the construction of infrastructure in areas highly vulnerable to climate and geophysical hazards. When there is not sufficient political backing to implement identified CCA and DRR measure or to integrate these considerations into all processes, post disaster response in theory provides opportunities to reinforce resilience. The trade-off between the urgency of quick recovery and the need for robust risk assessments to incorporate climate considerations may limit this in practice.

Financing for coherence in CCA and DRR

Investment in coherent implementation of CCA and DRR requires multiple sources and instruments of finance as well as consideration of different time-scales. This often involves complex decision-making on where, to whom, and how much finance should be allocated. Risk assessments and economic analysis can support the prioritisation of funding to measures known to foster coherence in CCA and DRR (e.g. prevention measures). The feasibility and quality of such assessments and analyses nevertheless depends on the capacities of the actors responsible for planning, and the availability of information on climate and disaster risks. Greater clarity in financial management can also help governments promote greater coherence in CCA and DRR. Existing budgeting tools and guidelines, such as budget codes for CCA and DRR, can help identify funding gaps and priorities for public investments. Grants that target coherence can also create incentives for focusing on CCA and DRR across sectors and levels of government, especially when demand for scarce resources for competing development priorities is high. Further, piloting of different financial instruments, in some cases with support from development partners, can support the development of solid risk financing strategies to respond to the impacts of climate-related disasters. For such pilots to succeed, however, they must include clear exit, replication or scale-up plans. Over time, they provide valuable opportunities for relevant stakeholders to build capacity and identify examples of good practice.

Monitoring, evaluation and learning

Robust national reporting systems provide a strong basis for monitoring and evaluation of CCA and DRR, subject to data availability. In some countries, separate reporting systems are in place for CCA, DRR, and their related strategies and plans; in others, the reporting systems for the individual processes refer to established national reporting processes in place for broader national development strategies. While the former is more resource intensive and thus more challenging to implement, the information captured by the latter will be less detailed. Even when monitoring and evaluation systems are in place, it is not always clear how the information generated informs subsequent policy-making processes. This is not unique to the context of CCA and DRR but constitutes a wider challenge. The uncertain nature of projected climate change impacts and the importance of a flexible approach, however, highlights the importance of continuous learning. Development co-operation can play a valuable role in supporting partner countries in strengthening data governance and the capacity of national statistical offices.

copy the linklink copied!The role of development co-operation in supporting coherence in CCA and DRR

Development co-operation also plays an important role in supporting partner countries in addressing climate and disaster risks while strengthening coherence and increasing efficiency. Development co-operation supports all three levels of coherence but plays a particularly significant role in supporting countries achieve operational and technical coherence.

  • Strategic coherence: Support countries in aligning their visions, goals and priorities with those agreed upon as part of global commitments on CCA and DRR, e.g. through guided stakeholder consultations. Development co-operation can also support the mainstreaming of CCA and DRR visions into broader national development strategies, by raising awareness and fostering incentives across institutions on the benefits and limitations of enhanced coherence.

  • Operational coherence: Support countries in identifying opportunities for coherence in implementation through strengthened policy frameworks and institutional arrangements that support local implementation. Development co-operation is also well placed to fund and pilot initiatives that support coherence and are aligned with countries’ domestic CCA and DRR priorities. There is also value in continuing, replicating or scaling up pilots that have demonstrated potential but that require time and continued support to fully mature.

  • Technical coherence: Support initiatives to strengthen technical capacities to assess climate and disaster risks and opportunities, and to identify and prioritise CCA and DRR measures. Adequate time must be factored into the support provided to ensure that the stakeholders involved can assimilate the new skills and knowledge.

Development co-operation can also create a barrier for greater coherence in CCA and DRR, when the intersection between the two is not explicitly or sufficiently taken into account in the support provided, or when there is inadequate co-ordination between entities or providers of support for either CCA or DRR.

copy the linklink copied!Ways forward to achieve greater coherence on climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction

Informed by the comparative analysis of the national approaches of Ghana, Peru and the Philippines, and supported by an in-depth literature review, countries may consider the following opportunities for achieving greater coherence in CCA and DRR:

  • Align responsibility for co-ordination with responsibility for implementation of CCA and DRR policies

    • Ensure ministries and agencies at the national level have information and incentives to integrate CCA and DRR across their portfolios, and report back on progress centrally.

    • Make use of ministries and agencies with a presence at the local level and responsible for implementation to ensure that national directives on CCA and DRR are integrated with local development plans.

    • Reinforce the mandate of relevant ministries and agencies to enforce existing regulatory measures and provide incentives in support of CCA and DRR, such as land-use management and environmental protection.

    • Build on international momentum on CCA policies to also bring domestic attention and resources to the reduction of climate-related disaster risks, and specifically risk prevention measures.

  • Make tailored climate information readily available to support evidence-based policy

    • Provide support or incentive mechanisms to encourage owners of data to make climate information easily accessible for users at all levels.

    • Where appropriate, converge risk assessment methods across sectors to support coherent decision-making on CCA and DRR on the ground.

    • Put further emphasis on generating comprehensive information related to current vulnerability and exposure, and layer this with information on future hazards, which is inherently uncertain and requires careful interpretation.

    • Ensure there are channels for locally collected data on vulnerability to contribute to the wider understanding of vulnerabilities.

  • Enhance capacity to translate coherence in planning into coherence in implementation

    • Support local governments in implementing national directives on CCA and DRR by providing, for instance, incentive and review mechanisms (e.g. funding allocations and approvals of local development plans) as well as guidance, tools and checklists.

    • Understand local CCA and DRR priorities and capacity constraints, recognise challenges to continuity in building capacity, and tailor efforts accordingly.

    • Provide tools and strengthen the capacity of stakeholders – especially at the local level (e.g. by working with local universities) – to use climate information including projections in a way that supports robust decision making on CCA and DRR.

    • Facilitate peer learning on good practices to common challenges (e.g. coastal erosion) among local governments.

  • Optimise long-term funding allocation across different risks through budgeting tools, ex-ante financing plans and greater transparency in public spending

    • Make use of financial management tools (e.g. budget coding and expenditure review), risk assessments, and economic analysis (e.g. cost-benefit, cost-effectiveness and multi-criteria analysis) to support budget allocation for CCA for DRR.

    • Improve transparency in national and sub-national public spending (e.g. budget and expenditure tracking) to identify areas for improvement in coherence between CCA and DRR, and review the results to future financial decision-making

    • Establish ex-ante financing plans, including approaches for financial protection that ideally take stock of potential public disaster costs (including future climate impacts) and identify financing options for response, recovery and rehabilitation.

  • Monitor, evaluate and learn from CCA and DRR

    • Map data and information available that can inform monitoring, evaluation and learning for CCA and DRR.

    • Identify synergies between the reporting mechanisms for CCA and DRR to optimise resources.

    • Establish mechanisms that allow lessons learned on CCA and DRR to inform subsequent policy processes.

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