e-mail Disaster Risk Management Delegate, Hung Ha Nguyen, at hungha.nguyen@ifrc.org

The Regional Perspective

Climate change is among the most serious challenges of this and future generations. This was once more highlighted in the outcome document of the Rio+20 conference. Climate change acts as a stress multiplier and exacerbates existing vulnerabilities. It may also trigger events of unknown magnitude that can potentially make current humanitarian capacity ineffective and be a barrier to achieving humanitarian goals. Threats associated with climate change are therefore inseparable from IFRC’s mission of building safer and resilient communities.

Strategy 2020 underlines IFRC’s climate change adaptation work through the scale up of disaster risk reduction measures. It also calls for a contribution to climate change mitigation through advocacy and social mobilization to promote sustainable community development.

Southeast Asia is expected to be seriously affected by the adverse impacts of climate change since most economies are relying on agriculture and natural resources, particularly water resources, in addition to the region’s coastal systems, and ecosystems. The region is annually affected by climate extremes, particularly floods, droughts and tropical cyclones, while large areas of the region are highly prone to flooding and influenced by monsoons. Such climatic impacts will severely threaten the livelihood of poor people living in rural areas with limited adaptive capacity.


A significant change in measures of climate (such as temperature, precipitation, or wind) lasting for an extended period (decades or longer). Climate change can result from both natural changes (such as changes in the sun’s intensity or oceanic circulation) and human activities. Today we tend to use the term for changes in the climate that are induced by human activities that alter the gaseous composition of the atmosphere due to the release of greenhouse gases, in particular CO2 (such as fossil fuel burning or deforestation). (IPCC 2001)


“The adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climate stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities.” (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC)

The definition recognizes that humans can adjust to past (“actual”) climate change and its impacts, or prepare for projected future (“expected”) climate change and its impacts. Adaptation can include changes in behaviour, technology, institutions, policies, and other aspects of human systems.



“[…] the concept and practice of reducing disaster risks through systematic efforts to analyse and manage the causal factors of disasters, including through reduced exposure to hazards, lessened vulnerability of people and property, wise management of land and the environment, and improved preparedness for adverse events.” 2009 UNISDR terminology on Disaster Risk Reduction


Considering and addressing risks associated with disasters and climate change in all processes of policy-making, planning, budgeting, implementation, and monitoring.

This entails an analysis of how potential risks and vulnerability could affect the implementation of policies, programmes and projects. Concurrently, it also analyses how these, in turn, could have an impact on vulnerability to hazards. This analysis should lead on to the adoption of appropriate measures to reduce potential risks and vulnerability, where necessary, treating risk reduction and adaptation as an integral part of all programme management processes rather than as an end in itself.


Actions that reduce the sources of greenhouse gases, or enhance carbon sinks. Examples include using fossil fuels more efficiently for industrial processes or electricity generation, switching from oil to natural gas as a heating fuel, improving the insulation of buildings, and expanding forests and other sinks to remove greater amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. (UNFCCC)

Guiding Documents

Case study: Bridging the gap - integrating climate change and disaster risk reduction - IFRC
Case study: Whatever the weather - IFRC

More References

Summary for policymakers on managing the risks of extreme events and disasters to advance climate change adaptation
Managing Climate extremes and disasters in Asia
Weather, Climate and Climate Change Facts and Figures - Vanuatu RC

References in Climate Change and Gender

Document library - Climate Change




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