Climate Risk Management

Using local and national climate information for sustainable development planning

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Societies have always lived with climate risk. Strategies for reducing exposure and vulnerability to climate hazards like cyclones and extreme temperatures have shaped livelihoods, settlement patterns, economies and cultures throughout human history. But relying on past experience is no longer enough; climate change is increasing uncertainty about where climate hazards occur, when, for how long, and at what level of intensity. Combined with other change processes, such as urbanization and deforestation, the way socioeconomic and ecological systems are affected by climate is also changing, forcing us to re-evaluate conventional climate risk management (CRM) practices.

The work of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) in the area of CRM seeks to characterize, through innovative and tailored assessment processes, the changing nature of climate risk so that decision-makers can devise policies and programs that will be sustainable over the long term. IISD’s approach emphasizes participation and the combination of top-down and bottom-up assessment methods, whereby community consultations are considered alongside scientific analyses and policy reviews to identify immediate and emerging CRM priorities.

We applied this approach in the Climate Risk Management Technical Assistance Support Project (CRM TASP) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which was designed to support developing countries in managing the changing nature of climate risk. IISD was commissioned to implement the project in seven countries—four in Latin America and the Caribbean (Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru) and three in Africa (Kenya, Niger and Uganda)—in close collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Offices, governments and other partners.

A methodology for assessing climate risks and prioritizing risk management options was developed and applied in each of the seven countries, guided by IISD’s participatory and integrative approach. In each of the seven countries, the main output was a country report identifying and prioritizing climate risks and related risk management options for selected sectors, ecosystems or regions.

For further information about the CRM-TASP project, please contact: