Disaster Resilience

Natural hazards such as hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes can lead to disasters when they strike vulnerable communities. Vulnerability is a product both of physical exposure to hazards and of a community's capacity to cope with and recover from its impacts—i.e., its resilience. For the poorest, access and control over resources are important determinants of vulnerability and resilience, shaping both their exposure to hazards and their capacity to cope with and recover from natural disasters.

Extreme weather events and other natural hazards can damage the land, sea, forest and other resources vital to people's livelihoods. They kill title holders, destroy documentation and erase demarcations. Compensation after such disasters is often inadequate, and movements of people can increase competition over scarce resources.

For vulnerable communities, the threats will likely increase as climate change leads to an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. Recognizing this, IISD's research has focused on the ways in which clearly defined, equitable and provable resource rights can play key roles in helping poor and marginalized communities survive disasters and recover.