Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre Minimum Standards for Local Climate-Smart Disaster Risk Reduction

Excerpt: Introduction

Climate change is increasing the risk of extreme events and disasters.1 While disaster risk reduction (DRR) offers an important opportunity to adapt to current climate variability, in order to be successful, DRR efforts must also take into account changing climate‐related risks in the medium to long term. Many national climate change adaptation plans consider the need to plan over various timescales and acknowledge the essential role of local communities2 in addressing these changing risks. The Minimum Standards for climate‐smart disaster risk reduction were created to serve as an essential bridge between national climate policy and local capacities for DRR. The standards are not idealized solutions, but rather practical approaches to implementing climate‐smart DRR activities in a way that is achievable by many communities with relatively limited external support.

The Minimum Standards are presented in two tables: The first table outlines standards meant to guide local leaders, oftentimes selected by their community (e.g. Red Cross local disaster preparedness volunteers), to inform and facilitate resilience building across the wider community. The second table focuses on the role of national and provincial civil society organizations (CSOs) in providing supplemental guidance for improving the flow of information between various types of scientific ‘knowledge centres’ and vulnerable communities, to enable implementation of climate‐smart DRR. For local actors and their counterparts in CSOs, the Minimum Standards are intended as a practical tool, allowing them to integrate changing climate risks into their efforts to support communities reduce risk to extreme events and disasters. When the Minimum Standards are met, local DRR actions can be considered to be climate-smart and contribute to climate change adaptation. This lends importance to the Minimum Standards for national actors as well, who may use the standards to guide integration of community‐level action on DRR into national adaptation and climate risk management strategies. National strategies that consider these standards will be able to go to scale, knowing that they are realistic and achievable. Overall, these standards provide assurance that DRR goes beyond business as usual and truly addresses changing climate‐related risks.

The minimum standards are based on ample local experience and consultation, including lessons learned during the first years of the Partners for Resilience program, the largest program of its kind focusing on local‐level climate‐smart DRR. The Minimum Standards are a living document that should continue to be
discussed, tested, revised and validated through local‐level activities around the world.


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