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There is nothing natural about a disaster. Shocks and hazards do not inevitably lead to catastrophe. Nonetheless, each year millions of people are killed, injured, displaced or made poor by natural hazards. Annually, on average, natural hazards kill 67,000 people, affect 199 million people, and drive 26 million people into poverty. 

The number of disasters is increasing due to climate change, population growth, urban development in risk-prone locations, and changes in land use. The average number of disasters doubled in the last 40 years. Most disasters in recent years have been weather related, and even if climate change is curtailed, that trend is set to continue.

The poorest and most exposed suffer most. People exposed to natural hazards in the poorest countries are seven times more likely to die than people in rich countries. The elderly, people with disabilities, women and children are disproportionately harmed.

Climate-smart disaster risk reduction refers to measures taken to reduce the effects of disasters and extreme weather events in a changing climate and help communities effectively prepare for and cope with their consequences. It is a continuous and integrated process that requires contributions across all areas of work e.g. health care, shelter, livelihoods – before, during, and after disasters and crises.

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has mobilized to meet the urgency and scale of the climate crisis. Through our network of 192 National Societies, 165,000 local branches, and 14 million volunteers, we will make our work climate-smart and increase our climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction efforts, working with communities on the frontlines of climate change. We will consider climate risks in all we do and anticipate extreme weather events ahead of their impact. And we will reduce our own environmental footprint, greening our operations and pursuing nature- and ecosystem-based solutions. Find out more

Strategy for Climate Action and DRR

Vision

Vulnerable communities across the world become more resilient and better prepared for disasters and climate change impacts now and in the future.

To achieve this goal, the Red Cross Red Crescent will deploy its worldwide network to scale up innovative and effective community-based/led disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate action programmes building on three decades of extensive experience in disaster and climate risk management and our unique mandate as auxiliary to governments.

Ambition

IFRC will mobilize a significant scale-up in climate-smart DRR activities led and managed by communities. 

In 2018, IFRC and National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies invested 207 million Swiss francs on DRR and climate change adaptation projects. Our programmes reached 52 million vulnerable people in 160 countries.

Activities
Early Warning Early Action

Early warning early action is one of the critical ways to reduce the impact of disasters and a key area of work for IFRC, including through forecast-based financing/action and community early warning systems.

Community knowledge and awareness raising

In a changing climate, with increased risks of extreme weather and disasters, the public needs to have a greater awareness of the risks they face and what they can do to be better prepared. 

Legislation for climate-smart disaster risk reduction

Good legislation is critical to reducing disaster and climate risks. Law can set the stage for early warning, risk financing, and community empowerment and accountability.

Risk Assessment and Planning

Assessing vulnerability and capacity in at-risk communities is critical to determine how to most effectively reduce disaster risk and foster community resilience. IFRC approaches in this regard include the Enhanced Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (EVCA), Roadmap to Community Resilience (R2R), and Zurich Flood Resilience Measurement in Communities (FRMC). 

Reduction of disaster impacts

This entails structural and non-structural measures undertaken to limit the adverse impact of natural hazards and climate extremes; for example, building river bank enhancements, storm-proofing shelters, and evacuation centres, strengthening bridges, or nature-based solutions such as planting mangroves to reduce the risk posed by storm surges. 

Key Partnerships
Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance

The Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance (ZFRA) was initiated by Zurich Insurance in 2013 and is a multi-sectoral partnership focusing on practical ways to help communities strengthen their resilience to flooding risk. Currently, in its second phase that began in 2018, the Alliance consists of nine non-governmental and research organisations active in 20 countries. Its long-term vision is that floods will have no negative impact on the ability of people and businesses to thrive.

Risk-informed Early Action Partnership (REAP)

The REAP was launched in 2019 at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. It seeks to make one billion people safer by greatly expanding early action financing and improving early warning systems and the capacity to act on risks they identify. IFRC hosts the Secretariat of the Partnership.

Recent Publications
Climate-smart Disaster Risk Reduction brochure
Red Cross Red Crescent Movement Ambitions to address the climate crisis
IFRC Mapping of Climate-Smart Disaster Risk Reduction, 2018
The Cost of Doing Nothing Report
Information sheet: Disaster Risk Reduction
Document Library
Nepal resilient cities
Understanding community resilience and program factors that strengthen them
The road to resilience: Bridging relief and development for a more sustainable future
Non-structural mitigation in Turkey
Recent Tools & Guidance
Enhanced Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (EVCA) Guidance and Toolbox
Forecast-based Financing Manual
Road Map to Community Resilience (R2R)
Flood Resilience Measurement for Communities (FRMC)
Training material
Climate training Kit
Community Early Warning Systems Training Toolkit
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