Integrating Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation

This is a bespoke professsional development training course that can be adapted and delivered in country for a single institution or group of institutions and partners, by arrangement. Prices are dependent on your requirements. Please contact Leah Plati: for further information.

This is the image for the IDS Climate Change and Disasters Course 2017.

Given that 90 per cent of recorded major disasters caused by natural hazards from 1995 to 2015 were linked to weather and climate change, many organisations are now building their capacity to understand what needs to be done differently to integrate adaptation to climate change with their work on disaster risk reduction (DRR). However, it is not always obvious how these two areas can fruitfully connect and operate in tandem within the wider context of development. This course provides participants with increased knowledge of the concepts and intersections of climate change and DRR, and the approaches, methods and tools that can be used to more effectively integrate climate change in DRR.

We worked with IDS to run an excellent course [in Maputo] for our team, which included people from four African countries. As Head of the team I was delighted as staff returned to their roles invigorated, well informed and brimming with ideas. The course had a lasting impact and months later team members would reference what they learnt and it really enhanced the work of our programme overall. I would highly recommend this course." (Saskia Daggett, Former International Coordinator for the Africa Climate Change Resilience Alliance)

"Global warming is a hugely significant factor affecting people’s lives and livelihoods worldwide. It is vital we improve the integration between adaptation to climate change and disaster risk reduction, while removing barriers between these two areas of work in the context of wider development. The Sustainable Development Goals, the Sendai Framework, and the Paris Agreement on climate all point to the importance of this integration. This course – based on our long experience of work on disasters, climate change, and development – is a key step towards this goal. We have delivered it successfully in Bangladesh, Mozambique and Kenya, with participants from local and international NGOs, Red Cross/Red Crescent, aid agencies, and international organisations." (Terry Cannon, IDS Fellow and convenor of the course)

Course aim

To equip policymakers and practitioners with the knowledge and skills to more effectively integrate disaster risk reduction with adaptation to climate change, in the context of development and poverty reduction.

Who is the course for?  

Policy actors and practitioners from international organisations and aid agencies, NGO staff, government officials, independent consultants and development practitioners working on either climate change or DRR with a personal or organisational goal to improve integration.

The course is NOT about disaster response, relief and recovery – its focus is on disaster preparedness and prevention. Participants may have been working in disaster response, but want to shift their emphasis to DRR in the context of climate change.

How will participants learn?

The course starts from a people-centered approach, with a focus on lives and livelihoods and how people perceive and behave in relation to different types of risk. Based on participatory methods, it promotes practical tools and critical reflection. During the course, participants will draft and develop a work plan that shows how they might influence their organisation to better integrate DRR with climate change adaptation. In doing so, the key question for participants is: ‘What do I need to do differently after I have done this course?’

Learning outcomes

After completing this course, participants should be able to:

  • Explain the basics of how global warming is affecting extreme events and increasing vulnerability to hazards;
  • Know how to integrate disaster risk reduction with adaptation to climate change, in the context of development and poverty reduction, within their own work;
  • Take a gendered approach to disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation;
  • Critically contextualise benefits and constraints of community-based disaster risk reduction and adaptation, taking into consideration the mismatch between people’s livelihood needs and living in dangerous places, and the cultural factors in risk perception that reduce effective DRR.

Course topics include:

  • People’s livelihoods and assets: how different types of risk are perceived and dealt with;
  • Climate change and disaster risk reduction: concepts, causes, and intersections;
  • The social construction of disasters (political, economic, social and cultural processes that make people vulnerable – or not – to natural hazards), and their links with climate change and development;
  • Gender issues in the context of climate change adaptation and disaster preparedness;
  • Assessing vulnerability and capacity: a critical approach to using participatory tools for risk reduction;
  • Early-warning systems and climate-related hazards: understanding limitations;
  • Community-based disaster risk reduction: constraints and benefits

Teaching team convenors

Terry Cannon - Terry has worked globally with international NGOs and the Red Cross/Red Crescent on disaster preparedness and climate change adaptation. He is co-author of At Risk: Natural hazards, people's vulnerability and disasters, one of the most widely used books on disaster risk. He was lead editor for the IFRC World Disasters Report 2014: Focus on culture and risk.

Miguel Loureiro - Miguel convenes the IDS MA Governance and Development, with expertise in state-citizen communication. He co-created the public web portal (RISEPAK), which acted as an earthquake relief coordination and accountability tool for collecting, collating, and displaying information about damage, access, and relief for rural citizens affected by the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan.

Entry requirements

It is essential that applicants have some knowledge and/or experience of working in either adaptation to climate change, disaster risk reduction, or development more broadly, and have a personal or organisational goal to improve integration.

The course is taught in English. To derive the maximum benefit from the course, participants should be proficient in English and able to take an active part in discussions. Your English needs to be of an intermediate standard or higher; participants must have an International English Language Test System (IELTS)score of 6.5 or above, or a Common European Framework for Languages (CEFR) score of B2 or above. 

Image: Boys playing among debris and logs that were carried to the shore of their settlement by flooding on the Mataniko River. ', Credit: Vlad Sokhin / Panos