Past Event

Integrating Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation

From 22 Jan 2018 9:00 until 26 Jan 2018 17:00


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

Why attend?

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.

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 should attend?  

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.

A full course outline will be available soon. 

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

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.

Lars Otto Naess (TBC) – Lars is a social scientist with more than 15 years’ experience working on with climate change, development and agriculture. He was project manager for the recently completed DFID/IDRC Climate Change Adaptation in Africa ‘Research to Policy for Adaptation’, and currently coordinates the Climate Change Theme of the DFID-funded Future Agricultures Consortium.

Jeremy Lind (TBC) – Jeremy is a development geographer with over 10 years research and advisory experience on livelihoods in conflict areas and the difficulties of aid delivery in such contexts. He has extensive teaching experience on a range of undergraduate and graduate courses relating to environment, development and conflict. 

Frances Seballos (TBC) – With a background in Environment and Development, Frances’s research interests are in the human-environment relationship particularly linked to climate change, development and natural resource management processes. She is also interested in understanding processes that influence behavioural, organisational and policy change in these contexts. 


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)

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. 

Study materials

Key readings are made available on our dedicated Study Direct website; participants are expected to read a selection of these texts in advance of the course. Participants can provide a short (five minute) presentation on their work and ideas on what they already do to connect climate change with disaster preparedness.

Course fees

The course costs £1499.98 for five days, including lunches and refreshments, a group dinner, and course materials. It does not include accommodation.

Once you have received confirmation that your application has been approved, the fee must be paid in full before the course commences. There are no bursaries available. IDS Alumni may be eligible for a discount.

How to apply

Before applying please read our Terms and Conditions (pdf).

The application procedure is a three-stage process:

Stage 1: Apply by completing the online application form. Deadline for applications is 5 November 2017.

Stage 2: You will be notified by 19 November as to whether your application has been approved or not. Successful applicants will receive the Stage 2 application form and an invoice for the course fee. Places on the course are not guaranteed until fees have been received.

Stage 3: Once fees have been received, you will be sent confirmation of your place on the course and a letter to support your visa application (if required).

You are responsible for organising your own travel and visas (where needed). If travelling from overseas, you must arrive in the UK ready to begin the course at 9:00 on Monday 22 January, and depart no earlier than the evening of 26 January. The course runs from 9:00 to 17:00 each day.

Information about local accommodation will be provided by the course coordinator once your fees have been processed. A limited number of study bedrooms at IDS are available for rent on a first come first served basis.

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