Journal Article

IDS Bulletin 48.4

Introduction: Courting Catastrophe? Can Humanitarian Actions Contribute to Climate Change Adaptation?

Published on 31 July 2017

Climate change introduces new challenges for humanitarian aid through changing hazard patterns. The linkages between climate change and humanitarian aid are complex.

While humanitarian organisations deal directly with vulnerable populations, interventions and actions also form part of global politics and development pathways that are currently generating climate change, inequities and vulnerability.

This IDS Bulletin represents a call for increasing engagement between humanitarian aid and adaptation interventions to support deliberate transformation of development pathways. Based on studies carried out as part of the ‘Courting Catastrophe’ project, we argue that humanitarian interventions offer several entry points and opportunities for a common agenda to drive transformational adaptation.

Changes in political and financial frameworks are needed to facilitate longer-term actions; additionally, transformational adaptation demands moving from a mode of delivering expert advice and solutions to vulnerable populations, to taking up multiple vulnerability knowledges and making space for contestation of current development.


Lars Otto Naess

Resource Politics and Environmental Change Cluster Lead

Ruth Haug
Lutgart Lenaerts
Aditi Bhonagiri

Publication details

IDS Bulletin, volume 48, issue 4