Guidance Notes on Recovery: Climate Change

13 Jul 2011
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Summary

The document analyses past experiences in disaster recovery to facilitate a more relevant, sustainable and risk-reducing recovery process focused on climate resilient livelihoods, infrastructure, institution building, and community-based approaches towards climate resilience.


Purpose


There is currently an abundance of documents, plans and policies that address common issues faced in the mitigation, preparedness and relief phases of natural disaster management. Yet for disaster recovery planners and policy makers, there is no cohesive documented body of knowledge. It is conceded that preventive measures are vital to reducing the more costly efforts of responding to disasters. Nevertheless, in the post disaster situation, the availability of knowledge products reflecting past practices and lessons learned is critical for effective and sustainable recovery. Unquestionably, a wealth of experience and expertise exists within governments and organizations; however the majority of this knowledge is never documented, compiled, nor shared. Filling this knowledge gap is a key objective of the International Recovery Platform and The Guidance Note on Recovery: Shelter, along with its companion booklets, is an initial step in documenting, collecting and sharing disaster recovery experiences and lessons. IRP hopes that this collection of the successes and failures of past experiences in disaster recovery will serve to inform the planning and implementation of future recovery initiatives. The aim is not to recommend actions, but to place before the reader a menu of options.


Audience


The Guidance Note on Recovery: Shelter is primarily intended for use by policymakers, planners, and implementers of local, regional and national government bodies interested or engaged in facilitating a more responsive, sustainable, and risk-reducing recovery process. Yet, IRP recognizes that governments are not the sole actors in disaster recovery and believes that the experiences collected in this document can benefit the many other partners working together to build back better.


Content


The Guidance Notes on Recovery: Climate Change draws from documented experiences of past and present recovery efforts, collected through a desk review and consultations with relevant experts. The collected materials are presented in the form of cases, loosely organized under several key issues and approaches. The document provides analysis of many of the cases, highlighting key lessons and noting points of caution and clarification. The case study format has been chosen in order to provide a richer description of recovery approaches, thus permitting the reader to draw other lessons or conclusions relative to a particular context.


The document organizes the material loosely around the following issues:

1) Climate resilient livelihoods


2) Climate resilient infrastructure


3) Stronger institutions for climate resilient recovery


4) Community based approaches for climate resilience


5) Health and climate change


Implementing adaptation plans and strategies is a vital next step in recovery programs, but is not an easy task for the decision maker. It is difficult for a manager responsible for post disaster recovery to understand how to integrate climate change predictions into the recovery planning. Where does the process start? The Implementation Guide in Chapter 7 attempts to provide some tools which can facilitate these decisions.

The materials are presented in the form of cases. The document provides analysis of many of the cases, highlighting key lessons and noting points of caution and clarification. The case study format has been chosen in order to provide a richer description of recovery approaches, thus permitting the reader to draw other lessons or conclusions relative to a particular context.


Definitions as used in the document


Climate change: Refers to a change in the state of the climate that can be identified (e.g., by using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties, and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer. (IPCC 2007) Note that the definition of climate change used in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is more restricted, as it includes only those changes which are attributable directly or indirectly to human activity. (UNISDR, 2004)


Adaptation: refers to adjustments in ecological, social, or economic systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli and their effects or impacts. It refers to changes in processes, practices, and structures to moderate potential damages or to benefit from opportunities associated with climate change. (IPCC TAR, 2001; Compiled by Dr. Barry Smith- Chapter 18, page number 879).

It is recognized that, while certain activities or projects presented in this Guidance Note have met with success in a given context, there is no guarantee that the same activity will generate similar results across all contexts. Cultural norms, socioeconomic contexts, gender relations and myriad other factors will influence the process and outcome of any planned activity. Therefore, the following case studies are not intended as prescriptive solutions to be applied, but rather as experiences to inspire, to generate contextually relevant ideas, and where appropriate, to adapt and apply.


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