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WIREs Clim Change
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Climate hazards and disasters: the need for capacity building

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Abstract Climate and climate‐related hazards such as floods, storms, and droughts have served as trigger events for more than 75% of the disasters that have occurred globally over the past decade. Proportionately, these disasters affect the least developed countries most intensely, proving to be especially harmful to poverty stricken populations. In the future, a changing climate is likely to exacerbate these effects and could make development unsustainable in many places. It is necessary to develop the capacity of all countries to combat hazards so that they do not become disasters. The international framework connects climate change and development, mainly within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Millennium Development Goals and Hyogo Framework for Action on Disaster Risk Reduction, and most recently the Declarations of the G8 and the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate provide further mandates for action. Climate hazards are now clearly linked with issues such as food security, migration, and national security. The linking of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction provides a framework for responding. The development of capacity for knowledge‐based reduction of hazards and disasters risk demands an integrated approach that recognizes the changing nature of natural hazards. Further, capacity development must also recognize the limitations in governmental response and facilitate alternate ways to overcome barriers. For example, the role of resilience is examined in order to demonstrate the tools available for policymakers and individuals, to respond to hazards as they occur. The path forward to sustainable development depends on investments in the development and then the utilization of knowledge‐based, integrated approaches that factor in the future in balance with the present needs of societies. WIREs Clim Change 2010 1 871–884 DOI: 10.1002/wcc.77 This article is categorized under: Climate and Development > Sustainability and Human Well‐Being Climate and Development > Social Justice and the Politics of Development

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