Bonding CCA and DRR: recommendations for strengthening institutional coordination and capacities

M. Leitner, Daniel Buschmann, Tiago Capela Lourenço, I. Coninx, A. Schmidt

Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional


“Our house is on fire”, climate activist Greta Thunberg declared to the participants of the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2020. In 2019, our house was indeed on fire. Large-scale forest fires in Australia, the Amazon, and the Arctic showed how short-term actions of disaster risk reduction and relief need to be considered along with long-term measures of climate change adaptation. Climate-induced extreme weather events are currently increasing and intensifying, thereby leading to new forms of disaster risk. In order to sustainably extinguish this metaphorical fire, separated strategies are no longer enough. Responding to short term climate risks without considering the long-term climate trends, and vice-versa, is no longer an acceptable course of action, as it separates (knowledge and financial) resources that should belong together. However, integrated approaches to DRR and CCA can provide opportunities for building resilience. By collecting the hands-on experience from twenty-eight CCA and DRR experts across Europe, this guidance addresses the challenges and positive results from such integrated approaches in order to synthesise actionable policy advice for institutional actors across various governance levels.We provide twenty recommendations in five areas: 1) safeguarding sound governance, 2) ensuring effective financing, 3) seizing opportunities for cooperation, 4) sharing new forms of communication, and 5) enhancing knowledge management.
Each recommendation (for details, see Annex 7.2) was developed with the aim to:

Formulate a precise advice of what needs to happen.

Introduce the relevance and limitations of the chosen approach.

Showcase a possible way forward to apply such approach.

Explain which institutions are addressed and how they can benefit.

Provide an example of how the recommendation can work in practice.
Area 1: Safeguarding sound governance
Challenge: Separated decision-making processes and knowledge communities with different languages reduce the possibility of quickly joining resources in extreme events preparedness, when extreme events occur, and to plan for the long term when no emergency assistance is being deployed.
Recommendation: Implementation of a comprehensive Climate Risk Management (CRM) approach with broad stakeholder involvement at and across different risk governance levels.
New ways of including “local reasons for concern” into national policy-making are needed to implement target-oriented and ambitious adaptation and risk reduction solutions. Consequently, national governments should establish a national climate-risk council, to foster putting of CRM into action (see 4.1.1).
Challenge: Separated user and stakeholder engagement processes and taxonomies applied by knowledge and policy communities creates difficulties in establishing proper research and practice communication channels, even if the target agents are common.
Recommendation: Engage stakeholders at different scales that have an interest in both the decision-making process and outcomes.
Robust decision-making that increases resilience to climate risks is embedded within social, economic and cultural landscapes. It is critical to engage all concerned actors in order to recognise the needs of all. Community resilience projects are good examples (see 4.1.2).
Challenge: By focusing mainly on public policy and decision-making CCA and DRR communities often neglect private actors that can provide substantial contributions in case of disasters and planning for the long term.
Recommendation: Develop a stronger focus on self-safeguards or individual prevention and preparedness.
Successful societal implementation of adaptation to climate change and risk management requires substantial contributions by private actors. Here, public administrations lead in coordinating and paving the way. This means a need for new formats for cross-sectoral collaboration which require a strong mandate and considerable national support (see 4.1.3).
Challenge: By failing to capture local knowledge in the preparedness and planning phases many CCA and DRR strategies miss out on valuable data, lessons and experiences that can enhance climate action.
Recommendation: Implement integrated, participatory designed strategies and plans at the municipal level that deal with climate-induced disasters.
This process relies on mobilising local knowledge and ownership, but also on sound climate data. The local scale requires an enabling environment at national level that explicitly addresses aspects of the authority of local governments to plan for and carry out essential integrated actions (see 4.1.4).
Area 2: Ensuring effective financing
Challenge: New funding and insuring methods are needed to address climate risks and adaptation not previously covered by classical risk sharing schemes.
Recommendation: Create Sovereign Climate Insurance Funds with application of index-based insurance and Distributed Ledger Technology.
Yield-based approaches to the insurance of climate-related risks (especially in agriculture) have many drawbacks such as fraud detection and risk modelling. Index-based solutions are a better option and should be worked towards. Sovereign Climate Insurance Funds can cover climate-related risks and provide financial protection and support to affected regions and small farmers (see 4.2.1).Challenge: New risk transference methods are needed to address climate risks and adaptation not previously covered by classical market-based financial debt instruments.
Recommendation: Develop risk transfer and data collection via a European Risk Transfer Mechanism.
EU-institutions need to provide a funding framework, highlighting international priorities in aligning CCA and DRR funding. A Distributed-Ledger-Technology-based platform with the main aim of transferring risk from Sovereign Insurance Funds to the financial market, collecting, processing and storing climate-related data, is warranted. This includes new mechanisms of debt financing, such as climate insurance and risk transfer (see 4.2.2).
Challenge: Current market and policy terminologies are not fit-for-purpose for upcoming transaction of financial assets associated with climate action.
Recommendation: Implement an EU Green Taxonomy with CCA and DRR components.
An EU taxonomy of green projects with a combination of CCA and DDR indicators and metrics can be useful to support national initiatives in mainstreaming protection against climate change and disasters and improving the effectiveness of climate finance. The incorporation of such indicators into the EU Green Bond Standard identifies climate-proof projects and green financial instruments (see 4.2.3).
Challenge: Current forecasting methods focus on what the weather ‘will be’ rather than what the weather ‘will cause’ leaving room for improvements in early warning systems and preparedness mechanisms.
Recommendation: Pursue forecast-based financing to anticipate disasters and reduce human suffering and losses.
Although there are funds for long-term DRR as well as for emergency response, funds for anticipatory action are still lacking. The integration of physical parameters and anticipatory weather information into applied action to reduce disaster risk, offers an opportunity for impact-oriented, forecast-based financing (see 4.2.4).
Challenge: Existing financial and debt financing mechanisms in the area of CCA and DRR are still not up-to-speed with climate funding needs at local-to-national scales.
Recommendation: Elaborate self-financing and crisis financing mechanisms with application of Distributed Ledger Technologies.
There is a disparity between DRR and CCA finance on different levels, especially regarding the improved management of climate-related risks and resilience of the financial system to non-financial threats. National Distributed-Ledger-Technology-based platforms for accumulation of savings and climate-related crisis financing can facilitate this process (see 4.2.5).
Area 3: Seizing opportunities for cooperation
Challenge: Cross-country governance mechanisms for climate and disaster risk management are lacking or do not share common practices.
Recommendation: Develop a strong transnational and interregional collaboration between CCA and DRR with a joint focus on current and future risks.
Climate and disaster risks often become politically charged and rife with conflicts. Mainstreaming of CCA and DRR into existing or new transnational and interregional working groups on risks or geographic areas of mutual concern is a promising way to prevent such tensions from rising (see 4.3.1).
Challenge: Effective communication and collaboration across CCA and DRR knowledge communities is hindered by separated taxonomies and networking mechanisms between groups of actors.
Recommendation: Use Social Network Analysis for stocktaking of stakeholders and to enhance interactions.
Often, particularly for cross-sectoral interaction formats, there is limited information on the reasons why actors have certain roles in their network or interact in certain ways, which can highlight obstacles to effective collaboration. Social Network Analysis helps to identify relevant stakeholders for such formats, learning about them, their network and its properties, and making use of this information to strengthen their interactions and encourage aligned resilience solutions (see 4.3.2).
Challenge: Joint emergency and preparedness exercises that include both communities are lacking, which reduces learning opportunities.
Recommendation: Organise joint emergency exercises to strengthen collaboration on various levels.
There are many models to prepare action for climate-induced disaster risks, but the actual event may differ significantly from the modelled version. Joint emergency exercises help to explore climate risks, exchange knowledge and jointly prepare for weather anomalies. In addition, national governments need to test their early warning systems and joint disaster prevention models in reality, proving their effectiveness in cases of serious emergencies (see 4.3.3).
Challenge: Transboundary climate and preparedness action is challenging due to different languages and cultural settings making it reactive rather than proactive.
Recommendation: Pursue proactive transboundary cooperation between CCA and DRR actors.
Most existing structures for collaboration vary significantly between national and sub-national governance systems. As a result, effective transboundary crisis cooperation must be driven by proactive rather than reactive collaboration. Traditional, cultural policies should be able to yield to flexible, international perspectives, to provide cooperative risk management for the border zone in a mutually sustainable manner (see 4.3.4).
Area 4: Sharing new forms of communication
Challenge: Monitoring, Reporting and Evaluation (MRE) frameworks for CCA, DRR and sustainable development policies are disconnected and multiply the use of resources.
Recommendation: Foster a dialogue and learning on monitoring, reporting and evaluation.
A shared understanding of the current monitoring, reporting and evaluation (MRE) approaches, and indicators and criteria used in CCA, DRR and SDGs is a crucial starting point for collaboration. To achieve a shared understanding of MRE, a better coordination of the relevant actions and processes, a more effective use of resources, and a stronger collaboration between actors operating at different levels and in the different domains are required (see 4.4.1).
Challenge: The use of storytelling, strategic narratives and art processes is residual across CCA and DRR communities and cross-community collaborative schemes are almost non-existing.
Recommendation: Develop new stories and strategic narratives for joint understanding and collaboration.
Some communication and collaboration barriers cannot be handled by “rational means” such as traditional science-based information and data. Stories and strategic narratives can be useful for national and local policymakers to overcome such barriers. Their success, however, depends heavily on the value orientation of the intended audience (see 4.4.2).
Challenge: Educational and capacity building mechanisms suffer from community silo approaches that reduce learning over time, across and within organisations.
Recommendation: Mainstream integrated approaches through education.
Learning within an institution is critical if it is to achieve its operational goals. A responsive approach to educational needs that recognises the changing organisational landscape will ensure greater efficiency and maximise resources. Here, informal learning can be as beneficial as formal training in strengthening an institution’s capacity, especially when new measures or policies need to be implemented (see 4.4.3).
Area 5: Enhancing knowledge management
Challenge: Effective deployment of nature-based solutions (NbS) in adaptation and risk reduction strategies is still too complex because of the required level of cross-sectoral collaboration and multi-stakeholder coordination.
Recommendation: Foster ecosystem-based adaptation and risk reduction.
The consideration and use of nature-based solutions (NbS) in adaptation and risk reduction strategies should be strengthened through enhanced cooperation, dialogues and inter-sector practices and policies (see 4.5.1).
Challenge: Information and knowledge management (IKM) processes across CCA and DRR communities are hindered by lack of clarity around language and the use of technical terminology.
Recommendation: Promote IKM standards and guidelines for sharing data, information and knowledge.
In CCA and DRR, the lack of clarity around language and the use of technical terminology is a particular barrier to collaboration, which is further inhibited by unclear translations. Information and Knowledge Management standards and guidelines that use a common language and support a cultural shift towards Linked Open Data (LoD) accelerate learning and collaboration, and make it easier for stakeholders to find, access, and use content (see 4.5.2).
Challenge: CCA and DRR knowledge portals and platforms are not fulfilling their true potential regarding learning, practical implementation, monitoring and evaluation of climate preparedness and action.
Recommendation: Use knowledge platforms and portals to enhance learning and collaboration.
These online spaces should serve as connectors of people and knowledge, and forums for peer-to-peer learning and exchange across the two domains. This would require a cultural shift in how knowledge management is currently carried out (see 4.5.3).
Challenge: Significant comprehension and communication gaps between CCA and DRR knowledge producers, providers, and users, as well as between science, policy, and practice persists hindering the effective use of information for practical decisions.
Recommendation: Develop knowledge-action networks to advance quality and usage of information.
Developing knowledge-action networks with multiple layers of producers and users from different sectors is an effective method of tailoring decision-relevant information to different decision environments and of allocating resources where they are most effective to bridge science and practice and integrate CCA and DRR strategies (see 4.5.4).
In addition to these twenty recommendations, this guidance also reflects on the open questions and unresolved challenges by providing an overview of the prevailing knowledge and action gaps (see chapter 5) and reflections and conclusions (see chapter 6). This also includes the need for transformative approaches in CCA and DRR, which can address complex or ‘systemic’ challenges (like migration, health or urbanisation) that were not directly addressed in this report.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLisbon
Number of pages137
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

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  • Projects

    PLACARD (KB-24-002-013)

    Coninx, I.


    Project: EZproject

    PLACARD: PLAtform for Climate Adaptation and Risk reDuction


    Project: EU research project

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