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Adaptation Options Strategies for Hazards and Vulnerability Mitigation: An International Perspective

  • C. Emdad Haque
  • Ian Burton
Article

Abstract

The broad objective of this special issue of Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change is to address some of the gaps in our knowledge and understanding of the policies, programs, and measures that might be applied to natural hazards and their impacts in an era of climate change. Given the global impacts of climate change and world-wide pattern of increasing losses from natural hazards we necessarily adopt an international perspective. The specific goals of the special issue are to: (a) encompass experiential aspects, emphasizing current practice of mitigation and its associated measures, and their results; and (b) explore primary or root causes of alarming shifts in human and economic costs of environmental extremes. Special emphasis is placed on how human activities are playing a key role in enhancing vulnerability to NTEE (nature-triggered environmental extremes), quite independently from the anthropogenic causes of climate change. The goals are also (c) to examine costs, risks, and benefits (of all kinds including social, political, ecological) of mitigation, and adjustment and adaptation measures; and (d) analyze policy implications of alternative measures. These components are expected to make significant contributions to policy considerations – formulation, implementation and evaluation. There is much uncertainty about the rate of climate change; however, the fact of increase of the atmospheric temperature in the last century is no longer a subject of scientific or policy debate. Due to such changes in the geophysical parameters, certain types of nature-triggered environmental extreme events are likely to continue to increase. How global warming will affect regional climates and pertinent variables is not well known, limiting our ability to predict consequential effects. This factor poses serious constraints against any straightforward policy decisions. Research findings of the work of this volume reaffirm that human dimensions, specifically our awareness and decision-making behavior, are powerful explanatory factors of increasing disaster losses. Disaster mitigation through addressing human, social, and physical vulnerability is one of the best means for contributing to ‘climate change adaptation plans’, and sustainable development goals. Recent lessons from various countries have depicted that the formulation of mitigation strategies cannot be exclusively top-down as it requires social, political, and cultural acceptance and sense of ownership. An interactive, participatory process, involving local communities, produces best expected outcomes concerning mitigation, preparedness, and recovery. An emerging consensus is that there is a need to move towards the ‘mission’ of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction which aims at building disaster resilient communities by promoting increased awareness of the importance of disaster reduction as an integral component of sustainable development, with the goal of reducing human, social, economic and environmental losses due to natural hazards and related technological and environmental disasters. Sharing of best practices and lessons globally is certain to produce more efficiency and understanding in policy and decision making.

Keywords

adaptation climate change environmental extremes loss mitigation policy resilience vulnerability 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Natural Resources InstituteUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  2. 2.Institute for Environmental StudiesUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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