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Understanding the Costs and Benefits of Disaster Risk Reduction Under Changing Climate Conditions: Case Study Results and Underlying Principles

Authors: Fawad Khan; Marcus Moench; Sarah Orleans Reed; Ajaya Dixit; Santosh Shrestha; Kanchan Dixit

Economics is a central consideration in developing strategies for reducing the impacts of climate change. Investments in disaster risk management can generate substantial returns as part of adaptation planning under a range of scenarios. However, the costs and benefits of any disaster risk reduction intervention depend heavily on the nature of that intervention and on the local context. This report summarizes a set of activities that were conducted as a result of a systematic analysis and planning process at the local level.

The case studies explored in this report (the Vietnam boat-winch project, climate-friendly straw-bale building techniques in Nepal, and community based qualitative evaluations) demonstrate the use of cost-benefit analyses (CBA) in three types of strategies. These include: long-term adaptive strategies, medium-term “no-regrets” activities, and small-scale, local-level innovations, all of which constitute a range of responses to climate change and attempt to raise the resilience of those who are most vulnerable to its impacts.

Beyond the need for systematic approaches to adaptation and disaster risk management planning, it is important to recognize that the cases and analyses conducted for this report suggest three different modes of intervention. These modes of intervention have important implications for program management by organizations such as the American Red Cross (ARC), the primary donor who supported this project. An ability to adjust programming approaches in ways that enable organizations to respond to these different types of opportunities is important. Achieving truly transformative change is likely to require long-term engagement such as that demonstrated in the straw-bale case study.

Citation: Khan, F., Moench, M., Reed, S. O., Dixit, A., Shrestha, S., & Dixit, K. (2012). Understanding the costs and benefits of disaster risk reduction under changing climate conditions: Case study results and underlying principles. Bangkok, Thailand: Institute for Social and Environmental Transition-International.

Funded By: American Red Cross