UN Climate Change Conference – Free Disaster Risk Reduction Resources

INEE has done it again  -providing comprehensive support resources for activities to reach the most vulnerable.

The fifteenth United Nations climate change conference (COP15)  is taking place from December 7 to 18 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Government leaders and scientists from nearly 200 nations will gather to discuss carbon emissions curbs, clean energy and other issues related to the global environment.

We’d like to take this opportunity to highlight the fact that natural disasters are increasing in frequency and intensity. The average number of natural disasters has increased from 200 a year to more than 400 today, and this is predicted to increase by as much as 320 percent in the next 20 years.

Save the Children estimates that over the next decade 175 million children per year will be affected by these disasters. As disaster risk reduction is a first step in helping communities to adapt to increasingly intense and frequent natural disasters, child-centered risk reduction should be a cornerstone of climate change adaptation. The INEE network advocates that members work to meet the goals of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) through education by:

  • Creating safe learning environments with safe construction and retrofitting
  • Maintaining safe learning environments through school disaster management
  • Protecting access to education with educational continuity planning
  • Learning and teaching about disaster prevention and preparedness in formal and non-formal environments
  • Building a culture of access and safety; promoting schools as centers for community risk reduction

INEE is mainstreaming disaster risk reduction and risk management into its work and resources through the following initiatives and good practice tools:

  • INEE Minimum Standards Training Materials focused on DRR: INEE has adapted its training documents, the INEE Minimum Standards Training Guide and Trainers Workbook, with a focus on DRR. These materials, designed for a 3-day training but adaptable for other durations, can be used to guide policy makers and practitioners to better understand and integrate disaster risk reduction into their work, including contextualising the INEE Minimum Standards and other tools toward this goal.
  • INEE Guidance Notes on Safer School Construction provide a framework of guiding principles and general steps to develop a context-specific plan for safer school construction and/or retrofitting initiative.  Click here to download the Guidance Notes in English. Click here to download the User’s Guide and Feedback Form, which provides talking points on what the guidance notes are, why they are important, who should use them, how they should be used, and how you can provide feedback to improve them.

Specific tools and resources (INEE)

TOOL: Disaster Prevention for Schools


This guidance document is for school administrators, teachers, education authorities and school safety committees. It reviews strategies for disaster prevention for schools; creating and maintaining safe learning environments; teaching and learning disaster prevention and preparedness, educational materials and teacher training, and developing a culture of safety.

TOOL:  Child Friendly Schools Infrastructure Standards and Guidelines

(Ministry of Education, Rwanda)

This document outlines the infrastructure standards which are expected to be meet by all Primary and Tronc Commun schools in the Republic of Rwanda. Through this document the Ministry of Education of Rwanda sets clear standards and gives practical guidance on how to achieve them. These standards have been developed through a comprehensive consultation process with the school communities including head teachers, staff members and pupils. Then these concerns were further developed through technical expert review process where many specialists from organizations have contributed. The draft was then presented at regional and national consultation meeting where directors of education, head teachers and teachers from public and private schools gathered to give their inputs. It is with all these inputs that a Rwanda-specific standard and guidelines were able to be drafted.
TOOL: Integrating Disaster Risk Reduction into School Curriculum

(The Regional Consultative Committee on Disaster Management)

These guidelines were developed to guide member countries in introducing and integrating DRR into school curricula. It shares good practices from several countries, from highlighting key approaches to mainstreaming DRR into the curricula to articulating suggesting steps for priority partnerships. The tool also highlights long term activities that are essential to institutionalization.

OECD: Draft Policy Handbook on Natural Hazard Awareness and Disaster Risk Reduction Education

(Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development)

The growing impact of natural hazards on OECD and non-member economies has stimulated a demand for an in-depth evaluation of possible strategies to reduce their large-scale damaging effects. In both developed and emerging countries, the rise in direct and indirect costs of disasters is caused by several factors, most of which are human-induced. The increased vulnerability and exposure of people and assets to natural perils are, in significant part, due to the growing concentration of people and values in conurbations, inadequate land-use zoning and planning, inadequate construction standards, environmental degradation, the inability to adapt to climate change, and an insufficient level of disaster risk preparedness.  This handbook is aimed at providing policy guidance in the field of natural hazard awareness and disaster risk reduction education to OECD and non-member governments.

ARTICLES: Child’s Right to a Safer School: Lessons from Asia

In any disaster situation anywhere in the world-be it a human induced or natural-children are among the most vulnerable groups.  At the same time, there are many unheard/unpublished stories of children dead due to both human-induced and natural disasters.  The following journal on school safety was designed as a special issue for the Asian Conference for Disaster Reduction in 2007. In this issue readers will find several articles with direct reference to all aspects of school safety, such as: Society’s Responsibility: Safer Schools, A Community-based Approach for School Safety and Education for Disaster Reduction, and Let Our Children Teach Us!

WEBSITE: Caribbean Disaster Mitigation Project (CDMP): School/Shelter Hazard Vulnerability Reduction Resource Page: http://www.oas.org/CDMP/schools/schlrcsc.htm

(Caribbean Disaster Mitigation Project)

The Caribbean Disaster Mitigation Project has constructed this webpage with several resources on school safety, including on the importance and vulnerability of school buildings, steps to reduce the vulnerability of school buildings, the maintenance of school buildings and how to take the initiative to move forward projects and policies.  The web page also includes links directing users towards crucial information and organizations involved in the school safety and DRR.

WEBSITE: School Safety and Security: www.oecd.org/edu/schoolsafety (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development)

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has established a new page on their website for ‘School Safety and Security.’  OECD states that, “a safe and secure environment is a prerequisite for effective teaching and learning. Threats to the safety and security of people and property can arise from natural hazards – for example earthquake, floods and storms – or from human actions – such as vandalism, arson, and violent crime. While catastrophic events and human tragedies cannot be eliminated entirely, there is a role for facility designers, institutional managers, emergency response teams, and post-crisis intervention in mitigating their negative impact.”  On this webpage users can locate current resources on safer school construction along with upcoming events and other pertinent information regarding school safety.

Further resources relevant to climate change and humanitarian response (INEE):
REPORT: Feeling the Heat – Child Survival in a Changing Climate
(Save the Children)

Save the Children’s new report states that climate change is a real threat to children in the 21st century and is an immediate global emergency. Children are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change and adaptation therefore must involve children and support interventions responding to their needs and priorities. Within the context of climate change, access to education is a critical issue.  Women in affected communities identify education as an essential strategy to help their children adapt to the effects of climate change in the long term. In addition, education is vital for empowerment and for maternal, newborn and child survival. Nonetheless, girls’ access to education during conflict or natural disasters can be severely reduced. Girls are the first to be taken out of school to support their families, carry out household chores or work to bring in extra income. As these situations intensify and become more frequent as a result of climate change, girls’ access to education could be further compromised. Women and children must be consulted and involved in strategies to adapt to climate change. Women show exceptional leadership and are the first to make changes in their communities and for their children to reduce disaster risk as well as adapt to climate change. Unless women are involved in decision-making, leadership and implementation, efforts to reduce the risks associated with disasters and climate change are unlikely to succeed.

The report also advocates for investment in child focused DRR. It asserts that activities undertaken before the onset of a natural disaster can build people’s resilience to shocks and help ensure that children and their families are as prepared as they can be. The report notes that the proliferation of natural disasters – including small-scale, climate-related events – will challenge the humanitarian system’s ability to respond. In order to meet increased needs, aid must be swift and well targeted, and donors must ensure that staff on the ground are in a position to scale up quickly. Wherever possible, it will be crucial to help communities prepare for and respond to the increasingly frequent threat of disaster.

REPORT: Climate Change, Conflict and Fragility
(International Alert)

Just under three billion people live in 46 conflict-affected countries where climate change could create a high risk of violent conflict, according to International Alert’s 2007 report, A Climate of Conflict.  Its new report Climate Change, Conflict and Fragility urges policy-makers to take into account the interaction between the impact of climate change and the social and political realities in which people live that will determine their capacity to adapt.The political dimension of adapting to climate change, and the underlying causes of vulnerability in a state unable to carry out its core functions, has to be factored in. In particular, the report recommends that adaptation to climate change be conflict sensitive, responding to the needs of the people, involving them in consultation, taking account of power distribution and social order and avoiding pitting groups against each other. It also recommends that greater efforts be taken to plan for and cope peacefully with climate-related migration.

REPORT: Future floods of refugees – climate change, conflict and forced migration

This report asserts that climate and environmental issues are among the underlying causes of migration, and that climate change can trigger conflict and displacement. It deals with the form and scope of future displacement in addition to protection and preventive measures. The report recommends that climate change adaptation in developing countries be given priority together with mitigation and emission-reducing measures. Financial resources must be made available to countries that bear the consequences of forced migration related to climate change.

REPORT:  Monitoring Disaster Displacement in the Context of Climate Change

To date, there have been no reliable estimates on forced displacement driven by climate change related disasters, nor a methodology for making such estimates.  This study provides for the first time a reliable estimate of the scale of forced displacement caused by rapid-onset natural disasters in 2008, with a special focus on climate related disasters and proposes a methodology to monitor disaster-related displacement on an ongoing basis. It looks at natural disasters and forced displacement in the context of climate change in order to provide an estimate of forced displacement related to disasters in 2008, specifically climate-related disasters; and secondly, to propose a methodology that could be applied to monitor disaster-related displacement on an ongoing basis. The findings show that at least 36 million people were displaced by sudden-onset natural disasters in 2008. Of those, over 20 million were displaced by sudden-onset climate-related disasters. As a reference, the total population of people living in forced displacement due to conflict, including IDPs and refugees, was 42 million in 2008, with 4.6 million having been newly internally displaced during the year. It is likely that many more are displaced due to the other climate change-related drivers, including slow-onset disasters, such as drought and sea level rise; however the study does not present an estimate of their number.

EPORT: Addressing the Humanitarian Challenges of Climate Change Regional and National Perspectives: Preliminary Findings from the IASC Regional and National Level Consultations

Climate change is one of the major global challenges for humanity in the 21st century; and yet it is only in the last few years that the human face of climate change – the socioeconomic and humanitarian dimension – has been fully acknowledged. While climate change has global repercussions, the most vulnerable communities will experience the greatest impacts from climate and disaster risk; climate change is threatening the lives and livelihoods of these communities, eroding their resilience and undermining opportunities for sustainable development. As a result, climate change threatens to overwhelm the current capacity of the humanitarian system to respond effectively by increasing hazards, vulnerabilities and response costs.  Addressing climate change demands a multi-faceted and coordinated response at all levels. This document represents the initial outcomes of the first round of regional and country level consultations, including stocktaking and an overview of the challenges, opportunities and next steps.

ARTICLES: Forced Migration Review 31: Climate change and displacement
(Forced Migration Review)

In response to growing pressures on landscapes and livelihoods, people are moving, communities are adapting. This issue of FMR debates the numbers, the definitions and the modalities – and the tension between the need for research and the need to act. Thirty-eight articles by UN, academic, international and local actors explore the extent of the potential displacement crisis, community adaptation and coping strategies, and the search for solutions. The issue also includes a range of articles on other aspects of forced migration.

POLICY PAPER: Climate Change and Adaptation Response: Principles and approaches for field programs

This policy paper articulates principles and approaches for field programs in response to climate change and adaptation.  It highlights that the number of disasters and disaster-affect­ed people grew from 1.6 billion in 1984-1993 to 2.6 bil­lion in 1994-2003 but that despite the increasing frequen­cy of disaster events and growing numbers of at-risk people, investments in disaster management have reduced deaths. Up-front investment in adaptation mea­sures will greatly reduce the impending costs of climate change. The principles, challenges and strategies highlighted are relevant to education programming.

WEBSITE and REPORT: Second Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction
Website: http://www.preventionweb.net/globalplatform/2009/
Report: http://www.preventionweb.net/files/section/193_GPProceedingsFINAL.pdf

This website documents proceedings and outcome of the second session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, including a report on the proceedings, which took place in Geneva, Switzerland from 16-19 June 2009. The Chair’s Summary and documents on the outcomes, including recommendations from National Platforms, Parliamentarians, the ISDR Management Oversight Board and on climate change adaptation, gender, youth engagement in disaster risk reduction. There are also reports specific to education, such as from the Roundtable on Risk Round Table 4: Risk Reduction Education


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