Monday, 11 November 2013

Never the twain? Post 2015 climate change, disasters, and development.

By Tom Tanner, IDS Research Fellow

As the next round of global climate talks (COP19) kick off in Warsaw, 2015 is looming large on the horizon as a pivotal year for climate change, disasters, and development. In all three areas, new international frameworks are due to be agreed to guide policy and action - to develop a new comprehensive UNFCCC climate change agreement, to develop the second phase of the Hyogo Framework for Action, and to take forward the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

There are strong linkages between these three topics, yet they are developing in largely separate, parallel but poorly coordinated tracks. They are being driven by different institutional architectures, despite all being driven by United Nations institutions. There are operational links between them, but these tend to be retro-fitted rather than based on shared strategic aims. For example, climate change and disaster issues do not feature in the MDG targets and are struggling to be represented in discussions on their potential successor, the Sustainable Development Goals. International action is financed by different channels, which in turn provides disincentives for integration by national government representatives from different sets of ministries.

Why link up the three frameworks? Put simply, so that poverty reduction and social justice concerns are central to climate change and disasters frameworks, and inversely so that tackling climate change and disaster risks is integrated into development targets, policy and planning.

One important input to this process is to look back at the recent history of integration – something we aim to do in the new IDS Virtual Bulletin on Climate change, disasters and development post-2015. This collection of free-to-download articles from a wide range of IDS Bulletins in the past few decades provides insights for the development of these international policy frameworks, highlighting the importance of:

  • Linking up concepts, frameworks, policy and communities of practice (see articles by Longhurst, Yamin et al., Tanner and Mitchell, Urban, Tanner and Allouche) 
  • Integrating climate change and disasters issues in wider development policy processes at international and national levels (Kjell√©n, Urban, Shankland and Chambote, Raghunandan)
  • Examining who takes part in these processes and whose voices are heard (Page, Polack, Tanner and Allouche, Shankland and Chambote)
Our hope is that this scholarship provides some useful perspectives for policy-making going forward towards 2015.