Strengthening disaster resilience in the Pacific

  • 23.11.2022
  • Lowy Institute

Climate change is compounding disaster risk around the world. Recent reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) make clear that the growing effects of climate change are seeing the nature of disasters increase in their frequency and intensity. A three-fold increase in the number of disasters in the Pacific occurred between 1970 and 2019, while climate change also exacerbates food and water insecurity, health, migration and displacement challenges, and widens existing societal vulnerabilities.

As one of the world’s most vulnerable regions to disasters and climate change, the Pacific is faced with wide-ranging implications for the resilience of its populations. There is an urgent need for governments and responding actors, including relief organisations, to adopt new ways of working that address the intersecting challenges of climate change and disaster risk.

No government, from the smallest council to the top level of country leadership, can afford to disengage.

Significant attention has turned to the need for governments and responding actors to integrate disaster response (emergency management) and climate change adaptation policies in governing structures at the regional, national and provincial levels. For example, key messages from the recent Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction 2022 (APMCDRR) – held in Brisbane, Australia – emphasised the need to “further integrate disaster and climate resilience into urban planning and development processes”.