Why Screen for Climate and Disaster Risk at the National Level?

Planning for resilience to climate and geophysical hazards at the national level is a vital step in the fight against poverty. Screening for risks from these hazards will contribute to the success of the Country Partnership Framework, the development of policy operations, and strategic planning efforts at the national and sector levels.
Local and regional climates are changing. These changes affect temperature, precipitation, and wind patterns and may lead to
  • More frequent or more intense extreme weather events, such as floods, heat waves, and strong winds
  • Gradual changes in temperature and precipitation (for example, amounts of seasonal precipitation may increase or decrease over time) and
  • Sea level rise (most coastal areas are already experiencing increases in sea level, and this trend is expected to accelerate).
Geophysical hazards, including earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, and landslides, can also drastically change the physical context.
The impacts of climate and geophysical hazards complicate the development context. They could cause many of the world’s poorest to have to face additional hardship, such as
  • Declines in agriculture productivity
  • Increases in health threats from scarcity of food, contamination of water, and onset of vector-borne diseases
  • Increase in water stress and scarcity, and
  • Devastating earthquakes or landslides.
The physical and economic damage from climate and geophysical hazards continues to rise.
Impacts of climate and geophysical hazards can pose risks to multiple sectors.
For example:
  • Changes in temperature and rainfall can impact forests and fisheries
  • More frequent and intense heat waves can cause electrical systems to fail
  • Rising sea levels can increase the salinity of ground water
Addressing these hazards can help protect investments in sectors that may be vital to the country’s development.
Impacts of climate change can reduce or even eliminate the benefits of development projects. Addressing climate change during development planning can therefore help protect investments from climate risks and benefit from new climate-related opportunities.
For example:
  • Engineers can select materials capable of withstanding a wider range of temperatures.
  • Planners can identify less vulnerable locations.
  • Designers can develop natural and engineered protective measures to reduce impacts.
  • Communities can manage increased levels of precipitation.
Development policies should consider climate change impacts and screening of those impacts at early stages of policy reforms and institutional capacity. Climate relevant policies can provide an enabling environment which facilitates access and use of climate risk information, risk assessment, and management of risks within decision making processes.
For example:
Rural development policies should integrate resilience measures and social safety nets to help reduce impacts from current and future climate events, including droughts and floods.