Preparing for crisis: investing in climate adaptation and disaster resilience


This IIED Debates event on 7 March considered how we can increase the coherence between disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation expenditure.

Last updated 21 March 2023
A house submerged in flood waters with a tree towering above

A house submerged in water and some trees in Panjab, Pakistan (Photo: Zahoor Ahmed)

The increasing frequency and intensity of climate hazards is ringing alarm bells globally. Disaster-related damages are being exacerbated by climate impacts causing devastating death, destruction and displacement. Investment in preventative and protective measures is of utmost importance and urgent, yet the funding gap continues to grow.

This event explored what is needed to channel funding towards climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction and loss and damage, to reduce the impact of disasters and protect lives and livelihoods.

Climate and natural disasters have surged over the past five decades, with widespread floods, droughts, heatwaves, earthquakes and wildfires causing catastrophic impacts across the world. In recent years, calls for an integrated approach to achieve the climate and disaster resilience objectives set out in the Sendai Framework and Paris Agreement have been growing louder.

Despite the evidence that investment in disaster risk reduction is more effective at protecting lives and livelihoods and preventing economic losses, the finance gap for climate and disaster resilience continues to increase. A mindset shift is needed, moving from a short-term response outlook, which often neglects disaster risk reduction investment, to a resilience-led approach to decision-making processes.

This IIED Debates event, hosted in partnership with United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), marked the launch of a new issue paper on the latest international and country trends in public expenditures on climate and disaster resilience. Our speakers explored what needs to happen to channel funding to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.

  • What budgeting principles do we need to be ready for rather than respond to a crisis?
  • What are the barriers and opportunities? How can we increase the coherence between disaster prevention and climate adaptation expenditure?
  • What can the emerging experience with tagging budgets and tracking public expenditures on climate and disaster resilience and loss and damage tell us?
  • And what is the role of governments, civil society, funders and NGOs?

About the speakers

  • Paul Steele (moderator) is chief economist at IIED. He specialises in the linkages between environment, climate and poverty reduction
  • Seon-Mi Choi is a climate specialist with disaster resilience expertise who has worked for UNICEF, UNEP and UNDP
  • Lena Weingaertner is a research associate at ODI's risks and resilience programme, working on disaster risk management and financing
  • Yacine Bio Tchané is an economist with 13 years of experience in public finance and international development across sub-Saharan Africa
  • Mathieu Verougstraete is the head of infrastructure and finance for resilience for the United Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR)
  • Javier Pava Sánchez is the general director of Colombia’s national unit for disaster risk management
  • Nazira Dista is the national director of risk management at Mozambique's Ministry of Economy and Finance

Event coverage

Watch a full recording of the event below or on IIED's YouTube channel, where individual links to the start of each speaker's contribution are also provided.

About IIED Debates

This event was part of the IIED Debates series. Through the convening of expert speakers and external stakeholders, IIED brings together an international community to discuss critical issues.

IIED Debates encompass both physical and digital events, including critical themes, breakfast debriefs and webinars. These events are public and are hosted regularly throughout the year online and when possible in our London and Edinburgh offices.

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