The idea that climate change has begun to influence conflict dynamics and the occurrence of disasters has been around for a number of years now.

There is increasing evidence that this indeed is happening, with:

  • Crises such as the Darfur crisis, which some describe as the first crisis caused by climate change, or the Syrian crisis, which erupted after a period of severe drought that had accelerated movement towards cities;
  • Cyclones with unusual trajectories and seasonality, and an increase in the number of “black swan” events.

This implies that greater effort is needed in terms of understanding and warning, but also in terms of response. It also means that development organisations need to focus more on risk factors.

Three major issues have emerged from the discussions in connection with the Sendai Framework, the Sustainable Development Goals, COP21 and the recent World Humanitarian Summit:

  • The importance of the resilience agenda, which has begun to percolate down into the practices of actors and donors;
  • Building local and national capacity in terms of disaster preparedness and response is not only a humanitarian issue, but also a major development issue;
  • Going “glocal”, which means being as local as possible most of the time, and more international when necessary.
    For traditional aid organisations, the COP21 has not really brought anything new in terms of aid response. The major step forward is the importance being given to “energy and reducing the carbon footprint” by governments and the private sector.

Groupe URD has been working on these subjects for a long time, notably in the area of risk management. We will continue to do so, with, for example, a whole area of investigation to be developed on the management of “black swans”.