The international community has accumulated substantial experience in providing help for disasters and risk management in the context of localized and short-term events associated with climate variability and extremes. Experience in disaster risk management includes both bottom-up and top-down approaches, but most often has developed from disasters considered first as local issues, then at the national level, and only at the international level where needs exceed national capacity, especially in terms of humanitarian assistance and capacity building.
There are two main mechanisms at the international level that are purpose-built and dedicated to disaster risk management and climate change adaptation. These are the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in particular in its adaptation components. This chapter focuses on these two bodies while recognizing that there are many others that have an international role to play.
The UNISDR and the UNFCCC are very different institutions with different mandates and scope and objectives, and with varying strengths and capacities (high confidence). Up to the present this fact has made the integration of disaster risk management and climate change adaptation difficult to achieve (medium confidence). The evolution of disaster risk management has come from various directions: from the top down where legislation has required safe practice at operational levels and from the local level up to the national and international levels. The evolution of climate change adaptation has been driven primarily by the recognition of the global issue of anthropogenic climate change (high confidence).