Resilience, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation

In 2017 Ian Christoplos finalised a four year Danish Institute for International Studies research programme that  investigated how local authorities at district and municipal levels are innovating and responding to extreme climate events in Uganda, Zambia, Nepal and Vietnam (see In a related research project, Ian Christoplos and his team have analysed the application of human rights based approaches to climate change adaptation in Cambodia and Kenya.

A particular focus of our work has been to find appropriate and sustainable ways to reduce disaster risk while taking into account the need to maintain motivation and sustainability in local organisations. Ian’s work in risk reduction has always emphasised attention to the realities of how local authorities and civil society organisations develop their capacities and respond to challenges in risk and post-disaster/post-conflict recovery. This is reflected in our analyses of the institutional dimensions of post-conflict recovery and climate change, for example, in how extension agencies, farmer organisations and private actors in value chains have been engaged in rural development in Afghanistan and Bosnia Herzegovina, and in responding to extreme climate events in Viet Nam.

Our work involves analysis of policies to encourage a shift of attention within the climate change discourse to institutional change factors. Ian Christoplos was lead author for the report on the Human Dimensions of Climate Change for the Swedish-led Commission on Climate Change and Development, and more recently for a Danish Institute for International Studies report entitled Towards ‘Good Enough’ Climate and Disaster Risk Governance: Emerging lessons from Zambia, Nepal, Viet Nam and Uganda, which was also used part of UNDP’s contributions to the Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction.

Our earlier work in risk reduction has included assignments with the British Red Cross and the ProVention Consortium that have integrated analyses of natural hazards and conflict. We have led evaluations of the Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction for OCHA and UNDP’s disaster reduction programme in Vietnam. The resilience aspects of our work have increasingly focused on analysing the practical aspects of the integration of climate change adaptation efforts into overall programming. Ian led a major synthesis review of Sida’s resilience-related programming that sought to clarify how these concepts are brought together in existing aid programming.

Recent assignments

2009 – 2017  Danish Institute for International Studies

Senior researcher: Analysis of issues related to the role of local institutions in relation to poverty and natural resource management, with particular focus on climate change and disaster risk reduction. Leader of the Danida funded research project on Climate Change and Rural Institutions in Viet Nam, Nepal, Uganda and Zambia. Also leader of a research project analyzing civil society efforts to integrate climate change and human rights policies and programming in Cambodia and Kenya

2012  Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency

Team leader: Review of Sida’s current interventions with a particular relevance for disaster risk reduction and resilience and with a focus on the agricultural and water sectors.

2005  United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

Team leader: Evaluation of the performance of the Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR).