"Failing to consider all systems and their dynamic, interacting nature, as well as impacts from climate change and variability, leads to ineffective, sector-specific, short-term interventions that fail to sustainably address systemic root causes of risk."
DRR must continue to evolve and integrate resilience principles to meet growing challenges. This means integrating short- and long-term climate and environmental trends in disaster risk reduction planning, programs, and policies. It also requires ensuring that sustainable natural resource management, climate change adaptation, and resilience approaches, tools, and nexus strategies are harmonized to achieve humanitarian and development goals.
- Tenet 1: Utilizing and linking cross-sector tools that cover comprehensive risk and resilience assessments supports better integration and layering of programs;
- Tenet 2: Systems thinking enables application of win-win DRR nexus strategies (e.g., planting sugar cane to support shoreline erosion risk reduction and income generation) that support addressing systemic root causes of risk, and have impact assessment measures that ensure programs will not increase risk. They also support resilience capacity-building for immediate coping and longer-term adaptation to risks and achievement of development outcomes;
- Tenet 3: Community mobilization and transboundary, cross-sector governance over longer time periods are both required to foster sustainable holistic DRR at landscape scales and across boundaries; and
- Tenet 4: Investments in contingency planning for program operations to be resilient to the potential climate, environment, social and economic shocks and stresses programs and teams may face are critical for achieving humanitarian and development goals.
Sarah Henly-Shepard, MPH, Ph.D. is the Senior Advisor for Climate, Resilience, Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction at Mercy Corps. She provides technical support and thought leadership on resilience, disaster risk reduction, development and climate change adaptation, particularly within complex humanitarian emergencies and fragile contexts. Dr. Henly-Shepard has 20 years of implementation, research and advocacy experience in the fields of community health and development, humanitarian assistance, human rights, disaster risk reduction and resilience, climate change adaptation, and natural resource management. Her education includes a BA from the University of Texas-Austin (2004), a MPH from Johns Hopkins University (2008) with a Certificate in Humanitarian Assistance, Health and Human Rights, and a Ph.D. in Natural Resource & Environmental Management and a Certificate in Planning, with her dissertation on Community Disaster Resilience and Climate Change Adaptation, from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (2013). Sarah is also a Global Board of Directors Member for GNDR, the Global Network for Civil Society Organisations in Disaster Reduction, and is a focal point on many international networks for Mercy Corps.
Ali Blumenstock is a program manager with the Mercy Corps Environment Technical Support Unit, where she provides technical support and thought leadership in climate change adaptation, while also supporting the organization’s COVID-19 response efforts in water, sanitation, and hygiene. She has over 8 years of experience working with development and advocacy organizations across the United States and around the world in the fields of conservation, climate change adaptation, and environmental justice. She holds a Master’s in Global Human Development from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.