Climate-smart disaster risk reduction

The IFRC is one of the biggest community-based disaster risk reduction actors in the world. Together with our 191 National Societies, we help communities around the world to reduce their risks, protect themselves and prepare for emergencies.

About climate-smart disaster risk reduction

There is nothing natural about a disaster. Shocks and hazards do not inevitably lead to catastrophe. Yet every year 67,000 people are killed, 26 million are driven into poverty, and nearly 200 million people are affected by natural hazards worldwide.

It is the world’s poorest and most exposed people who suffer the most. And older people, women and girls and people living with disabilities are disproportionately affected.

Climate-smart disaster risk reduction saves lives by limiting the amount of risk people face and the level of damage a crisis might cause. It can help communities effectively prepare for and cope with natural hazards.

This approach is vital because the number of disasters is increasing every year. Climate change, population growth, urban development in risk-prone locations and changes in land use are all increasing the risks.

Our climate action

A man works his maize field in a village in southern Ethiopia, where some farmers have begun to protect themselves against weather extremes through 'index insurance' that pays out benefits based on predictions such as rainfall levels

A man works his maize field in a village in southern Ethiopia, where some farmers have begun to protect themselves against weather extremes through 'index insurance' that pays out benefits based on predictions such as rainfall levels

Photo: IFRC/Jose Cendon

The IFRC and our network of 191 National Societies and millions of volunteers work closely with communities exposed to climate-related hazards every day.

We’re making our work climate-smart, advocating for greater climate change adaptation and significantly increasing our disaster risk reduction efforts worldwide. We are increasingly considering climate risks in all we do, anticipating extreme weather events ahead of their impact and pursuing nature-based solutions.

We are also reducing our own environmental footprint and greening our operations.

For concrete examples of climate action by our National Societies and partners, check out this report by the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre.

And find out more about our commitments to step up our response to climate and environmental crises in the Climate and Environment Charter for Humanitarian Organizations.

Explore our work

The Bangladesh Red Crescent Society distributes cyclone preparedness equipment to trained community volunteers as part of its cyclone preparedness programme in Cox's Bazar

Early warning, early action

We take many different steps—from forecast-based financing to setting up community early warning systems—to protect people before a disaster strikes.

Mo mo from Myanmar is now living in Cox's Bazar refugee camp, Bangladesh where she volunteers with the Bangladesh Red Crescent as part of their cyclone preparedness programme

Community knowledge and awareness raising

We help communities around the world understand the risks they face and how they can protect themselves.

Red Cross volunteers distribute relief supplies in the northern part of Tanna island, Greenhill village, Vanuatu following Cyclone Pam in March 2015

Improving disaster laws

We support governments to introduce laws and policies that reduce existing risks posed by natural hazards, prevent new risks from arising and make people safer.

Nepal Red Cross and Danish Red Cross volunteers team up to lead a vulnerability and capacity assessment with a village community in Kavre district, Nepal

Risk assessment and planning

We work hand-in-hand with communities to help them identify, understand and address risks to their lives and livelihoods.

Following the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, community-based action teams along the western coast of Aceh province, Indonesia plant thousands of mangrove trees as a protective barrier against the sea

Nature-based solutions

We implement nature-based solutions, such as protecting and restoring forests, to protect communities against disasters and the impacts of climate change.

A shot of a rainy street in Hong Kong in 2018 with people walking with umbrellas. Hong Kong has been experiencing rising temperatures and more intense rainfall in recent years due to climate change.

Urban resilience

For most of humanity the future involves living in cities. But to do so safely, urban communities need to be prepared for, and resilient to, the increasing and changing shocks they face.