The Department of International Environment and Development Studies (Noragric) at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences hosted the final conference for the project 'Courting Catastrophe? Humanitarian Policy and Practice in a Changing Climate'.
1 - 2 December 2016, Felix Konferansesenter, Oslo
Humanitarian actors are increasingly broadening their actions and approaches in line with the need to address longer-term vulnerability and complex emergencies. This shift raises important questions about the potentials and challenges to the integration of the concerns of climate change adaptation into humanitarian responses. What are the conflicts and synergies between immediate actions to reduce human suffering in disasters, and the longer-term actions that are required to reduce vulnerability and prevent crises from recurring? In order to avoid courting catastrophe by indirectly contributing to the perpetuation of longer-term vulnerability, new thinking around the links between short-term responses to emergencies and longer-term sustainable adaptation is required.
The main findings of the 'Courting Catastrophe' project were presented at this conference. Some of the key questions addressed were:
- How do we prepare for the unknown in complex humanitarian contexts? How can humanitarian actors make sense of complex climate and vulnerability contexts in operational decisions before, during and after a crisis?
- How can vulnerable groups, with their often rich local knowledge on climate adaptation, be empowered in their interactions with humanitarian interventions?
- Can humanitarian actions transform development or do they reinforce vulnerability in the face of climate change?
- How can the interaction between humanitarian organisations, development organisations, governments and funders shape interventions?
- Can we move beyond technological solutions? Do humanitarian interventions offer technological and social innovations that support sustainable adaptation?