How is risk defined?
The general definition is that risk equals hazard multiplied by vulnerability (Risk = Hazard x Vulnerability), a widely used equation. Depending on the school of thought, risk definitions might also include a consideration of exposure and capacities to cope and adapt. Risk expresses a current estimation, a probability of a future manifestation of hazards and vulnerable conditions, which in the case of disaster risk results in loss and damage.
It is not a static concept but an ever transforming process manifesting in different forms of which disaster is only but one. Risks are intrinsically connected to territorial, social, environmental and planning processes throughout the historic modes of economic development. More about definitions on risk is available from the UNISDR Terminology on Disaster Risk Reduction, 2009 Geneva.
What are everyday risks?
The terms episodic, frequent, extensive and small-scale, but also small and everyday risks are often used interchangeably. They stem from discourses comparing and contrasting them to risks of large-scale and rare events such as earthquakes.
The everyday risk discourse not only contrasts with large-scale ones but recognizes daily struggles and takes a people and community-centred focus. When looking at the drivers of everyday risks the boundaries between human and natural influences become less clear especially when analysed along temporal and spatial scales and the habits of people’s everyday lives.
What are ‘risk traps’?
‘Risk traps’ are the cycles through which environmental hazards and small, repetitive and often unrecorded small-scale disasters, accumulate and manifest in particular localities affecting disproportionally the most vulnerable sectors of the population. In Lima, like in other cities, the exposure to everyday risks have severe impacts on the everyday lives, livelihoods and assets of the urban poor and the city’s ecological and socio-economic future. Urban ‘risk traps’ undermine the efforts and investments made by the urban poor and state agencies to mitigate risk, just as urban poverty traps are produced through combined aspects of urban deprivation that undermine the potential benefits offered by cities.
How are ‘risk traps’ disrupted?
The disruption of risk traps entails by definition the challenge of attacking the root of the processes of socially unjust and environmentally unsustainable urban territorial management.
Informal and unplanned areas, despite their risk, lack of services and general vulnerability offer a window to device innovative mechanisms that can contribute towards more socio-environmentally just processes. Participatory urban planning and management can generate a deep understanding of natural and man-made cycles by building upon the existing channels for collective action and local experience. Therefore the ‘unplanned‘ city – often under constant transformation – can act as a catalyst to generate alternative approaches to climate compatible development and eventually find ways to break the ‘risk traps’.
What is climate compatible development (CCD)?
‘Climate Compatible Development’ (CCD) is a mode of development where harm caused by climate impacts is minimised, while potentialising human development opportunities presented by low emissions and a resilient future. Climate change is altering the responses and patterns of innovation, trade, production, population distribution and risk in complex ways. CCD promotes new development scenarios which nurture and sustain economic growth and social development in the face of multiple threats not necessarily caused by climate change.
To confront these challenges, climate compatible development emphasises a holistic look at adaptation, mitigation and development strategies and embraces development goals and strategies that integrate the threats and opportunities of climate change. Source: Adapted from the CDKN website.