Integrating slow onset processes into climate risk management

Climate change and the increasing risks it poses to lives and livelihoods require targeted and integrated climate risk management (CRM), especially in vulnerable countries. While extreme weather events (EWE) have been given due prominence in risk management, slow-onset processes (SOP) such as sea level rise or desertification have been less well considered. Such processes unfold gradually and occur at widely different spatial scales, and shifts in their intensity, duration, and frequency can be triggered or amplified by climate change.

This working paper lays out definitions, key challenges, and opportunities for understanding risk and generating resilience to SOP (and related EWE). It describes a CRM framework developed for this purpose, and it sets out key areas for collaboration across research and develop­ment cooperation. CRM is comprehensive, integrative, and iterative by design. It can be used to help understand, assess, reduce, and/or address the diversity of risks posed by climate change, especially when planning or sustaining development progress.