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Environmental assessment, climate proofing, and disaster risk reduction as project tools

Promoting ecologically sustainable development is one of the leading principles of the Finnish development cooperation. This is also in line with the Millennium Development Goals. Climate change, loss of biodiversity, water security, desertification, impoverishment of the soil, and chemicals and wastes, are some of the most pressing global issues confronting us. Mainstreaming climate proofing, environmental assessment and disaster risk reduction (DRR) into the Finnish development cooperation initiatives implies the systematic integration of these sustainability considerations into the programme and project cycles.

This site presents the approach to mainstreaming and introduces tools and checklists for assessing and screening development programmes and projects for potential risks related to climate change, environmental challenges and natural or man-made disasters.

The checklists available under each section – climate proofing, environmental assessment and disaster risk reduction  provide questions for both the planning and the evaluation phase of the development co-operation projects and programmes.

The checklists enable different stakeholders to identify possible climate, environmental or disaster related challenges associated with the programmes or projects. Therefore it is crucial to go through the checklists systematically by answering each question in some detail.

However, it should be noted that ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answers are not sufficient, nor is it purposeful to write overly long answers as the idea is to focus on a few main findings.

s this project tool is still to be developed further, the checklists may undergo some changes and modifications according to the feedback received.

Climate proofing

Climate change can seriously affect the outcomes of development initiatives – in some cases even negating their benefits. At the same time, development programmes have the potential to increase resilience amongst target populations to ensure that all efforts continue to advance sustainable development even in the face of climate change.

By first assessing how climate change may impact on development activities (climate screening) it is possible to identify measures that reduce climate risks to acceptable levels through environmentally sound, economically viable, and socially acceptable changes to the intervention (climate proofing).

Environmental assessment

Environmental assessment is a procedure that assures that the environmental implications and alternative solutions are taken into account in a development programme or project before the implementation is started.

The aim is to guarantee that development programmes and projects are optimal for the environment. Programmes or projects likely to have substantial effects on the environment are submitted to the formal environmental assessment procedure, prior to their approval or authorisation.

Disaster risk reduction

The amount of natural disasters is increasing; tropical storms, droughts, floods, heavy rains and landslides are becoming more and more common in different parts of the globe. Developing countries and the poor are hit hardest by their impact with significant negative poverty impact.

The central aim of disaster risk reduction (DRR) is to decrease the susceptibility to natural hazards and disasters on the developing countries and their populations, thus promoting sustainable development and poverty eradication, as the main objectives.

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