Resilience: Nations need to become more resilient to the effects of climate change

Resilience means the key economic and social systems are climate-proofed for the future. It is not a question of if, but when: When the next storm hits, how prepared will you be? This issue is being addressed by communities around the world who are seeking—and finding—ways to be more resilient following a major natural disaster. Nations need to become more resilient to the effects of climate change. For example, flooding is the most costly and frequent natural disaster in many places around the world. The adoption of policy mandates that will provide flood insurance for high-risk areas is one answer. Those mandates can raise awareness among citizens and give peace of mind to those who need to be financially protected. But insurance against flood and storm damage can be prohibitive for the private sector alone, particularly in developing countries where housing construction may be relatively weak and many people don’t have the means to acquire it. Private and public partnerships can help mitigate some of the worst effects of natural disasters amplified by climate change by pooling resources and coming up with solutions that address what happens before, during, and after an extreme weather event. Resources can be made available to strengthen homes and other structures to better withstand extreme storms. And infrastructure for temporary evacuation and sheltering of vulnerable populations can be developed. But it is not just about extreme weather. Climate change is slow and inexorable, but the exact nature of the effects can be unpredictable. With rising temperatures around the globe comes more responsibility from the top down. How we consume our natural resources and integrate more proactive and continuous community planning will be instrumental in how resilient we are.