Adaptation by the least vulnerable: Managing climate and disaster risks in Finland

Karoliina Pilli-Sihvola*, Atte Harjanne, Riina Haavisto

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) literature has traditionally focused on the countries and regions hit hardest by natural hazards. In this paper, we take a different perspective by turning our eyes upon Finland, a Nordic welfare state and a low vulnerability and exposure society. We analyse and discuss how well the existing DRR and CCA approaches reflect the perspective of the least vulnerable countries and whether the current ways of determining vulnerability and exposure neglect some risks or hinder the seizing opportunities brought by climate change.This paper is based on data gathered in a survey, interviews and workshops in two research projects which analysed weather and climate related risks in Finland. We conclude that disaster risk assessments need to be contingent and account for social and economic contexts. In an institutionally well-functioning welfare society, vulnerability assessments should emphasize relative changes in perceived social trends and social cohesion. Exposure should not be limited to direct geographical or physical exposure to local natural hazards. Successful opportunity identification can help improve DRR at home and abroad. In general, the role of political systems and culture as enabling factors for DRR and CCA need further study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1266-1275
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Volume31
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Adaptation
  • Climate change
  • Disaster risk reduction
  • Finland
  • Governance
  • Welfare state

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