Introduction: Courting Catastrophe? Can Humanitarian Actions Contribute to Climate Change Adaptation?

Volume 48 Number 4
Published: August 9, 2017

Climate change introduces new challenges for humanitarian aid through changing hazard patterns. The linkages between climate change and humanitarian aid are complex. While humanitarian organisations deal directly with vulnerable  opulations, interventions and actions also form part of global politics and development pathways that are currently
generating climate change, inequities and vulnerability.

This IDS Bulletin represents a call for increasing engagement between humanitarian aid and adaptation interventions to support deliberate transformation of development pathways. Based on studies carried out as part of the ‘Courting Catastrophe’ project, we argue that humanitarian interventions offer several entry points and opportunities for a common agenda to drive transformational adaptation. Changes in political and financial frameworks are needed to facilitate longer-term actions; additionally, transformational adaptation demands moving from a mode of delivering expert advice and solutions to vulnerable populations, to taking up multiple vulnerability knowledges and making space for contestation of current development.


  • Aid
  • Climate Change
From Issue: Vol. 48 No. 4 (2017) | Courting Catastrophe? Humanitarian Policy and Practice in a Changing Climate