Terms of reference

Community of practice: Communities of Practice are defined as “groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly”.1 They are a way of developing social capital, nurturing and sharing new knowledge, and stimulating innovation. Communities also connect people and outputs. This can include best practices, guidelines, knowledge repositories, discussions about technical problems and solutions, working papers, and strategies.

Governance: The way authorities, institutions and the public organize themselves into a formal or informal structure often including rules or conventions, processes or protocols, power dynamics and behavioural norms. Actors (e.g., governments, institutions, civil society) cooperate within this structure to make decisions, or solve problems. Good governance is transparent, inclusive, collective and efficient.

Social resilience: When a community or society is exposed to a natural hazard, its resilience is what allows it to "resist, absorb, accommodate, adapt to, transform and recover from the effects of [the] hazard in a timely and efficient manner".2 This includes the protection or repair "of its essential basic structures and functions through risk management".3

Disaster risk reduction: Disaster risk reduction aims to "prevent new risk, reduce existing risk and managing residual disaster risk", meanwhile strengthening resilience and contributing to sustainable development. Disaster risk reduction is "the policy objective of disaster risk management, and its goals and objectives are defined in disaster risk reduction strategies and plans".4

Disaster risk management: Disaster risk management "is the application of disaster risk reduction policies and strategies to prevent new disaster risk, reduce existing disaster risk and manage residual risk, contributing to the strengthening of resilience and reduction of disaster losses."5 Good disaster risk management should strengthen resilience and reduce disaster losses. All disaster risk management should be guided by the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Disaster risk governance: Disaster risk governance is "the system of institutions, mechanisms, policy and legal frameworks and other arrangements to guide, coordinate and oversee disaster risk reduction and related areas of policy".6 Good disaster risk governance reduces existing disaster risks, while avoiding new ones.

Natural hazards: Natural hazards are natural processes and phenomena that may cause social, environmental or economic disruption and degradation. This could include loss of life, injury, economic loss or property damage.7

Climate change: The United Nations agrees that climate change means a "change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods".8

Climate change mitigation: Actions that reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere (i.e., the source of climate change) for lessening the adverse impacts of climate change.9

Climate change adaptation: How countries, communities and individuals adjust to new environmental conditions caused by a changing climate. Climate change can cause sea level rise, stronger storm surges, or in some areas, severe drought. People must modify their behaviours and often change policy in order to adapt.10


  1. CCRF Community of Practice Application adapted from: https://www.cdc.gov/publichealthgateway/phcommunities/resourcekit/evaluate/start-an-evaluation.html
  2. United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). Terminology. From: https://www.undrr.org/
  3. ibid.
  4. ibid.
  5. ibid.
  6. ibid.
  7. Adapted from ibid.
  8. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. (1992). Article 1, Definitions. p.7. From: https://unfccc.int/files/essential_background/background_publications_htmlpdf/application/pdf/conveng.pdf
  9. UNISDR. Terminology.
  10. Adapted from ibid.