This edition of Humanitarian Exchange features articles on the topic of disaster risk reduction for humanitarian practitioners. Disaster risk reduction is the broad development and application of policies, strategies and practices to minimise vulnerabilities and disaster risks for affected communities, through prevention, mitigation and preparedness. An increasing body of knowledge and best practice has emerged on this topic, but there are still many challenges, not least the dynamically changing humanitarian context in which agencies must respond. Traditional humanitarian planning and response must factor in the impacts of a changing external environment including climate change, increased displacement and migration, urbanisation, HIV/AIDS and other potential pandemics, and engage with effective disaster risk reduction strategies to mitigate the negative effects of these problems. There is a need for better coordination between climate change, disasters and development communities, greater understanding of both global and local risks associated with climate change, and improved approaches to understand and respond to local vulnerabilities, while simultaneously addressing underlying complex and partly global processes.