Community-based organisation and action can contribute greatly to disaster risk reduction, and interlinked to this, to building resilience to the impacts of climate change. However, as the case study cities from the Urban Africa: Risk Knowledge (Urban ARK) programme show, community action needs to be oriented towards working with local government, and not become a substitute for local government inaction. This is the case even when local government lacks the capacity to act, since it can still encourage and legitimate (or constrain and repress) community-based action. The city studies also show how attention to the full spectrum of risk highlights the synergies between risk reduction from everyday small and large disasters. In addition, community-led data collection on conditions in informal settlements can inform and strengthen community-local government partnerships for risk reduction.