Thematic Group Lead
Karen Sudmeier, email@example.com
Ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction (DRR) is the sustainable management, conservation and restoration of ecosystems to reduce disaster risk, with the aim to achieve sustainable and resilient development . Well-managed ecosystems, such as wetlands, forests and coastal systems, act as natural infrastructure, reducing physical exposure to many hazards and increasing socio-economic resilience of people and communities by sustaining local livelihoods and providing essential natural resources such as food, water and building materials. Ecosystem management not only offers an opportunity to strengthen natural infrastructure and human resilience against hazard
impacts, but also generates a range of other social, economic and environmental benefits for multiple stakeholders, which in turn feed back into reduced risk.
In spite of the many benefits of ecosystem based solutions for more comprehensive DRR, there are many challenges for it to become mainstreamed into DRR and adaptation measures:
• There are not enough advocacy efforts from the conservation, disaster management and climate change communities to articulate the DRR/Adaptation functions of ecosystems.
• There is insufficient technical understanding among planners/engineers to develop quantitative models to facilitate proactive use of ecosystems as a DRR/adaptation measure.
• The benefits of sustainable ecosystem management are spread across so many sectors that the topic does not receive singular attention from any of the development sectors (e.g. agriculture, health, education, culture or DRR).
• Ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction does not lend itself to easy identification of measurable targets or goals (e.g. X percentage of disaster losses reduced due to well-functioning ecosystems, $ saved by wetlands preservation for flood reduction).
• In addition, there remain many critical gaps between best practices and the reality of current DRR and CCA
As a cross-cutting theme, IUCN DRR activities at the global level are coordinated by the IUCN Ecosystem Management Programme, and supported by the expertise of CEM members. These activities include coordination and communications about DRR across IUCN, collecting and disseminating lessons learned about projects and processes that integrate ecosystem management, sustainable livelihoods and disaster risk reduction at the regional level. IUCN regional offices are in the forefront of developing innovative approaches to watershed management, institutional capacity building and collaborative project that integrate disaster risk and climate change adaptation.
CEM is actively working in partnership with interested and qualified CEM members and especially with the Partnership for Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction (PEDRR), a global alliance of 15 international organisations, academic institutions and NGOs. Collaborative efforts involving CEM members include a growing “community of practice” for educational and scientific exchanges in the field of ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction, participation in periodic PEDRR national workshops on ecosystem-based DRR and periodic technical inputs to IUCN on specific requests for feedback.