Well managed ecosystems such as coral reefs, mangroves, forests and wetlands will play a vital role in reducing disaster risk from climate change and other natural hazards.

Bogor, Indonesia - 18 June 2014 – Over 70 experts, policymakers and practitioners from 30 countries came together and endorsed the role of ecosystems management in integrating disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) and for guiding development policies in the 21st century. The Partnership for Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction (PEDRR), the Centre for Natural Resources and Development (CNRD), the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) and the United Nations Office for REDD+ Coordination in Indonesia (UNORCID) organized a three-day International Science-Policy Workshop on Ecosystem-based DRR and CCA in Bogor, at the heart of the country’s most historical Botanical Gardens.   

Disaster losses have risen substantially over the past few years. The year 2011 saw the highest economic losses in history, at USD 370 billion.  These losses are expected to increase as climate change impacts intensify and development patterns expose more industrial assets and private properties. 

This workshop comes at a time when many governments are seeking information, guidance and approaches that enable longer-term resilient planning, and at a milestone period when three major global policy agendas are currently under negotiations: the post-2015 global framework on disaster risk reduction (HFA-2), the post-2015 sustainable development agenda, and the post-2015 global climate change agreement.

“The current shifting climate and disaster policy landscape means that the discussions and outputs from this workshop could possibility inform the post-2015 policy agenda,” stated Fabrice Renaud of the United Nations University-Institute for Environment and Human Security. “The research needs identified by the workshop will have direct relevance to policy and decision-making.”

It is of particular relevance that the workshop is being hosted in Indonesia, which ranks 12th among the most vulnerable countries in terms of high mortality risk from multiple hazards. The country is situated in one of the most active disaster hot spots, where several types of hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, floods, landslides, droughts and forest fires frequently occur, putting 40 percent of the Indonesia population (more than 90 million people) at high risk.  

Environmental degradation increases people’s vulnerability towards natural hazards, and this driver is often not considered in most risk reduction and climate change adaptation strategies. “Maintaining healthy and well-managed ecosystems- such as coral reefs, mangroves, forests and wetlands- reduce disaster risk by acting as natural buffers or protective barriers” stated Muralee Thummarukudy from the United Nations Environment Programme in his opening remarks.  “This important role of ecosystems is what needs to be reflected in the HFA-2”. 

“Strategies for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation cannot develop in silos, but need to inform each other. Ecosystem-based approaches that provide multiple social, economic and environmental benefits, are one way to integrate the disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation spheres,” stated Karen Sudmeier-Rieux, a senior researcher from the University of Lausanne, who gave a keynote presentation.  

“It is remarkable to have brought together so many researchers, practitioners and policymakers in one workshop, which will hopefully foster more informed research and policies that lead to more sustainable and resilient development”, stated Udo Nehren, the scientific coordinator of the Center for Natural Resources and Development and lecturer at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences in Germany. 

Participants delivered presentations related to the workshop’s four main themes: demonstrating the economic case for ecosystem-based DRR /CCA; tools for decision-making, analysis and management; institutional arrangements and policies for scaling-up ecosystem-based DRR/CCA and promoting scientific research and technical innovations in this field.

Participants emphasized that preventive measures and good land-use planning that maintain the protective services of ecosystems should be a priority to reduce risks from natural hazards. Other benefits provided by healthy, well-managed ecosystems, such as support to livelihoods, food and water security, biodiversity and cultural heritage, also contribute to the total value of ecosystems in building local resilience against disasters. 

A policy brief will be published following the workshop that summarizes the main conclusions and recommendations for mainstreaming ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, which will inform ongoing consultations on the HFA-2, UNFCCC, and post-2015 sustainable development agenda. A book publication is being planned for release in 2015.

Additional information:

About PEDRR:

Formally established in 2008, the Partnership for Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction (PEDRR) is a global alliance of UN agencies, NGOs and specialist institutes. PEDRR seeks to promote and scale-up implementation of ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction (DRR) and ensure it is mainstreamed in development planning at global, national and local levels, in line with the Hyogo Framework for Action. It provides technical and science-based expertise and applies best practices in ecosystems-based DRR approaches. PEDRR is guided by its vision of: “Resilient communities as a result of improved ecosystem management for disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA)”. Its objective is to pool expertise and advocate for policy change and best practice in ecosystem management for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, based on science, practitioners’ experience and indigenous knowledge.

Partners:

  • United Nations University (UNU)
  • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI) (hosting institution)
  • Center for Natural Resources and Development (CNRD)
  • United Nations Office for REDD+ Coordination in Indonesia (UNORCID)