1 June 2012 – Government representatives from Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan gathered in Tbilisi from 29 May to 1 June to attend training on ecosystem-based approaches to reducing disaster risk.

The course was conducted by UNEP, the Council of Europe and the UN Development Programme on behalf of the global Partnership for Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction (PEDRR), and hosted by Georgia’s Ministry of Environment.

The training aims to build government capacity to undertake more sustainable and resilient development planning by enhancing awareness of the linkages between the environment, livelihoods and disasters.

Georgia’s First Deputy Minister, Ministry of Environment, Mr Gocha Mamatsashvili, addressed the 25 participants at the workshop, emphasising the importance of incorporating ecosystem-based approaches to improve various outcomes.

"Economic losses due to disasters are increasing. Disaster risk reduction should be an integral component of sustainable development," Mr Mamatsashvili said.

The course included a field trip to a national park where a forest fire had occurred in 2008. The group was shown how despite natural regeneration taking place, evidence of the fire is still visible and the area is subject to potential erosion and small landslides.

The training is the latest knowledge product developed by UNEP and its PEDDR partners.

The course targets government officials, national disaster management institutions and major public training institutions, and provides practical tools on how to integrate environment and disaster risk reduction considerations into development planning at the national and sub-national levels.

The main output of the course is an Agenda for Action that reflects national development priorities and the proposed ecosystem-based solutions for disaster reduction in the respective priority areas, to be taken forward by governments.

Since the course was pilot tested in Sri Lanka in May 2011, PEDRR has received training requests from the governments of India, Uganda, Georgia/Armenia/Azerbaidjan, Philippines and Afghanistan, amongst others.

PEDDR is a partnership which provides technical and science-based expertise and applies best practices in ecosystems-based approaches to disaster risk reduction. It comprises UN agencies, international and regional NGOs as well as specialist institutes.

For more information, please contact: Marisol Estrella, UNEP’s Post-Conflict and Disaster Management Branch, on marisol.estrella@unep.org.

See also the PEDDR website at: www.pedrr.net

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