Environmental Management, Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation

The role of environmental management and eco-engineering in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation

Project dates: February - July 2008

8.5.2.ecomanageEnvironmental management has an important role to play in reducing many of the risks posed by natural disasters.

Ecosystems act as natural, dynamic barriers that can help protect vulnerable communities from at least some of the impacts of climate change. For example:

Forests can reduce the level of rainfall run-off, help prevent soil erosion, improve slope stability and reduce the impacts of storm surges.
Wetlands and other ecosystems can also be managed to reduce the impact of floods and regulate water flow.
Natural geological systems such as sedimentation and long-shore drift can be harnessed to facilitate the development of barrier islands providing added protection to vulnerable coastal communities.
Ecosystem products can be used as retaining structures to minimise soil erosion, strengthen river banks and improve slope stability.

All such natural measures have the added benefit of providing a positive greenhouse gas impact, compared with many traditional hard engineering alternatives.

ProAct Network, with support from the Ministry of Environment, Finland, and in collaboration with the secretariat of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), has undertaken a global survey to investigate both traditional and scientific experiences in the use of environmental management and ecosystems as natural buffers for climate-related extreme weather events.

The report "The Role of Environmental Management and Eco-engineering in Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation" was launched at the International Disaster and Risk Conference at Davos, Switzerland on 26th August 2008. More information about ProAct Workshop at IDRC Davos 2008.

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