Disaster Risk Reduction discussed at the World’s Leading Gathering of Stakeholders in Geneva this week

Geneva / May 19, 2013 – The fourth session of the world’s foremost gathering of stakeholders committed to reducing disaster risk and building the resilience of communities and nations – The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction – is taking place from May 19-23 in Geneva, Switzerland.

This conference aims to build the momentum of prior meetings into a sustained effort from all actors (governments, NGOs, international agencies and organizations, academic and technical institutions and the private sector) to take shared responsibility in reducing risks and reinforcing human resilience.

IUCN experts will be talking to government agencies, insurance companies, humanitarian aid organizations, civil society agencies and many others in order to showcase the evidence that conserving biodiversity and improving the way we manage ecosystems such as forests, river basins and wetlands can boost human security and sustainability.

Healthy ecosystems and wise environmental management can protect people from disasters

Skawa river flood in Poland in 2001. Image source: Wikimedia

Floods, landslides and hurricanes are hazards which leave behind great human and economic losses and, unfortunately, these events are increasing at an unprecedented rate and intensity, mostly due to climate change and destruction of the environment. Degraded ecosystems are unable to satisfy people’s needs for food and water and to protect them from these and/or similar hazards through flood regulation, slope stabilization, coastal protection and other ecosystem services.

“The services provided by ecosystems are not luxury but rather a basic necessity to disaster risk reduction. We must work with nature if we are to keep ourselves safe while facing an increasingly hazardous time,” says Radhika Murti of IUCN’s Ecosystems Management Programme.

“The lessons we have learned are that investing in nature-based solutions not only reduces risk by being better prepared, but can also be a cost-effective means to address restoration and recovery,” says Trevor Sandwith, Director of IUCN’s Global Protected Areas Programme.

“Global studies such as the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity) indicate clearly that the maintenance of healthy and resilient ecosystems are a foundation of any strategy for sustainable development,” adds Sandwith.

According to IUCN, healthy ecosystems and wise environmental management can protect people from disasters. However, this fact is not yet widely appreciated among the many parties responsible for reducing the risk of disasters and responding to them once they happen.

You can follow the conference events at: http://www.preventionweb.net/globalplatform/2013/