Ecosystem Based DRR

“If a tree which protects a river bank collapses in a flood, the creeper, which live on it and the lives who need for survival will surely follow the suit”.

………………….Raja Tarangini (An ancient Indian scripture)

ecosystem2As Rajatarangini says, environmental safety is crucial for human security. Environmental safety in turn is in the hands of humans and human will have to decide whether they want to protect environment and save themselves or usurp the environmental resources and perish along with them.

Several research studies have established that climate change and its environmental impacts have a direct implication on frequency and intensity of disasters. Further, disasters in turn impact environment and natural resources, a source of livelihood and a life supportecosystem3 system for many. With environmental degradation resulting in limited livelihood opportunities the communities may be forced to further over-exploit the local environment, making it even more vulnerable. In mountain areas with little access to financial services, communities often have savings in the form of livestock, which may be killed in the event of a disaster. According to UNESCAP, Environmental degradation often undercuts economic potential and human well-being which in turn helps fuel political tensions and conflict.

Various studies have analyzed causal links between environmental change and conflict, with a focus on developing countries, which are most likely to exhibit environmental conflict in the future. Reducing the risks of disasters require widespread and sustained commitment across a wide range of fields. And since many of the hazards will intensify because of climate change, it is also vital to approach these issues on a broad front, integrating disasters and climate change policies and socioeconomic policies aimed at reducing poverty and inequities.

Need for environmental and hazard sensitive development planning:

The current trend of governance, economic development and national administration in most countries increases environmental degradation and contributes to disaster instead of reducing it. Unfortunately, the policy makers, policy planners and development administrators of most countries seem to be oriented towards revenue generation through large scale infrastructure development without taking into consideration the environmental and hazard risk and potential long term costs and losses due to disasters.

It is high time, policy makers and administrators recognize that development processes “Interacts with Nature” and therefore caused with “Natural Hazards”. Hence, development planning that fails to perceive hazard risk and vulnerability factors is bound to turn natural hazards into disasters.

The Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) calls for integrating risk reduction into development and environmental planning and policies at all levels of government, including in poverty reduction strategies and sectors and multi sector policies and plans. The progressive and tactical integration of disaster risk reduction across natural resource management, climate change, livelihoods and development planning is the ideal way of achieving a holistic approach to disaster risk, vulnerability and to its reduction. This holistic approach should be aided by risk analysis, vulnerability and capacity analysis, social and economic analysis incorporating disaster risk reduction concerns, environmental analysis, risk awareness activities, bi-lateral and regional cooperation.

Key Message: Individual safety lies in safe environment and safe environment is a product of community action. Safety against hazards and disasters thus requires collective planning and collective efforts.

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