Wetlands International

A recipe for resilience


Courtesy of Wetlands International

The Partners for Resilience (PfR) alliance has been working since 2011 to reduce the impact of natural hazards on vulnerable people in nine countries: Ethiopia, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mali, Nicaragua, the Philippines and Uganda.

We are the Netherlands Red Cross, CARE Nederland, Cordaid, the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, Wetlands International and our many local partners.

Our unique approach to the building of resilience, developed with more than 40 local implementing partner agencies, integrates climate change adaptation and ecosystem management and restoration into disaster risk reduction (DRR).

Our experience over the past four years of evidence-based, holistic risk reduction can contribute meaningfully to the collective commitment to a post-2015 framework. Our key messages and ‘calls to action’ at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) at Sendai, Japan, are presented here.

1. Ensure community participation. The post-2015 DRR framework will centre closely on the role in DRR planning of communities, especially vulnerable groups. We believe this is pivotal.

Even though the core of responsibility for DRR lies with governments, communities know best what risks they face, and are inevitably the first to respond when disaster strikes, especially in least developed countries and failed or fragile states.

‘We call on governments to recognize the different capacities, needs and vulnerabilities of community groups, and enable their full participation in decision-making.’

2. Mainstream ecosystem approaches and climate information. Current hazards are likely to increase under changing climatic conditions; ecosystem degradation is intensifying existing risks and creating new ones, while urbanization heightens risk still further.

Combining community- and landscape-level risk assessments will help us understand how risk manifests itself on all spatial scales, and how human interventions in one area affect communities elsewhere in the landscape.

Science and traditional knowledge about changing risk patterns on short, medium and long timescales can enhance humanitarian decision-making and financing. Early warning through timely climate information and then early action can save lives and livelihoods.

‘We call on governments and stakeholders to mainstream ecosystem-based approaches and climate information into risk analysis and DRR policy, practice and investment.’

3. Foster collaboration among stakeholders. Cooperation and joint ownership of the DRR agenda by all stakeholders is the best way to enhance resilience. Support for capacity building, awareness raising and accountability are key elements of a post-2015 framework underpinned by meaningful collaboration, including a full spectrum of monitoring, evaluation, reporting and learning.

4. Open up access to early warning and information. Information on early warning and climate is equally important in short- and long-term risk reduction and needs to be tailored to culture, language, and local priorities. Local civil society will help disseminate information on disaster risk to the most vulnerable.

‘We call for timely, open access to early warning and better information on longer-term disaster risk.’

5. Strengthen livelihoods. Deaths from disasters have fallen in recent years but economic losses have risen substantially. Strengthening livelihoods before disaster strikes through diversification, adaptation, savings schemes, and insurance enables communities to withstand disasters and recover faster when required.

The Partners for Resilience – with their uniquely integrated model of ecosystem-based and climatesmart DRR – are a proven mechanism for linking work on all timescales (from emergency relief to long-term development) and levels (local, national, regional).

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