Green Coast: successful and cost-effective approach for disaster risk reduction
Green Coast, a coastal restoration program led by Wetlands International, has been assessed independently as a highly cost-effective and successful approach to disaster risk reduction.
As a well-tested approach in response to the 2004 Tsunami, Green Coast is now being promoted by Wetlands International for large scale implementation at tropical coasts worldwide, as it is also an effective approach to adapt to the impacts of climate change such as extreme weather events and sea level rise.
Green Coast, which is developed by Wetlands International in collaboration with its partners Both ENDS, WWF and IUCN, was evaluated to be of particular high value for closing the gap between immediate humanitarian relief and successful long term recovery of livelihoods of the affected people. The program was also praised for its successful gender approach: of the direct beneficiaries about 59% were women.
Green Coast’ key objective is to rehabilitate the livelihoods of coastal communities through the restoration of coastal ecosystems. The program works from a science base and uses a community-led approach: coastal restoration work is done by affected communities themselves who are rewarded for their work with small financial capital and technical support to rebuilt their livelihoods.
Healthy coastal ecosystems are vital for fisheries and other sources of income for coastal populations such as eco-tourism, agriculture, small scale aquaculture, home gardening and livestock. They also function as buffer zones in case of extreme weather events such as storms, prevent coastal erosion and intrusion of salt water into fresh water systems.
In the Tsunami hit areas of Aceh, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and Malaysia, Green Coast managed in 3 years time to plant more than 3 million seedlings, re-establishing over 1,100 hectares of coastal forest and mangroves. Furthermore, communities were involved in the cleaning up of beaches and over 100 hectares of coral reef and sea grass beds. Sand dunes were restored over a total length of 4km and some other key natural habitats such as lagoons were rehabilitated. This improved the environmental security of 91,000 people in the coastal regions and more than 12,000 households directly benefit from increased income of Green Coast livelihood activities.