Reducing disaster risks

Mountain lakes and marshes reduce peak flooding. Mangroves reduce the impacts of tsunamis, hurricanes and storms. And in arid regions wetlands are life-savers during extreme droughts. Natural and man-made disasters affect millions of vulnerable people in the world.
It is our aim to ensure that natural ecosystem based solutions 
are integrated in disaster risk reduction (DRR) plans.   

The impacts of natural and man-made disasters are expected to increase not only due to climate related extreme weather, but also due to the loss of wetlands and forests. The vital role of ecosystems is however hardly taken into account in DRR. We have therefore made ‘ecosystem smart disaster risk reduction’ a core focus of our work. We demonstrate that sustaining and restoring wetlands is a cost-effective strategy for DRR and climate change adaptation, with strong benefits for poverty reduction and biodiversity conservation. 

Partnership with humanitarian sector

Our first priority is to collaborate with humanitarian organisations and other decision-makers to integrate ecosystem and landscape based approaches into their disaster risk efforts. Since three years we have therefore joined forces with CARE, Cordaid, the Red Cross and the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre (Partners for Resilience alliance). Together we run a programme that spans nine countries across three continents to strenghten community resilience, empowering civil society and policy dialogue. See for more information. View our joint publications:

We also joined PEDRR, a global alliance of UN agencies, NGOs and specialist institutes which plays a vital role in steering DRR Action frameworks and global activities on reducing the risk of disasters. Read more.
Long term projects in mountain, coastal and arid regions
Wetlands International conducts long-term projects in mountain, arid and coastal areas where we aim to:
  • Work with communities on safer environment via wetland restoration.
  • Develop and share our practical experience and knowledge on the role that specific wetlands play in mitigating water related extremes.
  • Advocate to governments, development organisations and finance institutions to support wetland conservation, wise use and restoration.

What we achieved

  • In the mountains of China (Ruoergai) and India (Jhelum Basin, Kashmir), we restore wetlands in order to regulate water flows and accommodate glacial melt.

  • In coastal West Africa and Indonesia, we replant mangrove forests for protection against extreme storms and sea level rise.  

  • In Mali, we demonstrate the role of the Inner Niger Delta floodplains in regulating extreme river flows in this arid region.



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