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UNEP (2007). Environment and Disaster Risk. Emerging perspectives

Bibliographic details:

UNEP (2007). Environment and Disaster Risk. Emerging perspectives. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Post-Conflict and Disaster Management Branch, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) (UNISDR) working group on Environment and disaster, Geneva, Switzerland


This document is an analysis of the various factors that produce human vulnerability to hazards, particularly focusing on the role of environmental degradation in exacerbating both vulnerability and hazard. It identifies areas of mutual action where disaster risk and environmental managers can work together towards the interconnected goals of environmental sustainability and safer communities. In producing this document, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) outline a comprehensive approach to disaster risk reduction (DRR). This approach emphasizes the linkages between poverty, environmental degradation, and disaster risk, recognizing that these factors share similar causes and consequences for sustainable development, human security, and wellbeing. While this relationship seems obvious, for disaster risk management (DRM) scholars, whose focus for many years was restricted to disaster preparedness, alert and response, the differences between the two areas rested on individual perceptions and experiences. The document provides clear and concise definitions of DRR and environmental management terms. Particular emphasis is placed on recognizing the multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary characteristics of the DRM field. There are five ways in which environmental management is linked to DRR: 1) natural hazards directly affect social processes; 2) healthy ecosystems provide natural defenses; 3) degraded ecosystems reduce community resilience; 4) some environmental impacts deserve immediate action; and 5) environmental degradation is a hazard in itself. The next section of the document presents the Five Priority Areas of Action outlined in the Hyogo Framework of Action and the various ways that environmental managers can engage with disaster risk managers and other development partners to affect change in these areas. The last section presents ten opportunities for integrating environmental management with DRR. These cover all aspects of integrating environmental considerations into DRR policies. The most notable ones focus on assessing environmental change as a parameter of risk, considering environmental technologies and designs for structural defenses, and integrating environmental and disaster risk considerations into spatial planning. ( English )