1. Introduction & Objectives
Anthropogenic activities modify natural systems and lead to environmental pressures at a global level. Land use change, growing population and increasing energy consumption together with climate change are recognized among main drivers of a global change. These processes significantly increase risk of systems exposed to environmental hazards and at the same time influence the provision of ecosystem services. Ecosystems play important roles in terms of hazard mitigation and vulnerability reduction but they are rarely considered by planning authorities dealing with disaster risk reduction – generally, engineered structures are preferred and promoted. Although understanding of the provision of ecosystem services is far from being complete and uncertainties remain, existing information is already available for applications. With respect to increasing risks related to global change, the concept of ecosystem services has a capacity to contribute to safety of both, social and natural systems and vulnerability reduction.
Objective: This working group aims to integrate the concept of ecosystem services into disaster risk reduction approaches dealing with environmental hazards at diverse spatial scales. One of these approaches might be so called “Ecosystem-based Adaptation”, which builds on sustainably managing, conserving and restoring ecosystems so that they continue to provide the services that allow society to adapt to global changes. The group also provides a platform for guidelines and standards development for vulnerability and risk indicators, incorporating ecosystem services notions at the outset of analysis. Other key issues in the scope of the group are e.g. identification of regions prone to disasters, recognition of natural capital capacity to reduce environmental risks or suggestions for responses to improve environmental security. The working group also intends to foster collaborative activities between the scientific community, disaster risk reduction practitioners and representatives of civil society in order to increase the uptake of the role ecosystems and their services while planning disaster risk reduction activities.
2. Lead Team & Members
Fabrice Renaud (Chair), United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), Bonn, Germany
David Vačkář (co-Chair), CzechGlobe, Brno, Czech Republic
Julia Kloos, German Aerospace Center, Bonn, Germany
Zita Sebesvari, United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), Bonn, Germany
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3. More Information
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