Adapting to Climate Change and Reducing Risks Will Rely on Ecosystem Management

Sustainable management of ecosystems, as an integral part of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction plans, must be at the centre of all development activity, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), WWF-International, IUCN and ISDR.

Speaking at the second Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (GP09) Geneva, Switzerland, UNEP's Director of Division of Environmental Policy Implementation and chair of the session, Ibrahim Thiaw, called for greater integration of ecosystem management in climate change adaptation and disaster preparations and response.

"At the local, national, regional and international, political commitment is urgently needed to raise the profile of ecosystems," he said.

Richard Munang, UNEP's Deputy programme manager for climate change. described ecosystems management as a moral imperative and social responsibility calling for a new vision and approach to development. "The world lacks neither the financial resources nor the technological capabilities to act, - what is missing is a sense of urgency, human solidarity and collective interest based on shared values and a shared interest," he said.

Patterns of disaster risk are changing and the critical ecosystems that support community resilience are being lost at an alarming rate due to human mismanagement of natural resources.

Speaking at the panel, EU Parliamentarian Anders Wijkman, said: "Although our well-being depends entirely on the services of nature, in the majority these goods have no markets and consequently no prices. We ought to be aware, however, that by destroying these natural resources, life-supporting systems could collapse. It is time that we grasped the consequences of our actions and start acting today. Everyone from all walks of life needs to be a player in addressing this challenge. Closing the gap between science-policy and advocating action is imperative."

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