WWF's response to the Tsunami of December 2004

 / ©: WWF / Jürgen Freund
Coastal ecosystems can act as a buffer against tsunamis. Mangrove reforested area in the Philippines.
© WWF / Jürgen Freund
Since the 26 December 2004 Indian Ocean earthquakes and tsunami, WWF has been working to promote green reconstruction - the integration of sound environmental outcomes in all facets of post-tsunami reconstruction.
This includes rehabilitating important ecosystems that were damaged, repairing and replacing infrastructure in a sustainable manner, rebuilding livelihoods, and minimising the environmental impacts of reconstruction work.

In the year since this tragic event, WWF has earned the position of advocate for the environment in post-tsunami reconstruction through:
  • Providing advice to governments around the world; various United Nations agencies and the United Nations Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery, former US President Bill Clinton; and various NGOs, including World Vision and American Red Cross. WWF is working with IUCN Sri Lanka to provide region-wide advice.

  • Promoting the understanding amongst government officials, international and domestic agencies working on the ground, humanitarian and relief NGOs, and local communities that without a healthy environment there can be no long-term prosperity and security.

For reconstruction efforts to be considered successful, it is crucial that we create conditions for long-standing solutions. Quick fixes do not make economic, social or environmental sense and do not fulfil our collective moral obligation to build back as best we can.

What did WWF do?

Immediately after the tsunami, WWF:
  • Assessed environmental impacts, threats and needs (eg, by participating in the United Nations Environment Programme’s Tsunami Task Force, which published After the Tsunami – Rapid Environment Assessment in February 2005)

  • Developed practical “green reconstruction” solutions to those impacts, threats and needs and has been working with implementing agencies to make positive choices for the environment to underpin the long-term success of reconstruction (see below for information on WWF’s Timber for Aceh initiative and Green Reconstruction Policy Guidelines)

In the longer term, WWF is working to establish sustainable reconstruction as a major consideration in responses to disasters through engagement with affected governments, donor governments and agencies, United Nations bodies and NGOs.

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