Poor environmental management is one of the root causes of disaster risk. In order to minimize risk to environment and communities, WWF works to integrate ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction (DRR) into development planning, climate change adaptation planning as well as pre and post disaster humanitarian action.
The environment can be both source of hazards and the means to avoid or reduce disaster risks and impacts.
Much disaster management involves measures that reduce the risk from immediate disaster impacts, such as early warning, response and evacuation systems, or infrastructure to limit hazard impacts, like embankments and flood-prevention walls.
WWF believes that in the long term, risk assessment and reduction efforts should include the environment and ecosystem-based activities, alongside more conventional, infrastructure-based measures. For example, ecosystem-based activities for risk reduction may include stabilizing hillsides with vegetation to prevent landslides, creating open spaces to absorb floodwaters, and restoring mangrove cover for coastal protection against storm surge.
Ecosystem DRR can also be combined with "hard" infrastructure approaches (eg. dikes) in effective "hybrid" solutions. WWF works on many of these issues through the Partnership for Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction (PEDRR).
Disaster recovery and rebuilding efforts attempt to build back in a few years what often took communities generations to develop. At the same time, the rebuilding effort that follows represents an opportunity to rebuild communities that are more environmentally and socially sustainable than they were before.
Recovery and reconstruction
WWF recognizes that the restoration of communities and ecosystems after disasters is a complex process that involves a wide range of actors and activities. With the right planning, the recovery process can be an opportunity to build back safer using environmentally responsible approach.
Learn moreTo learn more about our disaster related work, visit WWF US pages on Humanitarian Partnerships.
Learn more about how WWF works to reduce and manage the various risks related to the changing climate through our Climate Change Adaptation efforts.
Working together for DRR
WWF’s work on disaster management was borne out of our innovative collaboration with the American Red Cross to rebuild communities and ensure sustainable reconstruction in countries impacted by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
As a result of this experience, WWF and the American Red Cross developed the Green Recovery and Reconstruction: Training Toolkit for Humanitarian Aid (GRRT) training program. Over 30 international experts were involved in the production of the GRRT.
Since then, we have worked with our partners to apply the GRRT principles and practices to Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh 2008, Cyclone Jokwe in Mozambique 2008, the earthquake in Haiti 2010, the tsunami in Chile 2010, the 2010 floods in Pakistan and 2011 floods in Thailand.
In September 2013, WWF and the American Red Cross were awarded the prestigious Green Star Award for their Green Recovery and Reconstruction Training Toolkit (GRRT), a groundbreaking program designed to increase awareness and knowledge of environmentally responsible disaster response approaches.
Learn more here.