Niloufar Bayani
Niloufar Bayani
Topic: Wetlands for Ecosystem-based Disaster Risk Reduction
Niloufar Bayani is currently a Project Advisor under the Disaster Risk Reduction portfolio of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), being managed by the Post-Conflict and Disaster Managemen...
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Number of questions: [1]
Posted on 12/02/2016 18:56:11
It sounds like a very interesting topic. As I'm not very familiar with the topic of Disaster Risk Reduction, could you explain briefly what that entails, and where do wetlands come into play?
Benjamin Holley (from Australia)
Dear Benjamin,

Thank you for a great question! Disaster Risk Reduction refers to the concept of preventing and reducing the impact of natural hazards such as floods, drought, earthquakes and storms. It entails reducing exposure (people and property that are in the way of hazard), better land use planning, improving disaster preparedness and putting in place early warning systems.

Ecosystems play an important role in regulating floods, coastal storms and other hazards. They are often referred to as "natural infrastructure" because they can buffer such natural phenomenon in a similar way to engineered infrastructure such as dykes or seawalls.

Healthy wetlands for example absorb floodwater and release it over time, therefore reducing the damage caused by flooding. They also provide water during droughts by storing large quantities. Mangroves, which are considered as wetlands too, serve as coastal defenses against waves and reduce damage from coastal storms.

There are many interesting examples from Australia on this topic. If you are interested in finding more information, I suggest you take a look at the Queensland Wetlands Programme or the Ramsar Convention's website.

All the best,