The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
is implementing a project to develop an integrated risk
assessment methodology. It is jointly managed by the
Division of Environmental Policy Implementation (DEPI) and
the Division of Early Warning and Assessment (DEWA).
Our planet’s ecosystems are under serious threat. One third
of coral reefs and mangroves, two of the world’s rarest
ecosystems, are already seriously damaged with some
countries having already lost much more. Global forest cover
in 2005 was estimated to be just under four billion hectares or
30 percent of total land area. Ecosystems decline is primarily
driven by human-induced activities, such as deforestation,
overfishing, land conversion, poor waste management and
tourism. As ecosystems degrade so do the multiple services
they provide to sustain life, livelihoods and human wellbeing.
The increasing frequency and intensity of disasters, both natural or man-made, are resulting in signifi cant social, economic and environmental losses, which further strain ecosystems to restore, protect and maintain livelihoods affected by these extreme events. In addition, climate change can exacerbate ecosystems degradation as a result of sea level rise, increase in global temperatures and changing patterns of hydro-meteorological hazards (i.e. tropical cyclones, wildfi res, drought, etc).
Ecosystems degradation often takes place over a short time span, and its principal cause is generally localized and human-induced. Solutions to address threats to ecosystems can therefore be locally-driven and made possible.
The project will create a risk and vulnerability assessment tool that can be utilized by national governments for the purpose of developing appropriate policy and legal instruments and formulating plans and programmes that build resilience against the adverse impacts of natural hazards. The assessment methodology will guide decision makers on how to assess risk and make choices that support sustainable livelihoods development through the protection and improved management of ecosystems. The project aims to
develop a tool that can be implemented in different countries and locations, allowing for comparative assessments and technical rigour. At the same time, the tool will provide a robust assessment of risk at the local level.