We work to safeguard and restore wetlands for people and for nature.
Wetlands cover systems like marshes…
Wetlands are where water meets land
Regulating services: they can be seen as natural or green infrastructure.
Provisioning services like water and food are the builing blocks of society. They help to make people more resilient. Wetlands help to ensure that these services are available. These services help communities recover also after disaster strikes, such as food, fresh water, fodder, fibre and construction materials (wood, reed etc.) for rebuildng
Frequency and intensity of water-related hazards is generally rising
Pressures likely to intensity due to increased global demand for land and water
Wetlands are also impacted by climate change, such as the bleaching of coral reef, siltation of lakes, drying of mangrove forest because of lack of freshwater etc.
And this is also emphasized by the IPCC in their latest assessment report. We don’t know what we get, so we should have a system that is resilient to various scenarios.
Landscape approach: to understand the dynamics of the landscape, and their underlying influence on risk elements. It is important that the iresults of interventions in the entire landscape are right. E.g. at river basin level, where Interventions in one area my have (positive or negative) implications elsewhere, sometimes hundreds of kilometers away.
Mainstream Eco-DRR approaches in other policies (water management and land-use, sectoral and development), in order to address the rootcauses of ecosystem degradation, such as logging, mining and land conversion.
And collaborate with development and humanitarian organisations, linking each other’s approaches
This is why we have become part of a new partnership.
Apply a holistic approach to risk reduction and climate change adaptation,
Focusing both on practical interventions and on influencing policy
Examples of how we work together: including ecosystem profile in risk assessments
The Partners for Resilience believe that when reducing risk, this must be done throughout entire risk cycle.
And this is where the importance of the collaboration between the different partners of Partners for Resilience proofs its importance.
Together we can work to build the resilience and capacity from household level to the landscape level
And from immediate disaster relief to longer-term mitigation and prevention measures.
The very interesting approach to share about this project is the so-called cluster approach.
As my colleague Ritesh Kumar, who is managing these projects, says: There is a limit to what individual villages can achieve. He believes that villages need to band together to address inter-village issues and to lobby governments for protection against bigger forces that exacerbate coastal erosion, increase flood flows coming down the river into the delta and restrict the delta’s ability to absorb floods from either land or sea.
Most coastal villages on the delta, for instance, face the constant barrage of the ocean, cyclones and often coastal erosion and saline intrusion of freshwater aquifers. Working together they can avoid conflicts over embankments, and organise projects with collective benefits like setting up drainage systems to relieve waterlogged areas, organising dredging of silted rivers and planting shelter belts. In the central delta, villagers also face common risks from floods and waterlogging, while upstream villages at the head of the delta are confronted with droughts as well as floods
Rivers and channels are badly silted: leaving land water-logged and aggravating flood damage.
While enbankments can provide local protection, they add to wider risk, because they restrict the ability of floods to spread across the land. Instead flood flows become concentrated – bursting through defences at the weakest point.
Ritesh Kunmar: We can’t go back, but we do need to introduce elements of the old regime. Living with floods is the key.” The result will usually be soft engineering, which nurtures rather than confronts natural processes. Floods must be given somewhere to go.
We have to turn floods into benefits again and prevent beneficial floods from turning into hazards.
E.g. outcome of a government survey showed that:
Communities on the flood plain prefer to maintain water flows for their beneficial effects on agricultural productivity, which more than compensated for flood-induced damage.
Fishers downstream also preferred to maintain flows to help keep the mouth of the river open and provide a constant stream of sediment and nutrients, which raises fishery productivity.
These benefits were confirmed in cost-benefit analysis.
Working together villages can avoid conflicts over embankments, and organise projects with collective benefits like setting up drainage systems to relieve waterlogged areas, organising dredging of silted rivers and planting shelter belts.
Promoting sustainable livelihood options
To ensure functional basic services during hazards
This can apply to many different things, in the case of the communities in the Mahanadi Delta they include:
e.g. Department of Fisheries, State DRR Departments, Coastal zone management, Agriculture department, State irrigation cooperation etc.
…all play a vital role in DRR / CCA
Reduce and sometimes mitigate the impact of hazard events
• Buffers against storms and salt water intrusion (mangroves)
• Store large quantities of water, accommodate flood waters
• Release stored water, helping to mitigate droughts
Support and sustain livelihoods: timber, fruit, fish, fresh water,
Make optimal but wise use of the wetland services!
Facts & Figures
• 90% of hazards are water-related (floods, droughts, storms)
• 50% of wetlands are already lost
• Wetland loss one of the root causes of increased disaster risk
• Pressure on wetlands is likely to intensify
• Impacts from climate change
Build resilience by better managing our ecosystems
Ecosystem smart DRR approach
• Assess all risk & vulnerabilities, incl. environmental factors and
root causes of ecosystem degradation
• Understand how areas in a landscape are spatially connected
• Plan interventions at both community and landscape level
• Policy dialogues & alignment:
• integrate ecosystem approaches
• address the root causes of
degradation (e.g. logging, mining)
• Work with:
o Water and land-use planners, sectors
o Humanitarian / Dev. organisations
o Local communities
Partners for Resilience (2011-2016)
• Collaboration humanitarian, development & environmental actors,
an many local partners
• Vision: integrated approach is the way forward for DRR
• Ecosystem-based and climate smart DRR:
Assessing the causal factors behind risk, integrating environmental,
social and institutional factors, and developing effective responses.
• Active in 9 countries, with 450,000 beneficiaries
• We complement each other in building resilient communities
Linking tools for early warning early action
E.g. Flood prediction tools with other early warning tools
Linking ecosystem and community
Creating coastal resilience through mangrove restoration (Indonesia)
• increased storm protection;
• decreased erosion and saline
• provisioning of wetland goods,
such as fisheries
Partners for Resilience approaches
• Anticipate risk: act before disaster strikes
• Respond: when disaster strikes & maintaining basic structures functions;
• Adapt: to changing risks, to the changing livelihoods options;
• Transform: address underlying factors and root causes of risk
• Community-based: building resilience and capacity
• Across timescales: short-term and long-term solutions
• Across spatial scales: landscape to household level
• Across sectors
Partners for Resilience - India
- Connect villages in same risk context to synergize DRR plans
- Join up for advocacy for large scale policy change
3 clusters, risk contexts:
• Coastal zone: cyclones, saline intrusion
• Central delta: floods, waterlogging
• Delta head: floods and droughts
• - 126 DRR plans developed
- 15 model villages to showcase
implementation of integrated approach
- Outcomes used to leverage further funds
Participatory risk assessment & planning
Risk reduction plans based on understanding of ecosystem, natural
hazards and livelihood linkages
Risk context Mahanadi
Intensive hydrological regulation for
flood mitigation and irrigation:
Structures impede flow to & from the rivers
Siltation of drainage channels and wetlands
Poor drainage conditions
Delta declined and 32% area of wetlands lost
Waterlogging, declined agricultural productivity, diseases
• Approaches failed to recognize value of natural flows and floods
• Survey shows villagers want to live with the flows and floods for
natural fertilization, and higher fish productivity
Improve management of natural capital
Goal: Flood risk reduction recognizes
value of natural flows and floods
• Restore water bodies (e.g. ponds), to ensure
• Restore hydrological connectivity (drainage
channels), to reduce area under waterlogging
• Plant vegetative buffers, to control soil
erosion from river banks
• Restore mangrove belts, to create coastal
• Allign cropping pattern with high/low flows
Diversify livelihood options
Goal: Promote more sustainable
• Water hyacinth based micro-enterprises
• Dry fish preparation
Goal: Enhance community
• Availability of family survival kits
• Community grain and seed banks
• Safe drinking water, sanitation and shelter
• Establishment of ‘task forces’ & ‘early
warning’ at village level
Goal: community self-management
• Water resource management
• Sustainable agriculture
• Sustainable livelihoods
• Search, rescue and first aid
• Market linkages
Goal: more resilient institutions:
• Formation of Village DRR committees
• Leverage village development funds
for building community resilience.
• Integrate ecosystem based DRR plans
into local municipality plans for
sustainability of interventions
• Increase effectiveness of local
authorities (Pani Panchayats)
Strong engagement and contributions of government.
• Role of ‘ecosystems as natural infrastructure’ in local water
management decision, and extension of wetland management to
• Government: €3,3 mln: implementation of clustered DRR plans
• Dialogue with state and coastal zone management to address
downstream water needs and DRR in Hirakud & Rengali Dam
Partners for Resilience India
Link to YouTube Link to local file
Incorporate ecoystem based approaches in
your DRR plans and programmes
For more information about our project
in India: email@example.com
Head of programme: