The UN’s International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction "is an opportunity to acknowledge the progress being made towards reducing disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods, and health". In 2021, this day is focused on "International cooperation for developing countries to reduce their disaster risk and disaster losses". Natural disasters impact low- and middle-income countries disproportionally in both mortality and damage to economies and infrastructure.
In April this year, the EIANZ released its position statement on ‘Environmental Practice and Natural Disaster Resilience.’ Across the globe, environmental practice is recognised as one discipline in a coordinated approach to support our communities, economies and environments to be natural disaster resilient. Given the current status and likely increase in the effects of natural disasters, much more coordinated planning, mitigation and recovery is required to build resilience to natural disasters both now and into the future.
The EIANZ has identified three key themes, adapted from the internationally adopted Sendai Framework, for action by the environmental profession:
- Ensuring that the right data and information are available in a useable format by providing transparent data and information to determine natural disaster hazard (from bushfires, storms, earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones, floods, etc.) and to understand the exposure, vulnerabilities and post impact assessment of communities, infrastructure, habitats and natural assets.
- Collaborating with other disciplines, while learning from our past, to guide the way we deliver natural disaster resilience using a “convergence of solutions” philosophy and applying multidisciplinary approaches to delivering multi-objective outcomes.
- Improving the understanding, application and management of natural resources and the way environmental and landscape management are considered in preparing for, preventing, responding to, and recovering from natural disasters.
The ravages of bushfires, drought and floods have had a significant impact on our communities and ecosystems. These last few years have been deeply challenging and marked by tragedy and loss. The impact of climate change can feel overwhelming, with ecosystems threatened, declining biodiversity and increasingly severe weather events. However, as environmental practitioners, we can use our expertise to enact meaningful change, assisting in recovery and planning for disaster, while striving for a safer and more sustainable future.
Accompanying the EIANZ position statement are resources on disaster resilience, including suggested actions for environmental practitioners.
VIEW THE POSITION STATEMENT AND ACCOMPANYING RESOURCES HERE
The EIANZ is a not-for-profit, professional association for environmental practitioners from across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. The Institute has a certification scheme that recognises ethical and professional practice which assures government, industry and the community of a practitioner’s professional standing. Our members are drawn from all areas of environmental practice, and includes practitioners with industry, government, community and academic careers.