National consultation workshop on Wetlands Conservation as Nature-based Solutions (NbS) for Reducing Disaster Risks

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National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) in collaboration with Wetlands International South Asia (WISA) organised a national consultation workshop in New Delhi on September 12 and 13, 2022 for representatives of State Disaster Management Authorities and State Wetlands Authorities to facilitate integration of wetlands conservation and Nature-based Solutions (NbS) within disaster management plans. The workshop involved discussions on the following:

  • Understanding degradation of wetlands as a driver of disaster risks.
  • Understanding the relevance of Nature-based Solutions for disaster management.
  • Identifying opportunities and challenges for integration of NbS in disaster management

Mr. Kunal Satyarthi, IFS (Joint Secretary, National Disaster Management Authority, MHA), the keynote speaker highlighted the need for building cross-sectoral convergence to effectively manage disaster risks. The need of strengthening capacities of disaster management professionals in understanding and careful application of wetlands conservation and other NbS for reducing disaster risks was accentuated. Mr Taj Hasan, Executive Director of National Institute of Disaster Management stressed upon using nature’s own components and functions as NbS for addressing the fury of natural hazards. He emphasised on the role of safeguarding nature and its resources in prevention and recovery stages of disaster management. Dr Ritesh Kumar, Director at Wetlands International South Asia stressed upon the relation of wetlands degradation and water-related disaster risks in India with recent examples from Bangalore and Chennai. He encouraged the disaster and wetland managers to further the use of wetlands functions and NbS in disaster management through dialogue and collaborative actions. Lastly, Prof Anil Kumar Gupta, Head of Division of Environment, Climate change & Disaster Risk Management at NIDM appreciated the fact that NbS are socially acceptable and economically viable solutions which need to be mainstreamed in developmental plans.

Furthermore, a guidance manual on Nature-based Solutions for disaster management professionals was released by the workshop dignitaries to support integration of NbS in state and district level disaster management plans. The guidance manual is co-authored by Wetlands International South Asia and National Institute of Disaster Management.

To effectively manage disaster risks, experts laid emphasis on following aspects:

  • Improving the spatial resolution of the disaster risk map
  • Disaster specific NbS needs to be documented and shared with SDMA to strengthen the state and district level plans.
  • SOP on roles and responsibilities of line departments in various stages of disaster management needs to be produced.
  • Gender equity and due participation of local community members in NbS for disaster management is important.
  • The guidelines to be produced in local language to foster participation of panchayats and village level authorities.
  • Handholding support to SDMA on planning and implementation of NbS is needed.

The workshop concluded with a vote of thanks.