The United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) is located in Bonn, Germany. UNU-EHS addresses risk and vulnerability aspects of human security and the consequences of complex environmental hazards for sustainable development. The work of UNU-EHS helps to improve the in-depth understanding of the cause - effect relationships to find ways to reduce risks and vulnerabilities.
The Institute aims at scientific excellence in two broad thematic areas: Vulnerability assessment, resilience analysis, risk management and adaptation strategies within linked human-environment systems; and internal displacement and transboundary migration due to environmental push-factors.
Research projects of UNU-EHS focus on flood plains, deltas and coastal zones, with emphasis on urban agglomerations. The Institute supports policymakers and decision makers with evidence-based research and information.
UNU-EHS is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Ministry of Science and Research of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, both dedicated to promoting sustainable development and advancing human security.
Disaster Reduction Goal
The Institute spearheads UNU's research and capacity development activities in the broad interdisciplinary field of risk and vulnerability including knowledge-based adaptation and resilience strategies.
UNU-EHS addresses the risk and vulnerability aspects of human security and the consequences of complex environmental hazards for sustainable development.
The work of UNU-EHS helps to improve the in-depth understanding of the cause-effect relationships to find ways to reduce risks and vulnerabilities. The Institute supports policymakers and decision makers with evidence-based research and information.
Making disaster risk reduction a policy priority, institutional strengthening (HFA 1)
Research areas, such as environmentally forced migration and vulnerability and resilience assessment related to disaster risk reduction, are highly relevant to the United Nations system, the international scientific community and to political agendas. The research and its science-based approaches create opportunities to link policymakers with outstanding, applied academic research.
Risk assessment and early warning systems (HFA 2)
Research in Africa, Asia and Europe on vulnerability, resilience and risk assessment. The work consists in developing new assessment concepts and frameworks as well as assessing risks to environmental hazards.
Education, information and public awareness (HFA 3)
Joint International MSc Programme "Geography of Environmental Risks and Human Security". The joint international MSc Programme developed by the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) and the University of Bonn will start in October 2013. The main purpose of the MSc Programme is to educate students on how to investigate and manage various resources related to environmental hazards by implementing science-based principles and methodologies in disaster risk management.
UNU-EHS PhD Block Courses: From Vulnerability to Resilience in Disaster Risk Management. The UNU-EHS PhD Block Courses highlight the complexity and importance of vulnerability and resilience in disaster risk management. They are offered every year in collaboration with the University of Bonn; Germany, as well as with the Disaster Management Training and Education Centre for Africa (DiMTEC), University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa. The courses are designed for postgraduate candidates in the early stages of PhD research (or about to begin PhD studies) and advanced Master’s degree students.
West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL) Graduate Research Programme. Starting in 2013, UNU-EHS is contributing to the WASCAL Graduate Research Programme which is supporting and facilitating academic education amongst West African universities in association with German counterpart institutions. Out of a total of nine different PhD and Master programmes UNU-EHS actively supports the following programmes: Climate Change and Human Security (University of Lomé, Togo); Climate Change and Education (University of The Gambia, Serrekunda, Gambia).
Reducing underlying risk factors (HFA 4)
The Climate Risk Adaptation and Insurance in the Caribbean project led by the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII), in St. Lucia and Jamaica, implements parametric insurance products for people in the low income sector to help them cope with losses to their livelihoods caused by excess rain and heavy winds.
UNU-EHS contributes scientific knowledge and capacity development modules as part of the Partnership for Ecosystems and Disaster Risk Reduction (PEDRR).
Preparedness for effective response (HFA 5)
Investigates the teaching – research nexus to enhance the research training of the Institute. UNU-EHS develops open educational resources on vulnerability and risk for sharing with educators, students and self-learners to use, reuse and adapt them in teaching, learning and research.
UNU-EHS is actively involved in a series of collaborative
research projects working on:
•detailed vulnerability assessment of communities and
systems exposed to hazards such as floods, sea level
rise and droughts, but also peoples facing groundwater
degradation problems in Africa and Asia;
•technical and institutional policy relevant solutions
addressing land degradation issues in Central Asia;
•assessment of water quality risks posed to human and
ecosystem health in various countries in Asia;
•human-centred tsunami early warning in Asia;
•reducing vulnerability and risk to strengthen adaptive
governance through urban adaptation strategies;
•links between human security and environmentally-
induced migration in hot spot areas of the world,
including fragile states;
•assessing the evidence on how risk management and
risk transfer approaches can assist in areas affected by