This regional assessment documents experiences on Eco-DRR and its linkages with biodiversity in West and Central Africa. It highlights key entry points and opportunities to catalyse actions for Eco-DRR that embraces the importance of biodiversity and ecosystems.
The current assessment focuses on the following countries in West and Central Africa: Burkina Faso, Togo, Senegal, Mali, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Several hazards especially droughts and floods have been recorded for many decades in the region. The Sahel is the most affected and vulnerable part of the region as it depends on rainfall patterns. The hazards have caused significant damages to people and infrastructure. It is worth noting that most flood-related damages have occurred in areas where natural ecosystems have been destroyed by human settlement and activities.
There is increasing recognition that ecosystems can play an important role in disaster risk reduction. However, these Eco-DRR activities are not well known and implemented in the region. Policies are not integrated and disaster risk management (DRM) strategies do not include ecosystem and biodiversity management schemes, or vice versa. In addition to counting damages, more data should also be collected to better monitor disaster risks and develop and implement preparedness activities.
The assessment recommends the following:
- Regional and national institutions should be strengthened to better plan and implement climatic resilience for both ecosystems and people, and also climate risk management;
- Joint capacity building initiatives for ecosystem, DRM managers and other actors should be implemented in order to help them better understand the links between DRM and ecosystem management;
- Ecosystem managers should collaborate with all stakeholders including researchers, NGOs, communities and decision makers to effectively implement a long-term strategy on resilience, disaster risk reduction that integrate ecosystem and biodiversity aspects;
- Researchers should develop the appropriate tools (including maps) for collecting and analysing data on damages and Eco-DRR to highlight the links between DRM and ecosystem management;
- Government institutions should develop and facilitate the implementation of integrated disaster risk management and environment/ biodiversity conservation management policies.