Ecosystems and engineers unite against disaster risk

UN Photo 2011 Mark Garten

On 14-16 June 2016 the Partnership for Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction (PEDRR) held a workshop in Bonn on the UN campus. The workshop brought together engineers, ecologists, Eco-DRR experts, and policy makers with the aim to accelerate and scale up collaboration between these communities and encourage more hybrid approaches. Claire Jeuken from Ecoshape participated in the workshop.

Pilot projects are already being implemented that integrate nature and engineering. For example, the Building with Nature program in the Netherlands, led by the EcoShape foundation, conducts case studies and pilot projects on hybrid and soft approaches to water management. “We implement pilot projects in the fields and then we monitor and learn from these projects. We aim to understand ecosystem functioning and how it can be integrated into engineering guidelines and realized in existing administrative frameworks,” says Claire Jeuken, program manager at Building with Nature.

“Workshops such as these are crucial because it is important to create a common language between different disciplines”, says Christine Moos, a scientific collaborator focusing on rock falls and protection forests at the Bern University of Applied Science. “There are participants here from social science, policy, and engineering. It can be hard to understand each other. This workshop helps to bridge these barriers so that we can come to a place of common understanding. Only then can we work together.”