May 25, 2023

G20 Side Event: Increasing application of Ecosystem-based Approaches to Disaster Risk Reduction

  • 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Background and Context:

Over the last 20 years, the number of disasters has doubled, driven by climate change and increasing environmental degradation. Between 2000 and 2019, at least 1.4 billion people have been affected by droughts and 1.6 billion by floods. Losses are also felt by G20 countries. For instance, the monsoon floods in India caused $US 4.3 billion economic loss, China $US 5 billion due to flood, USA $US 100 billion due to Hurricane Ian, and Australia’s flood caused $US 6.6 billion to name a few (“Publications | EM-DAT”). At the same time, the cascading and compounding effects of risks are gaining greater attention as the understanding of interconnected systems that underpin social resilience, including food, water, health, social justice, the economy, and financial markets is increasing.

The state of Nature affects the exposure, vulnerability, and coping capacity of those at risk, and thus plays an important role in minimising the extent and impact of disasters. Yet, contemporary governance approaches, livelihood, and market patterns tend to degrade ecosystems and their services, driving a cycle of environmental degradation and biodiversity loss in increasingly tightly linked socio-ecological systems, with implications for global levels of systemic disaster risk.

Disaster resilience, especially in the context of building disaster and climate-resilient infrastructure embracing Nature-based Solutions (NbS) and hybrid approaches is vital for G20 countries to adapt and recover from hazards without compromising long-term prospects of development. G20 countries along with other UN Member States have already committed in the Bali Leaders’ Declaration to “step up efforts to halt and reverse biodiversity loss, including through NbS and Ecosystem-based Approaches”, including in addressing disaster risks and restoring ecosystems.

Although, Ecosystem-based Approaches for disaster risk reduction (Eco-DRR) have been practiced in numerous countries for the past decade, more recently the focus of the international discourse has shifted to questions around governance, safeguards and how to scale-up such approaches. This is particularly the case in intergovernmental processes, where the role of NbS, including Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) and Eco-DRR, has increasingly gained traction as one effective option to reduce disaster risks, build resilience to climate change and simultaneously provide human well-being, ecosystem services and biodiversity benefits. Yet more needs to be done to deepen synergies and enhance cooperation across international agendas and processes, increase investments in NbS, and address risks in an integrated manner across sectors, scales and levels of governance by applying an all-of-society approach.

Eco-DRR offers an opportunity for linking policymaking and governance approaches in the areas of disaster risk reduction, biodiversity, climate change, and policy areas related to the SDGs, providing multiple environmental, social and economic benefits. This makes NbS and more specifically Eco-DRR an attractive contributor to addressing the systemic risk challenges of our time.


  • Provide an overview of current trends, challenges and opportunities related to the increased application of Eco-DRR, including opportunities to accelerate the implementation of the Sendai Framework and Agenda 2030.
  • Showcase national good practices focusing on high risk and high impact sectors that have placed systemic risk approaches at the centre. The sectors include water, food, land use, infrastructure (including hybrid models), and urban.
  • Offer a forum for intergenerational dialogue highlighting the role of local communities and people at risk, including actions by local authorities, women, youth, children and Indigenous Peoples.
  • Identity transformative pathways for increased investments in and financing of NbS.
  • Key Outcomes:

    (1) G20 Members have a shared understanding of key opportunities and governance challenges for increasing the application of Eco-DRR.
    (2) G20 Members are informed of good practises as available across the world with a particular focus on high impact sectors.
    (3) G20 Members are presented with diverse perspectives through an intergenerational dialogue.
    (4) A set of recommendations for the consideration by the G20 DRR working group based on identification of transformative pathways.


    More information here

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