Worldwide, natural disasters such as flooding, tsunamis and storm surges are increasingly affecting the lives of coastal communities. Human-induced climate change has been identified as the leading cause of increase in natural disasters occurrences and this phenomenon is further exacerbated by development. Leaving many coastal communities increasingly vulnerable to the risk of natural hazards.
Population growth and settlement along the coasts has lead to the development of hard structures like dams and sea walls to shelter communities and protect infrastructure. The building of hard structures are often costly and requires high maintenance costs and are found to be ineffective against today’s natural hazards. Also, it is found that changes to the environment triggers a chain effect which affects natural processes, resulting in the loss of natural ecosystems such as wetlands, their biodiversity, functions and services.
For example, seawalls may trigger large scale erosion, both on-site and further down the coast due to interference with sea currents and sediment flows. Such infrastructures are often too expensive to serve rural coastlines, are incapable of adapting to climate change and fail to provide the vital economic, environmental and social services that healthy wetlands provide.
Using the Building with Nature approach, we aim to catalyse a fundamental shift in coastal and delta planning: from a single sided infrastructure based approach, towards one that combines infrastructure development, ecosystem development and broader land-use planning. This allows the reintegration of wetlands in the landscape, and enables the provision of their coastal protection services as well as co-benefits such as fisheries provision, recreational values, and carbon storage.
Our aim is to scale up Building with Nature approaches and techniques in other areas, including in urban areas. We therefore promote wider application and link them to policies and plans, driving increased investment in nature-based solutions.
Find out more about Building with Nature.