Réseau universitaire international de Genève
Geneva International Academic Network

Français | English
Homepage > News > Description

Small Grant Approved: Strengthening Decision-Making Tools for Disaster Risk Reduction – 21.08.06

GIAN Approves Funding for a Comparative Case Study from Northern Pakistan

A project coordinated by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in collaboration with the Graduate Institute of Development Studies (GIDS), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP/GRID-Europe) and the Faculty of Geosciences and Environment of the University of Lausanne (UNIL-GSE) has just been awarded SFr 48,900 by the Geneva International Academic Network (GIAN).

Risks due to natural disasters are increasing, especially in densely populated coastal areas and mountainous regions. Natural disasters create humanitarian emergencies and negatively impact poverty alleviation efforts. In mountainous area, empirical evidence points to a correlation between human activities and landslides. Proper management of natural resources, especially forest slopes and natural barriers, can significantly reduce landslides and flooding. Nonetheless, natural resource management is often neglected in disaster risk reduction strategies, and local awareness about its protective role varies greatly.

The goal of this interdisciplinary study is to better understand the land use factors that increase the vulnerability of mountain areas in northern Pakistan. The study will identify and analyse the damages and losses caused by the October 2005 earthquake in two areas of the same valley: one "low-risk" watershed with sound natural resource management, the other, "high-risk" in an ecologically degraded watershed. Secondly, the study will examine natural and man-made causes of secondary hazards in the two areas, especially landslides; and thirdly it will evaluate the cost of the earthquake damage in the study areas on the livelihoods of local communities and the sub-regional economy.

The expected outcomes of the project include: understanding possible links between management of natural resources and the exacerbation of impacts resulting from natural disasters in mountainous areas; a comparative cost-estimate of earthquake damage in the two study areas; and possibly estimates of the protective role of forest as natural barriers to preventing landslides. An additional outcome will be the training of a GIDS/UNIL-GSE student in disaster risk analysis under the guidance of UNEP/GRID-Europe. This student will have access to experts in the field, state-of-the art technology and will create links between academia and Geneva-based international organisations.

For further information about this project, please contact:

Ms. Karen Sudmeier-Rieux, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), e-mail: krieux@wanadoo.fr .

Related Project(s)

Small Grant - 2006 Disaster risk, livelihoods and natural barriers: strengthening decision-making tools for disaster risk reduction - A comparative case study from northern Pakistan

>See the Project