Building resilience to disasters and conflicts

Moving Asia Pacific towards Resilience

​From 2005 to 2014:

1.4 billion people were affected by disasters in the region, almost 80 per cent of the world’s total.

500,000 people lost their lives to disasters in Asia pacific, nearly 60 per cent of global disaster deaths.

40% of the world’s natural disaster events happened in Asia Pacific.

Asia Pacific is the most disaster-prone region in the world and also home to some of the most fragile and conflict-affected countries in the world. At UN environment, we believe healthy environments with robust ecosystems are the best buffers against natural disasters.  Unfortunately, growth and development has taken a toll on our natural environment and greatly weakened their ability to protect us against these natural hazards. In Asia Pacific, UN Environment works with countries for innovative solutions to prevent and reduce threats caused by natural and man-made disasters.

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What We Do

Disaster Risk Reduction

We support ecosystems-based disaster risk reduction through advocacy, capacity development, partnerships, and field-testing innovative solutions for sustainable and resilient development.

Emergency response

UN Environment deploys technical experts to identify acute environmental risks caused by conflicts, disasters and industrial accidents through the Joint Environment Unit with the Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs.

We also undertake in-depth fieldwork, laboratory analysis and state-of-the-art technology for Post-Disaster Needs Assessments which identify important environmental risks to health, livelihoods and security and provide recommendations to national authorities on how to address them.

  • 2011 Japan Earthquake 
  • 2014 Bangladesh Oil Spill
  • 2010 Bangkok Flood
  • 2015 Nepal Earthquake

Recovery after disasters and conflicts.

We develop tailor-made environmental recovery programmes through field-based project offices to support long-term stability and sustainable development. In Asia Pacific, UN Environment established a field office in Afghanistan that has moved from post-conflict recovery to building environmental resilience and sustainability throughout the country (more below).

Our Work

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Building back Afghanistan

UN Environment has played an active role in laying the environmental foundations for sustainable development in Afghanistan following decades of conflict coupled with drought and earthquakes, which devastated its natural environment.

Today, the UN Environment Afghanistan programme is focused on building environmental resilience and sustainability throughout the country. This involves training and mentoring government counterparts, undertaking flagship demonstration projects, providing technical assistance and advice for environmental coordination, strengthening environmental law and policy, promoting environmental education, raising awareness, undertaking community-based natural resource management, supporting climate change adaption, establishment of protected areas, ecological disaster risk reduction and meeting obligations for multilateral environmental agreements.

Building Climate Change Resilience through Ecosystem and Natural Resource Management.

UN Environment equips governments and key actors with critical knowledge to design climate change adaptation measures and take ecosystems-based adaptation approaches in Nepal, Afghanistan, Cambodia, and Myanmar. We also equip key actors in Asia and the Pacific Region with adequate knowledge for designing and implementing these measures through the Asia Pacific Adaptation Network. 

Myanmar Climate Change Alliance

Myanmar is highly vulnerable to climate change and is placed second globally in terms of vulnerability from extreme weather events. The Myanmar Climate Change Alliance is a joint initiative of UN Environment and UN Habitat which supports Myanmar to mainstream climate change into policy development and the reform agenda in an inclusive and gender responsive manner, as well as implement on-the-ground adaptation activities. The support provided by the initiative has led to the formulation of the 15-year Myanmar Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan and National Climate Change Policy.