Nature-Based Resilience: Experiences of Five Cities from South Asia

Mahua Mukherjee, Deepthi Wickramasinghe, Imon Chowdhooree, Chimi Chimi, Shobha Poudel, Bhogendra Mishra, Zainab Faruqui Ali, Rajib Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

As in many other parts of the world, the urban areas of the South Asian region are increasingly expanding. While cities today are the heart of commercial, technological and social development, they are also vulnerable to a variety of natural and anthropogenic threats. The complex urban infrastructure, and the ever-expanding population in cities, exacerbate the impacts of climate change and increase the risk of natural hazards. Throughout history, various hydrological disasters including floods, tidal surges, and droughts, and non-hydrological disasters such as earthquakes, landslides, and storms have led to catastrophic social, economic and environmental impacts in numerous South Asian cities. Disaster risk reduction is therefore central to ensure sustainability in urban areas. Although Nature-based Solutions (NbS) are identified as a promising strategy to reduce risk and increase resilience, there appears to be a lack of evidence-based approaches. NbS are measures that can be practiced to obtain benefits of nature for the environmental and community development through conserving, managing, and restoring ecosystems. Against this backdrop, the South Asian cities provide opportunities to evaluate capacities for achieving Nature-based Resilience (NbR) through NbS. This study documents insights from five cities of five different countries of the South Asian region which are subjected to a wide array of disasters: Barishal (Bangladesh), Phuentsholing (Bhutan), Gurugram (India), Kathmandu (Nepal), and Colombo (Sri Lanka). The primary objective of this study is to provide evidence on how NbS are being practiced. Thus, some success stories in cities under consideration are highlighted: restoration of natural canals through integrated development plans and community participation (Barishal), concepts of Gross National Happiness (GNH) and minimal nature interventions (Phuentsholing), “Greening cities’’ including eco-corridors, vegetation belts, biodiversity parks (Gurugram), proper land use planning aims at different disasters (Kathmandu), and wetland restoration and management with multiple benefits (Colombo). These cases could therefore, act as a “proxy” for learning from each other to prepare for and recover from future disasters while building NbR.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11846
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume19
Issue number19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Oct

Keywords

  • cities
  • comparative study
  • Nature-based Resilience (NbR)
  • Nature-based Solutions (NbS)
  • South Asia
  • urban disaster risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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