IFRC, WWF call for global action to protect nature to save lives and address climate crisis

Posted on 03 June 2022

A new report shows that nature-based solutions could reduce the intensity of climate and weather-related hazards by a staggering 26 per cent, in a world where over 3.3 billion people live in places that are highly vulnerable to climate change.
STOCKHOLM, Sweden (2 June 2022) - The study from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and WWF highlights how the power of nature to protect people is being overlooked.

The report, “Working with Nature to Protect People: How Nature-based Solutions Reduce Climate Change and Weather-Related Disasters” shows how nature-based solutions can reduce the likelihood of climate change and weather-related events occurring. It sets out how lives can be saved by working with nature-based solutions to prevent exposure to these hazards and support vulnerable communities in adapting to and withstanding the dangers of a warming world. For the first time, the analysis from IFRC and WWF shows that these solutions could provide developing countries with valuable protection against the economic cost of climate change, saving at least US$ 104 billion in 2030 and US$ 393 billion in 2050.
Communities in every region of the world are already experiencing worsening and increasing impacts of climate change, with vulnerable people in low resource countries the hardest hit, and women and children often the most exposed. From 2010 to 2019 alone, sudden-onset climate change and weather-related disasters killed more than 410,000 people.
Jagan Chapagain, IFRC Secretary General said: “The climate crisis is driving multiple humanitarian crises around the world. Its impact on the lives and livelihoods of millions of people is intensifying. Greening nature; restoring forests, farmlands and wetlands are some of the best and most cost-effective ways to support vulnerable communities to adapt to risks and impacts they already face. Protecting nature will protect people.”
Marco Lambertini, Director-General of WWF, said: “Let’s be clear. If we don’t urgently scale up efforts to limit the impacts of a warming world, more lives will be lost, and economies and livelihoods affected. Nature is our greatest ally and also a crucial buffer against climate change. By restoring and protecting it, we can help ecosystems build resilience and continue to provide crucial services to humanity and in particular to the more vulnerable communities.

“Nature-based solutions play a key role in addressing climate change, but the potential benefits of these solutions drop as the global temperature rises - which is why every moment and decision matters to cut emissions and give us the best chance to build a safer and more equitable future.”
Examples of effective nature-based solutions that address climate change include:
  • Conserving forests to restore degraded land, provide food, guard against droughts and protect communities from strong winds.
  • Restoring healthy floodplains and wetlands to reduce the impact of floods and promote sustainable agriculture to protect against droughts.
  • Restoring mangroves and coral reefs to provide a protective barrier from storms, soak up planet-warming carbon dioxide and provide food for local communities and habitats for marine life. 
WWF-Viet Nam and its partners have supported and promoted nature-based bankable projects at large scale as part of their work on climate solutions. 
In the Mekong Delta, WWF and DFCD is working with Minh Phu Seafood Corporation, Viet Nam’s largest shrimp exporter, to implement the shrimp and organic rice rotation model. Through techniques of water exchange and probiotics combination, the model accelerates natural feed and sedimentation, which has been shown to adapt to climate change, reduce disaster risk, maintain and improve natural ecosystems and improve income and livelihood. Farmers, an important actor of the model, are expected to double their shrimp production and gain more overall income from their farms, especially once they can start receiving higher premiums for organic rice. The project will initially transform 110 hectares of rice and shrimp rotation farming, however, the ambition is to scale up this solution to cover 30,000 hectares by 2028 – the level where it can create positive impacts to vulnerable communities across the delta. It is estimated that up to 200,000 hectares of the landscape could benefit from this approach. 
Nature is our greatest ally and also a crucial buffer against climate change.
© WWF-Malaysia / Mazidi Abd Ghani