United Nations University

The United Nations University (UNU) is the academic arm of the United Nations (UN). It bridges the academic world and the UN system. Its goal is to develop sustainable solutions for current and future problems of humankind in all aspects of life. Through a problem-oriented and interdisciplinary approach it aims at applied research and education on a global scale. UNU was founded in 1973 and is an autonomous organ of the UN General Assembly. The University comprises headquarters Tokyo, Japan, and more than a dozen Institutes and Programmes worldwide.


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Working Paper 10/2013: Ecosystems and disaster risk reduction in the context of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami


This new working paper focuses on the perceptions of communities on the role of ecosystems for disaster risk reduction (DRR), particularly in the context of the 3/11 tsunami in Japan. The research was carried out in the region of Sendai over a two month period in July and August 2012. A desk-based study was conducted to review the institutional setup and mechanisms for Japan’s risk reduction, reconstruction and land use planning. It includes insights on the specific policies designed to support ecosystem management in the reconstruction phase and presents key experiences and perspectives of some of the best ‘experts’ on the effects of the 3/11 events on local communities.

Finally, it provides insights on peoples’ experiences of how ecosystems are perceived, understood and how they witnessed the role of ecosystems during the 3/11 events and highlights research gaps, recommendations for further analyses and the valuable lessons Japan is learning.

Working Paper No. 10