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River Partners: helping communities to reduce flood risk

Ecosystem-based Disaster Risk Reduction - or ‘Eco-DRR’ - is a powerful tool. Costing relatively little, it can work to reduce the risks of flooding and soil erosion, improve drinking water and generate income.


UN Environment’s newly released interactive case study shows this, documenting the lessons learned from applying Eco-DRR in the Lukaya River Basin in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The case study, ‘River Partners: Applying Eco-DRR in integrated water resource management (IWRM) in the Lukaya Basin in the DR Congo,’ features human-interest stories, reflections from project partners, as well as short videos (also available here), providing the reader with first-hand experience of the context, and project activities and impacts.


In partnership with the national government, the Lukaya River Users Association and other local partners, the Eco-DRR project aimed to reduce flood and gully erosion risks and support community livelihoods, by applying an Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) approach. The Lukaya River basin is located in the outskirts of DRC’s capital Kinshasa and supplies drinking water to over 400,000 people.


The overall success of the approach was shown by the strong community up-take of the interventions, such as agroforestry and planting vetiver grass. Benefits of these include soil stabilization, flood and gully erosion risk reduction, as well as boosted agricultural yields and household incomes.


The case study also sheds light on how enhanced national awareness of the importance of Eco-DRR and IWRM has resulted in a stronger national advocacy agenda on both water resource governance and disaster risk reduction. This has led to further visibility in various regional and global fora.


The report draws on a pilot demonstration project, implemented by UN Environment from 2013 to 2016, with support from the European Commission.


Find out more about UN Environment’s work in the area of Ecosystem-based Disaster Risk Reduction here or contact

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