planning and to disasterreduction strategies as to day today coastal management issues,such as local planning and beachmanagement.Once disaster has struck, themanagement landscape, as well asthe real one, has changed.Disaster
necessarily focuseson human suffering. Disaster
provides the opportunityto ‘build back better’ as UNspecial envoy Bill Clintondeclared after visiting tsunami-hitareas in 2005. However,theIndian Ocean experience showsthat without a special effort, theopportunity to reduce future riskand to provide environmentalbenefit will always be lost toshort-termsocial and economicpriorities.
As you read this issue of
,it will be two years since the IndianOcean tsunami wreaked havoc on Boxing Day 2004. The devastation ofcoastal communities throughout India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailandwas unprecedented in recent history, causing huge loss of life and bringingsocial, environmental and economic catastrophe for millions.
It is the value of strategicplanning, using robust processand good science, that isparamount if the mistakes of thepast are not to be repeated. Let ushope that the spate of large-scaledisasters that have occurred in thepast two years, and theirconsequent human suffering, willhelp us learn from our mistakesand do better in the future.
Alex Midlen,Strategic Director
Natural disasters are, by their verynature, unpredictable, and can hitus at any time. Such disasters havetwo facets. The
event,which is a part of the normalfunctioning of our planet – part of the cycle of life, and not of itself aproblem. In contrast, thereis theconcept of
,apurelyhuman concept. Wechoose to liveand build in high risk areas,seemingly oblivious to nature’snatural pattern.This contrast between naturalprocess and society is at the coreof coastal management. And becauseof this, the processes that we applyin coastal management, thevarious tools of integration,partnership working, communityengagement, understanding thescience of coastal process, shouldbeapplied as much to emergency