Using ecosystems for adaptation to climate change

Project description

Title: Mainstreaming EbA – strengthening ecosystem-based adaptation in planning and decision-making processes
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), through the International Climate Initiative (IKI)
Country: Global
Lead executing agencies: Mexico: Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (CONANP); Peru: Ministry of Environment (MINAM), Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF); Philippines: National Climate Change Commission (NCCC); South Africa: Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA); Viet Nam: Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE)
Overall term: 2015 to 2022



Ecosystem-based adaptation measures (EbA) aim to support people in adapting to climate change with the help of healthy ecosystems. To achieve this, ecosystems are conserved, restored and used sustainably.
Despite significant success and positive examples of ecosystem-based adaptation, in global practice, it is still predominantly ‘grey’ infrastructural measures, such as dams, that are planned and implemented. One of the reasons is the lack of transferable and user-friendly strategies, methods and instruments for mainstreaming the topic in key decisions and processes. 

Many adaptation stakeholders are unfamiliar with the EbA alternatives to grey infrastructure, or are unable to assess them sufficiently. Contributing factors are the fact that knowledge on promising approaches is hard to access and the current lack of dialogue platforms.


Key stakeholders are using tried and tested EbA instruments and solutions for domestic and international planning and implementation measures in the climate and environmental sector. EbA is part of a holistic strategy for adapting to climate change.


Together with international projects, the project develops instruments and methods to standardise EbA measures and make them usable for others. 

The participants gather lessons learned from applying the instruments and methods in addition to scientific information and prepare them for relevant studies for the global EbA community. 

In cooperation with partners, the project also develops transferable ecosystem-based adaptation strategies and methods. Needs-based training and seminars enhance participants' skills. Using a learning and knowledge network, the project pools experience in implementing, mainstreaming and disseminating EbA in various contexts. The information will be made available to the general professional public and to the key players who will be involved in the exchange.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is working together with numerous international organisations to implement the project worldwide. These include the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), the United Nations Environment Programme and the United Nations University – Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS).



The project helped to anchor EbA in international politics and other relevant sectors, for example in cooperation with various United Nations (UN) institutions such as the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Partnership for Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction (PEDRR). 

A global knowledge network has been founded: the International EbA Community of Practice (CoP). It already has over 300 members from more than 30 countries and 14 international organisations. It is promoting EbA and its dissemination and mainstreaming in policy and practice worldwide. This has enabled the mainstreaming of the approach in international UNFCCC and CBD negotiations and the establishment of national CoPs.

The project is supporting projects worldwide and reaches a broad target group of project participants, decision-makers and planners. It compiles the various approaches and develops publications, training courses, workshops and webinars on a wide range of relevant topics. This helps many actors in planning and implementing projects, in providing policy-making advice and therefore in mainstreaming EbA in the respective countries and at international level.