Mainstreaming EbA – strengthening ecosystem-based adaptation

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), within the framework of 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 2020



Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) describes the sustainable use of ecosystems by the population to adapt to the negative impacts of climate change. The EbA approach is increasingly finding its way into national climate policies and the international climate debate, through the voluntary guidelines for EbA and Eco-DRR, for example, which were adopted at the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 14).

Despite significant success and positive examples of EbA, in practice, however, holistic ‘grey’ infrastructure measures (such as concrete walls or dykes for coastal protection) are still being planned and implemented. The reasons behind this include the lack of transferable, user-friendly concepts and methods and instruments for mainstreaming EbA. In addition, many stakeholders in the field of adaptation do not know of EbA alternatives to ‘grey’ infrastructure or are unable to assess them adequately. It is also the case that learning experiences and success stories are not sufficiently exploited due to a lack of exchange formats.


Key stakeholders working in the field of climate change adaptation use tried-and-tested instruments and solutions for mainstreaming EbA into planning and decision-making processes. These are part of an overall strategy for adaptation to climate change.


The target group of the project consists of decision-makers at national level and in international climate and biodiversity negotiations, as well as other relevant stakeholders, such as the international expert community. The project works in the fields of policy advice, capacity building and the development of networks and partnerships.

The global project develops instruments and methods for mainstreaming EbA together with bilateral projects and development cooperation measures on behalf of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). To this end, experience gained and scientific information are collected and evaluated for the preparation of EbA-relevant studies. Transferable EbA concepts and methods are developed in cooperation with partner projects. The economic, social and ecological advantages of selected EbA measures compared to ‘grey’ infrastructure measures are systematically reviewed. The capacities of decision-makers are also expanded through demand-oriented training and seminars.

A community of practice involving various exchange formats promotes the exchange of EbA mainstreaming experiences, making them available to the wider expert community and to key stakeholders engaged in international climate and biodiversity negotiations.

In order to implement the global project, GIZ cooperates with numerous international organisations such as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) and the United Nations University – Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS).


The focus of the global project is on the exchange of knowledge and experience between EbA project employees worldwide, policy-makers and representatives from the adaptation research community through support for a global community of practice. The knowledge acquired is fed into UN negotiations. Since the start of its activities in 2015, the project has been able to publish numerous knowledge products (e.g. a study series on entry points for EbA) and carry out exchange formats such as webinars and workshops.


Over 180 participants from 35 countries have so far taken part in annual EbA Community of Practice workshops. The workshops led to South-South cooperation between partner countries and to knowledge products and publications in thematic working groups. The online platform PANORAMA contains 103 case studies from more than 47 countries. Further methods derived from projects and initiatives are continuously being collected and processed. The EbA Solutions are accessible to the public at large and have already been accessed by more than 55,500 visitors. 13 webinars also attracted the interest of more than 2,500 viewers.