Mainstreaming ecosystem-based adaptation
Title: Mainstreaming EbA – Strengthening ecosystem-based adaptation in planning and decision-making processes
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) as part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI)
Lead executing agencies: Mexico: Ministry of Environment (SEMARNAT), National Commission for Protected 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 2018
Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) is the term used to designate measures designed to strengthen the population’s ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change through the sustainable use and preservation of ecosystems. EbA is increasingly being incorporated into national climate policies and the international climate debate as a viable yet to date largely under-utilised strategy for adapting to climate change. At the same time, calls for the integration of adaptation measures into existing planning and decision-making processes at various levels are heard again and again, with a view to better management of climate risks in the sensitive sectors in the partner countries.
Against this background, mainstreaming EbA measures in existing adaptation processes in the partner countries – as an alternative to separate projects and programmes – is a highly promising approach. Despite a number of demonstrable cases in which significant success has been achieved with EbA, current practice still focuses on planning and implementing ‘grey’ infrastructure solutions (for example concrete walls and dykes). Reasons for this include a lack of transferable and user-friendly concepts, methodologies and instruments for mainstreaming adaptation and integrating EbA. Moreover, individuals and organisations at local, regional and national level do not yet have the necessary knowledge and resources to make key decisions relevant to adaptation. Often, those responsible are not familiar with EbA alternatives to ‘grey’ infrastructure or are unable to assess these options adequately. Although more and more projects deal with adaptation mainstreaming and EbA-related issues, there is currently no systematic exchange between the parties concerned.
In planning and decision-making processes, key actors working in the field of climate change adaptation increasingly use methodological approaches and tried-and-tested instruments for mainstreaming adaptation. A particular focus here is on EbA measures.
The project’s target group consists of decision-makers concerned with adaptation issues at national level and in international climate negotiations, as well as other relevant parties, including the international expert community. The project provides policy advisory services, capacity building and supports the development of networks and partnerships.
In the partner countries the project collates and refines transferable concepts and methodologies as well as quality and training criteria for ecosystem-based adaptation. It systematically documents the economic, social and environmental benefits of selected EbA measures as compared with ‘grey’ infrastructure measures, and further develops comparative assessment procedures.
In conjunction with ongoing activities on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), the project develops instruments and methodologies geared to the mainstreaming and strengthening of EbA on a needs-oriented basis. This entails compiling and evaluating experience gained with a view to improving and further developing the products. In addition, the project devises formats to develop the capacities of decision-makers.
A community of practice involving various exchange formats (including online platforms and on-site workshops) facilitates the sharing of knowledge and lessons learned with respect to EbA mainstreaming. This is available to the wider expert community and key individuals engaged in international climate and biodiversity negotiations.
GIZ is working with international cooperation partners to implement this global project. These include the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).