Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. We have to act quickly to help people adapt now.
Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) — the conservation, sustainable management and restoration of natural ecosystems to help people adapt to climate change — is receiving growing attention for its great potential to reduce people’s vulnerability to a range of climate change impacts and provide significant co-benefits for biodiversity and people, especially those most vulnerable to climate change.
Conduct vulnerability assessments
Vulnerability assessments are a key element of a successful adaptation strategy. They identify the likely impacts of climate change and the consequences of those impacts on human populations, ecosystems and ecosystem services — such as fresh water, coastal protection and crop pollination. The assessments help identify which impacts need to be targeted first and which EbA actions are most important for addressing them.
Implement and assess EbA strategies
Conservation International carries out EbA pilot projects that implement the recommendations of vulnerability assessments. Project sites are selected based on assessment results, socio-political issues and partnerships between key players. Tracking and monitoring are essential for assessing the costs, effectiveness, co-benefits and impacts of EbA actions on communities and biodiversity. Throughout the process, Conservation International helps build EbA capacity of key local scientists, community organizations and policymakers.
Results of pilot projects, in terms of their costs, effectiveness and co-benefits, help shape regional and national climate change adaptation policies by demonstrating the feasibility of EbA actions compared with other adaptation activities. Through engagement with international policy forums, lessons from our experiences are also informing global dialogue on EbA, influencing how standards are developed and how EbA is implemented worldwide.
For decades, Conservation International has been working to develop methods and best practices that influence global policy decisions and local resource management using an ecosystem-based approach. Taking lessons from these experiences, we have now combined them with climate science to more explicitly target adaptation outcomes. We not only generate results at project sites, but we use the experiences to benefit EbA efforts in the region and around the globe, integrating lessons learned into national policy and international fora, such as the UNFCCC.
© Oscar Gutierrez
© Olivier Langrand
© CI/photo by Haroldo Castro