Solutions in Focus: Key Themes for Ecosystem-based Adaptation
Healthy ecosystems are essential for human well-being and development. People worldwide depend on their services, such as provision of fertile soil, clean water and food as well as extreme event buffering and climate regulation. Ecosystems are essential for protecting our climate and adapting to climate change.
Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) means using biodiversity and services provided by ecosystems to help people adapt to the effects of climate change. It builds on healthy ecosystems, and thus requires managing the ecosystems for their long-term benefits. EbA is a holistic approach within land- and seascapes and applies to many sectors such as agriculture, forestry, tourism, city planning and water management. It involves a range of approaches for the sustainable management, conservation, and restoration of ecosystems, such as the protection of peatlands as natural water storages for buffering increasing amounts of sudden rainfall or the restoration of mangroves that act as natural barriers against storms and floods in coastal regions.
EbA measures play an increasingly important role in the context of climate change adaptation strategies. They complement or even substitute purely technological infrastructure approaches. They tend to offer economic, social and ecological co-benefits and opportunities for the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions as well as biodiversity conservation, disaster risk reduction and prevention of desertification.
This publication intends to inspire policy- and decision-makers as well as practitioners by showcasing a selection of solutions that have been applied in very different settings and focusing on key aspects and themes that are important for the longevity of EbA. It shows that EbA has ‘many faces’: it is being implemented successfully in a broad range of countries and ecosystems and it is driven forward by all kinds of people and organisations. At the same time, the publication makes clear that in order for EbA to be sustainable, projects need to consider cross-cutting topics such as governance and gender; they need to ensure and come up with long-term financing mechanisms and need to aim for the mainstreaming of EbA into other fields such as agriculture and urban contexts.
EbA solutions are applied examples of successful processes or approaches to solve a specific challenge related to climate change. They address current and future climate change impacts (e.g., floods, droughts, storms, sea level rise, melting of glaciers) on human wellbeing through the sustainable management of ecosystems and the services they provide — with a proven impact. A solution usually consists of a combination of building blocks. Building blocks (BB) are key elements of a solution, such as instruments, tools, approaches, partnerships or processes. They determine the solution’s success and can potentially be adapted and/or recombined with other building blocks to address specific challenges in different sociocultural, ecological, political or economic contexts, sectors, or geographies.
The Global Project “Mainstreaming EbA” has been established to strengthen the ability of decision-makers at international, national and local levels to mainstream Ecosystem-based Adaptation into policy and planning processes. The project offers systematic exchange of knowledge and experiences between governments, institutions, technical experts and practitioners, and communicates lessons learnt to climate negotiators and a wider international community of practice. In this context, it supports the compilation of EbA good practices by following the ‘solutioning’ approach. The project is funded by the Division International Climate Initiative (IKI) and is being implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.
PANORAMA - Solutions for a Healthy Planet is a partnership initiative to document and promote examples of inspiring, replicable solutions across a range of conservation and sustainable development topics, enabling cross-sectoral learning and inspiration. PANORAMA allows practitioners to share and reflect on their stories, increase recognition for successful work, and learn together with their peers how similar challenges have been addressed around the globe. Different communities contribute to PANORAMA. On the web platform, these communities are currently represented through Conservation Areas, Blue (Marine and Coastal), Agriculture and Biodiversity, Species Conservation, One Health, Business Engagement, Restoration, Cities, Nature-Culture and Ecosystem-based Adaptation solutions.
GIZ (2022). Solutions in Focus - Key Themes for Ecosystem-based Adaptation. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Bonn, Germany.