Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) uses biodiversity and ecosystem services as part of an overall adaptation strategy to help people to adapt to the negative effects of climate change and to reduce their risk to environmental hazards. In recent years EbA measures have increasingly been recognized for their potential to benefit the inhabitants of at-risk areas, by protecting communities from natural hazards, providing additional co-benefits, such as positive effects on health and well-being (e.g. clean air, increased food provision and nutrition, etc.), additional livelihood opportunities and sources of income (e.g. mangrove forests serving as nursery grounds for fish and shrimp, eco-tourism, etc.) and environmental benefits (e.g. water purification, carbon sequestration, climate regulation), while also contributing to biodiversity conservation .
Examples of successful EbA range from managing coral reefs for adaptation and conservation, protecting and restoring mangroves along coastlines, restoring wetlands in river basins, to establishing and managing protection forests in mountain regions.
Climate vulnerability and risk assessments are now widely acknowledged as a structured way to identify potential adaptation and disaster risk reduction (DRR) measures as well as most appropriate locations for the implementation of measures at local, national and regional levels. However, there is still a lot of potential to further integrate EbA into local and regional planning and decision-making processes where adaptation paradigms are often still dominated by structural (i.e. engineering-based) solutions.
The new handbooks aims to equip technical experts and planners working at local, sub-national or national levels with a ‘tool’ that can provide a sound assessment of climate risk(s) for social-ecological systems and provides guidance on how to systematically consider ecosystems and their services both as a driver of risk when their function is reduced as well as an opportunity for risk reduction and adaptation.
Specifically it covers detailed instructions on (i) how climate risk assessments in the context of EbA and related concepts can be conducted, what the key steps and requirements in terms of resources, data, and software are, and (ii) how climate risk assessments can support the identification of EbA measures, their (spatial) planning, and their monitoring and evaluation (M&E). It can be applied at different stages of adaptation planning, from initial baseline assessments to repeated assessments in the implementation or M&E phase.
The ‘Climate Risk Assessment for Ecosystem-based Adaptation’ handbook was developed in partnership by GIZ, Eurac Research, and UNU-EHS, Environmental Vulnerability and Ecosystem Services Section (EVES) with funding from the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).
Read the handbook here.