What is Nature or Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA)?
Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) is a nature-based solution that is gaining significant importance in the context of climate change (e.g. UNFCCC Paris Agreement, Nationally Determined Contributions, National Adaptation Plans) and biodiversity conservation policies. EbA’s distinctive feature is that it links traditional biodiversity and ecosystem conservation approaches with sustainable socio-economic development as part of an overall strategy for helping community adapt to climate change. EbA is a community-centric concept, but one that acknowledges that human resilience depends critically on the integrity of ecosystems.
Benefits - Why does EbA good options?
Ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation use ecosystem services to help community adapt to climate change. This is done through the sustainable management, conservation and restoration of ecosystems and biodiversity. Ecosystems provide crucial services to society, particularly regulating and supporting actions that support community adapt and reduce risk: water scarcity; forested mountains and slopes can stabilize sediments, providing protection from landslides etc.
Ecosystems can also prolong the sustainability and lifetime of built infrastructure, thus protecting investments in engineered defenses (hybrid solutions) the cost benefit ratio of return on investment of ecosystem restoration is very high
EbA also measures generate additional environmental, economic, and social (co-)benefits. EbA as well as Eco-DRR can also enhance biodiversity and nature conservation. It can contribute to climate change mitigation targets via: i) the conservation or restoration of forests and local vegetation. ii) the reduction of deforestation and land degradation.
How we can mainstream Ecosystem-based Adaptation?
Climate change threatens ecosystems as well as their services and endangers human development worldwide. The ultimate goal of mainstreaming ecosystem-based approaches is establishing EbA as standard development practices in order to avoid and manage current and future climate risk.
The use of a climate and ecosystem lens can help to define the context of EbA mainstreaming such as the problem definition (e.g. lack of water), identifying the system of interest (e.g. a watershed, sector or policy).
When assessing vulnerabilities and risks, the inter-linkages of social, ecological and economic systems should be taken into account. A vulnerability or climate risk assessment provides the basis for adaptation planning. Assessments should actively involve a variety of stakeholders in a participatory manner.
The identification and selection of suitable EbA measures can be based on vulnerability, impact, feasibility and other criteria.