Ecosystem-based adaptation (EBA) is an emerging approach that helps people to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change. It is the use of biodiversity and ecosystem services as part of an overall adaptation strategy. EBA uses sustainable management, conservation and restoration of ecosystems, taking into account anticipated climate change impact trends, to reduce the vulnerability and improve the resilience of ecosystems and people to climate change impacts.
In addition to protection from climate change impacts, EBA also provides many other benefits to communities, for example through the maintenance and enhancement of ecosystem services crucial for livelihoods and human well-being, such as clean water and food. Appropriately designed ecosystem management initiatives can also contribute to climate change mitigation by reducing emissions from ecosystem loss and degradation, and enhancing carbon sequestration.
The December 2010 UNFCCC Cancun Agreements called for all Parties to enhance action on adaptation under the Cancun Adaptation Framework, including through enhancing resilience of socio-economic and ecological systems through sustainable management of natural resources. In response, Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) announced support for an Ecosystem Based Adaptation programme as one of the initiatives through which BMU channels fast-start finance to support developing country adaptation action. This €10 million EBA programme will be run by a partnership of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The EBA Mountain Programme is a partnership between UNEP, UNDP and IUCN, sponsored by BMU, with pilot EBA activities in mountainous areas in Nepal, Peru and Uganda. The overall objective is to reduce the vulnerability of Nepal, Peru and Uganda to climate change impacts by promoting EbA options, with a particular emphasis on mountain ecosystems.
- The development of decision making tools for EBA, including mapping tools, monitoring and evaluation protocols, and tools for assessing ecosystem resilience
- Field testing the tools in the pilot countries
- Making investments in, and building capacity for EBA at demonstration sites
- Establishing the economic benefits and financial costs of EBA, to guide national policies.