Since the central role of ecosystem management in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction started to get recognition by parties to the UNFCCC in 2008 (COP14), Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) has become an important pillar of the adaptation portfolio for both national actions and international cooperation. The effectiveness of EbA as a key component of comprehensive adaptation strategies has been increasingly acknowledged worldwide.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its Fifth Assessment Report (2014), notes that EbA is becoming an integral approach to adaptation, with benefits demonstrated in a number of applications. EbA is considered to be one of the most cost-effective, durable and pro-poor climate change adaptation solutions, applicable in both rural and urban settings and over a wide range of scales of implementation.
Demonstrating the effectiveness of EbA as a component of disaster risk reduction, sustainable natural resource management and/or poverty alleviation are important steps in providing the justification for mainstreaming an ecosystem-based approach to adaptation.
Looking at EbA today, there is a growing number of initiatives being implemented, most of which are also well documented and collected in databases as case studies. Yet a synthesis of what has been learned through these projects, regarding both physical and economic performance of EbA, is still missing. Although it is widely recognised that functioning ecosystems can provide multiple social, economic and environmental benefits, this has not resulted in a widespread understanding and adoption of an EbA approach.
There is a need for international frameworks and guidelines to increase the emphasis on, and facilitate the mainstreaming of EbA into policies, strategies and development plans.
The EbA South project will contribute to these frameworks by strengthening national and regional capacities for EbA. Implementation of project activities will be aligned with relevant policies and priorities. National and regional support for EbA will be increased by developing cooperation and synergies with relevant stakeholders and networks.