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SOLUTIONS IN FOCUS: Ecosystem-Based Adaptation from Mountains to Oceans

This publication by GIZ illustrates a selection of applied EbA measures in a variety of landscapes and ecosystems - from mountain to ocean, that can be found online at the PANORAMA platform.
EbA Solutions addressing the Sustainable Development Goals from mountains to oceans

All solutions featured in this booklet, and many others, are available on the PANORAMA – Solutions for a Healthy Planet website. PANORAMA 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.

Introduction – Inspired by Nature

Healthy ecosystems are essential for human well-being and development. People worldwide depend on the services they provide, 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 development 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 conservation of peatlands as natural water storages for buffering increasing amounts of sudden rainfalls of the restauration 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 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.

The ‘Mainstreaming EbA’ project

The global project ‘Mainstreaming EbA – Strategic mainstreaming of Ecosystem-based Adaptation into planning and decision-making processes‘ has been established to strengthen the ability of decision-makers at international, national and local level to mainstream (ecosystem-based) adaptation into policy and planning processes.

The project provides a platform for the systematic exchange of knowledge and experiences between governments, institutions, and practitioners, and communicatest lessons learn to climate negotiators and a wider international community of practice.

In this context, the project supports the compilation of good EbA practices by following the ‘solutioning’ approach. The 5-year project is funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) as a contribution of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and is being implemented by GIZ.

The ‘Solutioning’ Approach – Inspiring others

This publication (available for download on the right) intends to inspire policy and decision makers by showcasing a selection of solutions, that have been applied in very different contexts. It shows that EbA is multidimensional. It is being implemented successfully in a broad range of countries and ecosystems and it is being driven forward by all kinds of people and organizations.

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 a 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 instrumetns, tools, approaches, partnerships or processes. They determine the solution’s success and can potentially be adapted and/or recombined with others to address specific challenges in different socio-cultural, ecological, political or economic contexts, sectors, or geographies.

<em>Figure 1: Building Blocks of EbA Solutions</em>

EbA measures qualify as solutions when they meet the following criteria:

  1. Thematic relevance: Solutions respond to challenges to natura conservation, sustainable development and human wellbeing and contribute to maintaining or improving the health of biodiversity, ecosystems and the services they provide. A solution must be relevant to one of the thematic communities of PANORAMA, which may have defined additional selection criteria.
  2. Impact: Solutions –
    1. provide a successful approach to problem solving.
    2. have an impact relevant for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Aichi Targets and other targets under UN conventions (e.g. climate change, disaster risk reduction) and other global policy agendas.
    3. promote ecological, economic and/or social benefits.
  3. Replicable and/or scalable: Elements (building blocks) of the solution have the potential for adaptation, replication or upscaling in other geographic, social or sectorial contexts.

PANORAMA – Solutions for a Healthy Planet

PANORAMA – Solutions for a Healthy Planetis 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 thematic communities contribute to PANORAMA. On the web platform these communities are represented through a) Protected areas, b) Marine and coastal, c) Sustainable agriculture, d) Ecosystem-based Adaptation and e) Business engagement solutions.

All solutions featured in this booklet, and many others, are available on the PANORAMA web platform.PANORAMA is an open, inclusive and growing partnership with GIZ, IUCN, UN Environment, GRID-Arendal, Rare, IFOAM and UNDP as current partners.

Suggested citation:

GIZ (2018). Solutions in Focus: Ecosystem-Based Adaptation from Mountains to Oceans. How people adapt to climate change by using nature.Bonn and Eschborn.

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