Healthy, well-functioning ecosystems enhance natural resilience to the adverse impacts of climate change and reduce the vulnerability of people. Ecosystem-based management offers a valuable yet under-utilized approach for climate change adaptation, complementing traditional actions such as infrastructure development. This approach, known as “Ecosystem-based Adaptation” (EbA), uses biodiversity and ecosystem services as part of an overall adaptation strategy to help people and communities adapt to the negative effects of climate change at local, national, regional and global levels.
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.
Through the Ecosystem-based Adaptation Programme, UNEP works to develop effective EbA approaches, and helps vulnerable communities adapt to climate change through good ecosystem management practices and their integration into global, regional, national and local climate change strategies and action plans. UNEP’s EbA Flagship is being implemented in diverse ecosystem settings, including mountains, river basins, dry-lands and low-lying coasts. The work is delivered through three main overarching components:
- Assessments and knowledge support
- Capacity building and demonstration
- Integration of EbA options into national development and adaptation plans