The EbA South project has partnered up with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for developing an ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) planning tool to help drive greater uptake of EbA approaches. The tool aims to support climate resilience building activities at the local level, for the benefit of vulnerable communities that rely on healthy, well-functioning ecosystems for their livelihoods.
The launch of a user-friendly tool to support the design and implementation of EbA interventions aims to help to overcome the current gap between understanding the potential benefits of EbA approaches and their uptake by adaptation practitioners and other user groups. The consideration of the role of ecosystems and ecosystem services for communities and the impact of climate change on these relationships adds value to adaptation planning and informs adaptation initiatives.
The new tool will build on the framework underlying the existing Community-based Risk Screening Tool – Adaptation and Livelihoods (CRiSTAL). CRiSTAL guides users to a decision, drawing on their existing expert knowledge, input from local stakeholders, consultation with experts in relevant fields and access to secondary sources. Its decision-support framework will be modified to enable adaptation of communities and ecosystems by looking at the relationship between livelihood resources, ecosystem services and climate change.
IISD will lead the development of the tool, while IUCN will facilitate the pilot testing at two local IUCN offices in Nepal and Senegal.
The new EbA planning tool and associated guidance aim to assist adaptation practitioners, project planners and implementers to understand changes to people’s livelihoods through changes in the supply of ecosystem services caused by climate change and select management options for maintaining and enhancing ecosystem services supply to reduce vulnerability. The tool is expected to be most relevant during project design and project evaluation phases. More specifically, it aims to:
- Raise awareness of the availability of ecosystem-based adaptation solutions and help adaptation planners recognize EbA is effective.
- Explore the relationship between ecosystems and livelihoods by understanding what ecosystems and ecosystem services are most important to local livelihood groups.
- Understand how current and potential future climate hazards, affect/may affect a project area, its ecosystems, functionality, services and subsequently local livelihoods.
- Help understand how communities and specific livelihood groups respond to current and potential impacts of these climate hazards.
- Understand what ecosystems and ecosystem services are most affected by current and potential climate hazards and which ones are most important for reducing climate risks.
- Inform how ecosystems need to be managed to mediate potential climate change impacts and maintain and enhance supply of ecosystem services for humans and their adaptive capacity.
- Help design EbA activities (using restoration, conservation and sustainable management of ecosystems) that support climate adaptation and reduce climate risk.
- Help understand how climate risk management can be integrated into a monitoring and evaluation framework.
- Provide guidance on mainstreaming EbA strategies into policy and planning.
The EbA planning tool draws conceptually from the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment framework and the original CRiSTAL tool. It relies on information collected from desk-based review and facilitated community consultations/meetings at the local level. The tool is a desktop application and will be compatible with Windows and Apple operating systems and subsequent versions. It will be available in English.
The tool is primarily being designed for project managers and practitioners working at the local or community-level designing or implementing EbA interventions. A wide range of other actors may also use the tool, including local authorities, NGOs and policy-makers.