Insights on Ecosystem-based Adaptation Stories from Latin America and the Caribbean

Ilieva, Lili

Climate change and environmental degradation have resulted in irreversible impacts on socio-ecological systems (IPCC, 2018). The world must brace for more extreme weather and irreversible impacts affecting the natural and human systems unless unprecedented changes in all aspects of society are keeping global warming to a 1.5-degree pathway. That is the clear message from the recently released IPCC’s 1.5C Special Report. Certainly, lowlying areas, fragile ecosystems and oceans especially, will be affected even under 1.5-degree track. Impacts will hit the populations especially in the global South, resulting in population displacement, health effects and more. Ecosystems provide a wide range of services and goods, which support the basis for livelihoods and human well-being. Ecosystem functions and processes (e.g. soil formation) underpin the provision of ecosystem services (e.g. crop production), which in turn provide goods that people value (e.g. food and water). However, environmental and humaninduced disruption of ecosystem functions (e.g. functioning of hydrological cycle contributing to flood control and drinking water supply) exacerbates the vulnerability of socio-ecological systems (MEA, 2005). Although all adaptation efforts take place in very specific contexts, case studies can highlight common social, policy and institutional conditions that maximise the uptake of EbA. At the local level, this evidence can help build capacity and assist people to implement transformational adaptation on the ground. At a national level, it may encourage the integration of these approaches into the wider policy planning and help increase funding for EbA programmes and initiatives through sectoral budget revisions. EbA can be mainstreamed into national government processes and policy measures within climate and development planning. Other opportunities for scaling up EbA can be found in mainstreaming, replication and diversification within other sectors such as oceans strategies, national development frameworks and fisheries policy, as well as within development and humanitarian organisations, the private sector and at the level of multilateral financing institutions. At an international level, EbA is recognized as instrument for promoting synergistic implementation of the Rio Conventions – the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UN Climate Change).