The Policy & Practice of Climate Change & Water

ecosystem-based adaptation

Ecosystem-based Adaptation Event at UNFCCC Climate Change Conference

On May 16, Conservation International held a side-event at the UNFCCC Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, in partnership with IUCN, UNEP, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) titled “Ecosystem-based adaptation: a driving force for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement”. It sought to encourage discussion on how EbA can, and must, play an important role in achieving the Goals of these two global agreements, with presentations from all partners.

One of the key take-away messages was the sheer ubiquity of the role of ecosystems across sectors (e.g., food security, disaster risk reduction) in supporting the global goal on adaptation articulated in the Paris Agreement last December and in many of the 169 Targets comprising the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The role of nature is often unarticulated but is implicit and critical to the achievement of those Targets. Moreover, it is often through climate change-driven shifts in the availability of freshwater (too much and too little) that the role of ecosystems is manifest (e.g., in the context of "green infrastructure" and its potential to help people adapt to those changes). Hence, knowledge and innovation that helps guide public and private sector investments in water infrastructure will be key to achieving not only Goal 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), but also in supporting Goal 2 (Zero Hunger), Goal 3 (Good Health and Well-being), Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), Goal 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) and beyond.