Ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation: strengthening the evidence and informing policy. Research results from the Ecosystems Protecting Infrastructure and Communities project, Burkina Faso
Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) is the use of biodiversity and ecosystem services as part of an overall strategy to help people to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change. Under the ‘Ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation: strengthening the evidence and informing policy’ project, IIED, IUCN and the UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) are working at 13 sites in 12 countries to gather practical evidence and develop policy guidance for governments on how EbA can best be implemented. The project has developed a definition of effective EbA and a framework for assessing EbA effectiveness which has been applied at all 13 sites, and the results will be collated and compared to draw conclusions that are based on more than single case studies. This report presents the findings from a literature review and interviews with a wide variety of stakeholders conducted by IUCN at the project site in Yatenga and Lorum Provinces in Burkina Faso’s northern region, where EbA measures including soil protection and restoration activities, water conservation activities, reforestation and farmer-managed natural regeneration, riverbank and dam bank protection, biodigestors and organic gardening were implemented. A number of capacity building activities were also undertaken at community and technical political partner levels.
The report concludes that local ecosystems at the project site are now more resilient and can better withstand the effects of climate change, and that local communities are now less vulnerable to these effects. Adaptationrelated benefits were seen among all social groups in the project area.
Local knowledge and expertise, and strong participation, is needed to achieve EbA objectives. A number of social co-benefits emerged from EbA, the most important of which was food security. The costs and benefits from the EbA interventions vary over time, with intense early investment needs diminishing in subsequent years and benefits being seen in the short, medium and long term. Limited technical support, financial resources and organisational capacity and leadership were among the barriers to implementation at the local level, while poor governance and coordination, and insecurity in the region were both barriers at the provincial and national levels. Although sustainability of the project was facilitated by various institutions, governance structures and policies, a number of factors could undermine this, notably the lack of technical and operational capacity for action amongst administrative and civil structures at all levels.