Hannah Reid, Marta Pérez de Madrid and Orsibal Ramírez
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 the Paz River basin in El Salvador, where local EbA interventions aimed to improve mangrove management and restore water flows, with a view to building adaptive capacity through action learning.
The report concludes that there have been widespread improvements in resilience and adaptive capacity, and vulnerability has been reduced, as a result of project adaptation measures, with women, poor and vulnerable people, and those who participate in Istatén (a local environmental organisation) experiencing most improvements. A wide range of social cobenefits emerged from the project, but restrictions to the use of natural resources have disadvantaged some people. Ecosystem resilience improved and ecosystem service provision also improved following the project. Various economic costs and benefits resulted from the project, and interviewees felt that the project was more cost-effective than other adaptation approaches. It is likely that the project will deliver sustained benefits over the long term, largely because of government and local community support for the project and for EbA in general.