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Ecosystem-based adaptation: a win–win formula for sustainability in a warming world?

Many national and international environmental agreements acknowledge that the impoverishment of ecosystems is limiting the world’s capacity to adapt to climate change and that ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) approaches should be harnessed as a priority. EbA has the potential to increase adaptive capacity and social and ecological resilience to climate change in both developed and developing countries. Whilst only 23 of the 162 Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (covering 189 countries) submitted to the United Nations refer explicitly to EbA, 109 indicate ecosystem-orientated visions for adaptation. These, however, rarely translate into robust targets or involve local communities. This briefing highlights actions that need to be taken to increase the uptake of EbA in national action plans and ensure its proper implementation.

This briefing was updated in September 2016.

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Ecosystem management and restoration can be a very important part of climate change adaptation, and communities can play a central role in the process, but the evidence base needs strengthening. IIED and partners are working in 12 countries to promote effective EbA and sustainable development.

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Ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation

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