POLICY BRIEF Exploring the potential of ecosystem-based approaches – Ecosystem-based Adaptation and Ecosystem-based Disaster Risk Reduction

POLICY BRIEF Exploring the potential of ecosystem-based approaches – Ecosystem-based Adaptation and Ecosystem-based Disaster Risk Reduction
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This policy brief is directed towards a broad range of stakeholders, including research funders and managers, policy makers, researchers, local authorities, and environmental and conservation agencies. It highlights the complex nature of environmental challenges and provides recommendations for the integration of ecosystem-based approaches.

 

This brief is based on the presentations and discussions held during a session organized in the context of the PLACARD project during the 4th Adaptation Futures Conference in Rotterdam (10-13 May, 2016).

 

Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) share similar goals but originate from different conceptual frameworks. They differ in other ways, namely, in the terminology used, tools and methods, and the audience targeted to carry out the planning and implementation of practices. In its current form, the independent development and activities of CCA and DRR appear to ignore the complementary strategies of both communities, which may lead to sub-optimal responses to climate hazards.

 

There is an urgent need to integrate the activities of both practices under a unifying concept and set of “principles-to-practice” strategies. The use of ecosystem-based approaches2 in dealing with the complex problems of climate change offers opportunities for developing novel strategies to adapt to rapid change and to reduce risk.

 

In the ‘everyday’ world of dealing with crises and unexpected risks, it is almost impossible to predict and plan for cause-effect events. In most cases, conventional and linear science-based models of practice are replaced by more pragmatic approaches. From this practical perspective, and considering climate hazards, the divisions between Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) and Ecosystem-based DRR (Eco-DRR) can be counterproductive. As, per definition, both approaches fully embrace the sustainable ecosystem management approach, it would make common sense to dissolve the divisions between them.