Unpacking Ecosystem-based Adaptation in the Western Cape in the context of existing nature-based projects and programmes

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Marte Nogva Mårstøl

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Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) advocates that well-functioning ecosystems are critical for building resilience and supporting society’s adaptation to the adverse impacts of climate change.  Ecological/green (as opposed to built) infrastructure can help mitigate the effects of climate extremes, while many ecosystem services are important in supporting adaptation to new risks. The National Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries in South Africa has taken the decision to mainstream EbA into its climate response actions, developing a strategy and set of guidelines to steer implementation. However, there has been little work to grasp different actors’ perspectives and understandings of EbA, its implementation, and how to link it to existing related projects and programs that focus on natural resource management and ecological restoration. This research presents findings from a study in the Western Cape that sought to unpack what EbA means ‘on the ground’ and how it can be actioned. In-depth interviews were conducted with 19 government officials. Some initial findings suggest that: 1)  there is still uncertainty as to what EbA is and how to engage with it;  is it a concept, framework or a set of guidelines to apply to current work, or does it require something new?; 2) there are concerns related to what successful EbA is and what this means for repurposing existing projects and for monitoring and evaluation; and 3) multiple barriers to EbA implementation exist, with one frequently mentioned example being the difficulties in collaborating across sectors and ensuring communication and coordination between relevant actors.

Resource Type:
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Society for Ecological Restoration