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The side event gathered more than 80 participants, on Monday 15 May 2017, on the margins of the Climate Change Conference in Bonn (Germany)
The Nairobi work programme (NWP) side event was jointly organized with the Least Developed Countries Expert Group (LEG) and members of Friends of EbA (FEBA) in conjunction with the Climate Change Conference in Bonn (Germany). Following the side-event, Ali Raza Rizvi from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature(IUCN) gave a short interview on the role of ecosystems in adaptation to climate chnage.


The side-event moderated by Musonda Mumba, UN Environment, centered on the role of healthy ecosystems in helping people to adapt to climate change. The event provided a unique avenue to bridge the expertise of NWP partners and other relevant organizations with what developing countries need in terms of technical expertise and areas of support for formulating and implementing national adaptation plans (NAPs), particularly on two issues:

  • building climate resilience of ecosystems;
  • integrating ecosystem-based adaptation in NAPs and national development plans.

As an introduction to the event, Tibor Schaffhauser, Vice-Chair of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), on behalf of Carlos Fuller, the Chair of the SBSTA, welcomed the work undertaken under the NWP, which is the UNFCCC knowledge-for-action network for climate resilience. He invited NWP partners to pledge actions under the Nairobi work programme, so as to provide support to countries in integrating ecosystem approaches in their adaptation actions, including NAPs.

Key highlights of the event

  • Tibor Schaffhauser, Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) Vice-Chair, on behalf of Carlos Fuller, SBSTA Chair, welcomed the NWP as ‘a knowledge for action network for climate resilience’. He invited NWP partners to pledge actions under the programme.

  • Ali Raza Rizvi, Friends of EbA (FEBA) Secretariat at International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), presented a recent synthesis paper on ecosystems and EbA prepared under the NWP.  His key messages identified: the need for due diligence in all EbA interventions to avoid maladaptation; potential synergies between adaptation, mitigation, and disaster risk reduction under EbA; the importance of integrating EbA in national plans; and the need to link Paris Agreement implementation with Sustainable Development Goals.

  • Angela Andrade, IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management, underscored EbA as a solution that can both help people adapt to climate change and provide co-benefits such as jobs. She noted that this approach should be applied in conjunction with other solutions, and that communication, education, and capacity building are key for successful implementation.

  • Paul Desanker, the UNFCCC Secretariat, highlighted work by the Least Developed Countries Expert Group (LEG), such as on inclusion of SDGs and vulnerable communities and ecosystems in developing National Adaptation Plans (NAPs).

  • Ronald Jumeau, Ambassador for Climate Change and Small Island Developing State (SIDS) Issues from Seychelles, discussed his country’s intention to convert 30% of its Exclusive Economic Zone into Marine Protected Areas, contributing to marine conservation and EbA. He highlighted the “debt swab” with the Paris Club, South Africa, and other partners as an example of pioneering innovative funding mechanisms to implement this project.

  • Paul Mafabi, Ugandan Ministry of Water and Environment, addressed efforts to enhance resilience of ecosystems in the Mount Elgon region in Uganda. The project underscored the need for participatory planning and sustained engagement, practical demonstration to ensure uptake, as well as collective ownership.

  • Ninel Escobar Montecinos, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Mexico, shared experience in implementing an adaptation strategy of an integrated system of water reserves which aims to cover half of Mexico by 2018. The reserves create buffer zones in case of extreme events, and have so far directly benefitted almost a million people.

The ensuing discussion with participants focused on ongoing actions, challenges and opportunities for action in providing technical support to developing countries, in particular the LDCs on these two topics. Participants underscored, inter alia, the need for “hybrid” solutions with benefits for the climate, poverty reduction and communities, and discussed the experience of Antigua’s trust fund for marine ecosystem area protection. Among different tools and platforms for promoting EbA, participants highlighted following examples: tools provided by the UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre for addressing different ecosystem types; a Convention on Biological Diversity synthesis report on ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and DRR; the German Government’s ‘Mainstreaming EbA’ project; Partners for Resilience; and IUCN’s work on understanding legal and policy frameworks that support the uptake of EbA.

Organizations were invited to pledge action under the NWP so that they could collaborate and provide the necessary expertise in areas of technical support to countries in the context of NAPs, with a focus on ecosystems, and to provide an update on their action. During the dialogue and through the NWP online survey, several organizations offered their technical support to countries in formulating and implementing NAPs in the area of ecosystems. These organizations include NWP partner organizations-the Convention on Biological Diversity, GIZ, the World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UN Environment -WCMC, Cambridge University), the International Federation of the Red Cross/ Red Crescent Climate Centre, and other relevant organizations-the Global Forest Coalition, and PUSH Sweden.
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