Using Ecosystems and Traditional Knowledge to Help People Adapt to Climate Change: Building the Evidence Base

Adaptation to climate change comprises a wide range of potential approaches. Proponents of ´ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation´ (EbA) suggest that the maintenance or restoration of natural ecosystems are among the cheapest, most effective, and most readily implemented solutions at our disposal to lessen the impacts of climate change on people. However, there remains a lack of solid evidence to support decision-makers in terms of the contexts in which EbA may be an optimal intervention. Moreover, while it is increasingly recognized that traditional knowledge – the wealth of experience and wisdom built up by traditional and indigenous communities over millennia – offers an abundance of options for coping with climate change, our understanding of the linkages between EbA and traditional knowledge is still in its infancy. Our workshop will synthesize and evaluate the evidence base and examine the emerging role of EbA, together with its links to traditional knowledge, as encountered by innovative projects in the field. Case studies will be taken from three ongoing, multinational projects: CI´s work focusing on EbA implementation in terrestrial, coastal and marine systems in South Africa, the Philippines and Brazil; UNEP-UNDP-IUCN´s research on EbA in high mountain ecosystems in Peru, Uganda and Nepal; and IIED-ANDES-CCAP and partners´ collaborative research with indigenous communities in Peru, China, India and Kenya. Three short presentations will set the scene. The case studies will then highlight what we know, what we don´t, the challenges and the potential solutions, in terms of implementing EbA on the ground. Workshop participants will then be directly engaged to help define, based on their unique perspectives, what key evidence gaps remain and how they can best be filled, under the guidance of an expert panel.

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