Adapting to the impacts of climate change

Video: The funding area "Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change" in a nutshell

In the funding area "Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change", the International Climate Initiative (IKI) is supporting particularly vulnerable countries and regions in increasing their capacity to adapt to the effects of climate change.

The support focuses on ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA), instruments for the risk management of climate-related extreme events, such as innovative insurance solutions, as well as the development and implementation of national adaptation strategies. By the end of 2017, more than 100 projects had been approved in the area of adaptation.

EbA - Ecosystem-based Adaptation

Ecosystems provide services that are essential to human survival. They preserve soil fertility, provide clean water, and prevent flooding and erosion. These services can also help to reduce the impact of climate change on human communities. The EbA concept involves using biological diversity, natural resources and ecosystem services to increase people's capacity to adapt to the effects of climate change. It is a human-centred approach that focuses on natural resource use in addition to or in place of other adaptation measures. Unlike conventional natural resource and biodiversity management approaches, EbA explicitly focuses on current and future changes in climate or their effects on people and ecosystems. EbA measures are often more cost-efficient than other adaptation options. Restoring ecosystems, for instance, is frequently a less expensive but no less effective way of increasing adaptation capacity than applying technical solutions.

In practice, EbA generally forms part of a more comprehensive adaptation strategy and should be integrated proactively into existing planning processes in areas such as land use. Specific measures being carried out include protecting or restoring mangroves and coral reefs and improving their management with the aim of protecting coastal regions from increasingly violent storms and the impacts of rising sea levels. In the process of implementing EbA measures, it can sometimes be necessary to take difficult decisions, for instance when protected areas restrict the use of natural resources. Risk assessments, scenario planning and the management of adaptation measures should therefore be considered in the decision-making process in order to identify and take appropriate account of all possible impacts.

The IKI supports projects that test specific EbA approaches on the ground, analyse the experience gained and disseminate the results. The BMU feeds this experience into international negotiation processes in the context of the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) and the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Practical experience relating to the impact of EbA measures and their cost-benefit ratios compared with other adaptation measures is extremely valuable in the further development of the EbA concept.

Selected projects:

Restoration and co-management of degraded dunes and mangroves

Climate Change Adaptation in the Caribbean: The EbA-Facility

Mainstreaming EbA - Strengthening ecosystem based adaptation in decision making processes

Ecosystem-based Adaptation and forest restoration in the Caribbean



Risk management instruments - innovative insurance solutions for protection against weather risks

Climate models1 show that climate change in some regions of the world results in changes in weather events. These include more intense periods of drought, heavy rainfall or storms. Extreme weather events of this kind can have a devastating direct impact on people’s lives, on companies as well as on the infrastructure or economic strength of the regions in question. Smallholders can lose their economic livelihoods due to weather-related crop failures. At the same time, state budgets can come under intense pressure to provide emergency assistance and finance the reconstruction of the affected regions. Insurance against extreme weather events caused by climate change can minimise economic risks in particular and offer fast economic support to help those affected start over – both at individual and state level. The IKI supports in particular projects that combine insurance products with preventive measures to adapt to climate change. These products reduce the potential damage caused by extreme weather events and allow for a faster recovery from damage and loss.

A range of IKI-funded projects are working in selected regions to identify innovative insurance solutions and risk prevention strategies. They also support the establishment of a conducive legal framework and promote cooperation between policy-makers and insurance companies. In this way, the projects improve both income and food security, as well as credit and employment opportunities of the population and of companies.

1 IPCC (2012)

Selected projects:

Climate Risk Insurance and Adaptation in the Caribbean

Applying seasonal climate forecasting and innovative insurance solutions to climate risk management

Oasis Platform for Climate and Catastrophe Risk Assessment

Developing and implementing national adaptation strategies

National adaptation strategies are instruments or programmes intended to help countries systematically prepare for the impacts of climate change. This includes national initiatives such as the long-term National Adaptation Plans (NAPs). The NAPs adopted at national level usually include technical and institutional measures and often serve as the basis for financial support for the partner countries. Adaptation strategies aim to strengthen resilience to the negative impacts of climate change and systematically integrate climate change aspects into national, sectoral and local development and budget planning activities. NDCs are forming the framework for more and more adaptation strategies, while adaptation strategies such as NAPs are being incorporated into NDCs.

The IKI promotes the development and implementation of national adaptation strategies. One focus of support is the optimisation of land-use concepts, water resource and coastal zone management, and the integration of adaptation aspects into sectoral strategies and national development and investment plans (mainstreaming). The measures above for ecosystem-based adaptation and risk management are often also part of national adaptation strategies.

Selected projects:

Using scientific information databases to support national adaptation plan processes in sub-Saharan Africa

Integration of the agricultural sector in national adaptation planning processes

Supporting Brazil in implementing its national agenda for adaptation to climate change


Further Information

Building Capacity for Ecosystem-based Adaptation

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Building Capacity for NAPs 

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