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Adapting to the impacts of climate change

In the funding area 'adaptation 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.

This support focuses on ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA), climate-related risk management instruments, such as innovative insurance solutions, and the development and implementation of national adaptation strategies.

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:

Risk management instruments - Innovative solutions for insuring against weather risks

Climate change is leading to more frequent and more severe natural catastrophes such as floods, extended periods of drought, and storms. These extreme events have disastrous effects on peoples' lives. Smallholder farmers, for instance, may lose their livelihoods due to weather-related crop failures. These impacts often go beyond the individual, affecting the economic situation of entire countries. By insuring against extreme weather events occurring as a result of climate change, risks can be minimised and those affected can obtain the financial support they need in order to make a new start. The IKI primarily supports projects that combine insurance products with preventive adaptation measures. In this way, the potential for damage caused by extreme events can be reduced.

Innovative insurance solutions and risk management strategies are currently being tested in a number of IKI-funded projects in selected regions. These projects are also contributing to the development of an enabling regulatory environment and are sharing knowledge and information with policy-makers and potential insurance providers. In this way, the IKI's work is improving not only the income and food security of the local population in affected areas but also their employment opportunities and chances of qualifying for credit.

Selected projects:

Development and implementation of national adaptation strategies

National adaptation strategies are instruments or programmes that aim to support countries in preparing for the impacts of climate change. They relate to national initiatives and include the National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) developed in the context of the UNFCCC. NAPAs focus on the immediate adaptation needs of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and aim to ensure they receive rapid and uncomplicated assistance. Long-term National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) also form part of national adaptation strategies. Applied at national level, NAPs generally comprise a package of technical measures and form the basis of institutional or financial support. National adaptation strategies can straddle several policy areas, government departments and fields of application at national and local level.

The IKI supports the development and implementation of national adaptation strategies. One key area of support is the optimisation of land use and water management concepts and the integration of adaptation aspects into cross-sector strategies. The above measures in the areas of ecosystem-based adaptation and risk management frequently also form part of national adaptation strategies.

Selected projects:

Monitoring and reporting of adaptation

In order to assess the success of adaptation measures, specific monitoring and reporting of adaptation (MRA) systems are developed. The information gained forms the basis for decisions on which approaches should be expanded and given increased funding. There are currently no generally accepted approaches and methods in the field of MRA. However, a number of projects are now underway, including some funded by the IKI, that are testing methods and instruments so as to provide the international community with the information required in order to apply MRA systems widely and systematically.

Selected projects:

IKI Key Areas

Climate Finance

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Sustainable Cities

Apartments at waterside

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Climate and Biodiversity Policy Support

Conference area at COP22

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