The Use of Ecosystem-Based Approaches to Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation: Barriers and Success Factors
In response to the growing pressures from climate change, the maintenance and restoration of natural habitats has emerged as an effective strategy to increase the resilience of ecosystems and support sustainable livelihoods. However, the integration and implementation of such ecosystem-based approaches is still lacking while awareness of the concept and its potential remains substantially low. Sandra Naumann gave a presentation on "The use of ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and mitigation: barriers and success factors" at the European Climate Change Adaptation (ECCA) conference 2013.
The ECCA conference brought together international and European policy makers, scientists, practitioners, NGOs, and civil society to exchange scientific results about climate change adaptation and debate what this means for practical action on adaptation as a response to climate risks and opportunities. The particular session "Mainstreaming climate adaptation – Implementation" addressed topics such as
- "Opportunities for cross-sectoral mainstreaming of adaptation" (Pam Berry, University of Oxford, Environmental Change Institute);
- "Delivering adaptation for the natural environment through agri-environment schemes" (Simon Duffield, Natural England) and
- "Adaptation Tipping Points for the Management of Urban Flood Risk" (Nadia Koukoui, Utrecht University).
The presentation given by Sandra Naumann on "The use of ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and mitigation: barriers and success factors" built on a recent study carried out for the European Commission. This study examined the success factors leading to and obstacles hindering the implementation of ecosystem-based approaches in climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies at various spatial scales. The following methodologies were applied to address these research questions: assessment of 161 applicable projects, five in-depth case studies, targeted interviews with European Commission officials, and a literature review.
The study identified that the main barriers include
- technical challenges (design and implementation of effective strategies),
- lack of capacity (institutional, financial, or technical),
- organizational challenges (inappropriate management structures),
- political hurdles (lack of policy integration),
- and social/behavioral issues (habitual practices and socio-economic barriers).
Several recommendations were derived to overcome each of the identified challenges. In addition, they recognize the potential of ecosystem-based approaches to contribute to EU, national, and regional climate change adaptation and mitigation policies as well as support the EU 2020 Biodiversity Policy and the EU Green Infrastructure Strategy.