Assessment of the Potential of Ecosystem-based Approaches to Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in Europe

Brussels, Belgium

"Climate mainstreaming" still raises a lot of questions among scientists, policy makers, and stakeholders. One overarching question is how climate protection can be integrated in a cross-sectoral policy approach. On 12 July 2012, the consortium of the RESPONSES project, together with the Institute of European Environmental Policy (IEEP), organized a symposium in Brussels to discuss the concept of climate mainstreaming. Timo Kaphengst of Ecologic Institute presented the results of the Ecologic project "Ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation and mitigation" and discussed its potential role in climate mainstreaming.

The event aimed to examine the opportunities for and potential drawbacks of climate mainstreaming, integration, and proofing in the current EU policy context and reflect on where the EU needs to step up implementation of climate policy and where new institutional arrangements, instruments, and/or processes may be required. More fundamentally, the invited experts discussed whether there can be a shared understanding of what should be achieved and what the benchmarks for success are.

Tackling both mitigation and adaption from an ecosystem perspective, the so-called "ecosystem-based approach," has the potential to contribute substantially to climate mainstreaming and, at the same time, protect or enhance biodiversity. However, Timo Kaphengst made clear in his presentation that the ecosystem-based approach is far from being an integral part of sectoral policy strategies in Europe. Nonetheless, the approach has been applied in numerous nature conservation and adaptation projects in different EU Member States.

The presentation is available for download. Moreover, a background paper on climate mainstreaming was produced for the symposium, which can also be downloaded.

The ecosystem-based approach is far from being an integral part of sectoral policy strategies in Europe.

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