Nature-based Solutions for Climate Resilience Receive EUR 10 million boost

Photo-illustration: Pixabay

At the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), the Federal Environment Ministry of Germany (BMU) announced it will provide an additional EUR 10m to the Global EbA Fund, a pioneering funding mechanism implemented by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and designed to support nature-based solutions for climate change adaptation. This takes the Ministry’s total commitment to the fund up to EUR 30 million.

At the same time, the Global EbA Fund has approved its first seven grants, ranging from coral reef protection in the Philippines to restoring riverbank ecosystems for erosion control in Fiji.

The Global EbA Fund was launched in March 2021 by IUCN and UNEP, supported by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the BMU. The Fund aims to accelerate the uptake and financing of ecosystem-based adaptation by providing seed capital to catalytic and innovative ecosystem-based adaptation initiatives.

Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) is a strategy that harnesses biodiversity and ecosystem services to build the resilience of human communities to the impacts of climate change. It includes the conservation, sustainable management and restoration of ecosystems – such as forests, grasslands, or wetlands – to reduce the harmful impacts of climate hazards, whether it’s shifting rainfall patterns, temperature changes, or intense storms. 

Despite the cost-effectiveness of ecosystem-based adaptation as a strategy to tackle climate change, so far only 5 percent of global climate finance flows are spent on adaptation, and only 1.4 percent of this on nature-based solutions for adaptation. This, despite UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ appeal that 50 percent of total climate finance should be committed to adaptation.

In its first application cycle, which closed in April 2021, the Global EbA Fund received 276 applications with projects proposed in 75 countries and territories. In its second application cycle, which closed on 15 September 2021, 622 applications were received.

Photo-illustration: Pixabay

“We are impressed by the number and diversity of applications,” says Dr. Philipp Behrens, Head of BMU’s International Climate Initiative. “Providing fast access to finance for innovative EbA projects is the key aim of the Global EbA Fund. We are convinced that with an additional  EUR 10m we will accelerate the uptake of EbA on multiple levels to further unleash the potential of ecosystem-based adaptation and nature-based solutions for adaptation.”

“Conserving nature and adapting to climate change are two sides of the same coin,” says Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP. “Ecosystem-based adaptation is a powerful strategy that recognizes the interconnectedness of the nature and climate agendas. My thanks to the German Environment Ministry for this commitment today, and I look forward to many more Member States leaning in to support the important work of the Global EbA Fund.”

“The impacts of climate change on people’s lives are already being felt today, and they are about to worsen even under optimistic emissions forecasts. In this light, working with nature to enhance climate resilience is a top priority,” said Dr Bruno Oberle, IUCN Director General. “We thank the German Environment Ministry for its commitment to the Global EbA Fund, which will not only help communities adapt to the impacts of climate change, but also deliver benefits for biodiversity, ecosystem health and human well-being.”

The Global EbA Fund has now announced its approval of a total of USD 1,656,115 worth of grants over the next three years, awarded to seven projects, making up the first cohort of the Fund.

Collectively, this first set of seven projects will work to increase the uptake, scalability, and replicability of ecosystem-based adaptation interventions across diverse ecosystems in nine countries, spanning five continents. These projects will demonstrate the economic co-benefits of ecosystem-based adaptation implementation with an emphasis on local needs, synergistic effects between ecosystem-based adaptation and other approaches, and much more.

Source: UNEP