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Ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation: strengthening the evidence and informing policy. Research results from the Ecosystems Protecting Infrastructure and Communities project, Senegal

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Senegal
Sources
IIED
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Summary

Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) is the use of biodiversity and ecosystem services as part of an overall strategy to help people to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change. Under the ‘Ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation: strengthening the evidence and informing policy’ project, IIED, IUCN and the UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) are working at 13 sites in 12 countries to gather practical evidence and develop policy guidance for governments on how EbA can best be implemented. The project has developed a definition of effective EbA and a framework for assessing EbA effectiveness which has been applied at all 13 sites, and the results will be collated and compared to draw conclusions that are based on more than single case studies. This report presents the findings from a literature review and interviews with a wide variety of stakeholders conducted by IUCN at the project site in Djilor District in Senegal, where EbA measures including the construction of anti-salt bunds, nursery establishment, applying assisted natural regeneration techniques, reforestation, introducing new roosters, vegetable gardening and establishing mechanisms for regulating the exploitation of natural resources were implemented. Various trainings to strengthen community and government implementation and scaling up capacity were also conducted.
The report concludes that the project activities have improved the resilience of local communities, improved their adaptive capacity and reduced their vulnerability, with the benefits being felt by a range of social groups and a number of social co-benefits also emerging. People in the project area are now self-reliant and are able to implement assisted natural regeneration techniques and build their own bunds to keep land salinisation in check, for example. The use of participatory processes had clearly supported implementation of the EbA project, and because of knowledge transfer, future generations will enjoy the benefits of improved ecosystem services.
The initiative had also improved ecosystem resilience and maintained, restored or improved ecosystem services provision at the project site and further afield. However, capacity levels and policy and institutional support levels were not considered sufficient for the EbA initiative to be sustainable over the long term, and although perceptions of the cost-effectiveness of the initiative were positive, local community understanding of whether the initiative is financially and economically effective remains poor.