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 and a workshop with a wide of stakeholders conducted by the Adaptation Consortium at the project site in Kenya, where a fund was established to finance activities aimed at improving water availability, the provision of climate information, rangeland management and livestock health in an arid and semi-arid region.

It concludes that investments have helped build local resilience to climate change, with pastoralists and agro-pastoralists benefitting in particular, while providing a number of co-benefits that promote wellbeing. Strong levels of participation throughout the process were central to building local resilience. Investments have also helped enhance the capacity of rangeland ecosystems to continue to produce services for local communities and withstand climate change impacts and other stressors. While measuring returns on investment is difficult in a context of highly mobile people and benefits that are difficult to quantify, the investments do appear to have provided value for money.

The legitimisation and support of local institutions throughout all stages of the design and implementation of the fund has meant communities are now in control of designing and supporting initiatives to meet their development and adaptation needs. While the fund has brought about short-term as well as long-term improvements in resilience, it requires continued financial inputs from county budgets and possibly external sources.

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