EbA Evidence and Policy: Chile

In Chile, IIED and IUCN are engaging with a diverse range of stakeholders to review lessons learnt from the EPIC project on the effectiveness of ecosystem-based adaptation and disaster risk reduction, and developing clear policy recommendations to increase the uptake of these approaches. 
July 2015 - September 2019
Xiaoting Hou Jones

 Xiaoting Hou Jones was a senior researcher in the biodiversity team of IIED's Natural Resources research group until March 2024

Ecosystem-based adaptation
A programme of work focused on people using biodiversity and ecosystem services to adapt to climate change and promote sustainable development

The Las Trancas Valley in Chile, November 2014 (Photo: UICN / Marcelo Vildósola Garrigó)

Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) involves people using biodiversity and ecosystem services to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change and promote sustainable development. IIED, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) are implementing a project called 'Ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation: strengthening the evidence and informing policy' (EbA Evidence and Policy). Working with local partners in 12 countries, the project aims to gather practical evidence and develop policy guidance on how EbA can best be implemented.

What are we doing in Chile?

The Ecosystems Protecting Infrastructure and Communities (EPIC) project aimed to build community resilience by implementing nature-based solutions to disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA). The Chilean component of EPIC was implemented by the International Union for Conservation of Nature South America (IUCN-Sur) from 2013 to 2017 in the Nevados del Chillán-Laguna del Laja Biological Corridor Biosphere Reserve, within the Biobío Region in Central Chile (see the map below).

The reserve is an ecological transition area and attracts a large number of tourists with its winter sports facilities and thermal waters. The aim of the biosphere reserve is to reconcile the conservation of biological and cultural diversity with economic and social development through tourism.

Shangri-La Valley in Chile

Using the EbA Evidence and Policy project's Framework for assessing EbA effectiveness, IUCN South America (IUCN-Sur) conducted interviews in November 2016 with national and local government agencies, as well as research partner the Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF), to gather lessons learnt through the EPIC project on EbA effectiveness.

Informing policy

The lessons from this work will be further used to inform policymakers and mainstream EbA within climate change policies in Chile.

The involvement of stakeholders throughout the EbA Evidence and Policy project's three components – research, capacity building and policy advocacy – has resulted in broader knowledge and ultimately better adaptive capacities. 

Karen Podvin, programme officer at IUCN-Sur in charge of the EbA Evidence and Policy project coordination in Chile, explains why EbA is important for Chile and how the project is helping the country to mainstream EbA into policies or implement EbA on the ground.

Updates from IUCN-Sur

November 2018

As part of our efforts to incorporate EbA in the national restoration efforts, we supported the development of the 4th National Restoration Seminar “Walking towards a National Restoration Plan”, held in Concepción on 21-23 November. The event is part of a process to build a national landscape restoration plan (in Spanish only), and was organised by the Chilean Environmental Restoration Network, the National Forest Institute and the Regional Secretariat of the Ministry of Environment in Biobío, in collaboration with IUCN and the University of Concepción. 

We supported the “International Seminar of the PRELA programme: from knowledge to restoration of the lake ecosystems in the province of Arauco”, which was held in Contulmo on 27-28 November.  The aim was to strengthen capacities in landscape governance, nature-based solutions and EbA to enhance the restoration efforts taking place in the Arauco province, which is part of the Biobío region. 

April 2018
A research article entitled 'Assessing the interaction between mountain forests and snow avalanches at Nevados de Chillán, Chile and its implications for ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction' was published in the journal Natural Hazards and Earth Systems Sciences. The article was developed as part of the EPIC project and was highlighted on UICN-Sur's Facebook page

December 2017
We took part in the International Congress on Climate Change and its Impacts in Huaraz, Peru. The paper 'Assessing the effectiveness of Ecosystem-based Adaptation measures in Peru and Chile: experiences and lessons learned' (Spanish language publication) was shared among 450 participants.

August 2017
We presented results from the research framework in the EbA Community of Practice, which was held in Thailand ('Assessing EbA effectiveness: experiences and lessons from Chile'), organised by the Mainstreaming EbA project led by the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ).

April 2017  
We held a joint EPIC and EbA Evidence and Policy project workshop in Santiago. Key stakeholders reflected on the achievements and lessons learned (Spanish language website) around EbA effectiveness and discussed actions to ensure the impact and application of EbA strategies for DRR and CCA.

March 2017
We took part in the webinar 'How to strengthen EbA evidence effectiveness' (Spanish) to present the project experience and results from applying the common research framework as a case study.

October 2016
With the Ministry of Environment of Chile and the SLF, we developed two workshops supported by the project which created a good environment to continue promoting Eco-DRR and EbA.

Additional resources

Ecosystem-based adaptation: question-based guidance for assessing effectiveness, Hannah Reid, Nathalie Seddon, Edmund Barrow, Charlotte Hicks, Xiaoting Hou-Jones, Ali Raza Rizvi, Dilys Roe, Sylvia Wicander (2017), IIED 

Website: Adaptación basada en Ecosistemas – Una respuesta de la naturaleza al cambio climático

IUCN project webpage: Ecosystems Protecting Infrastructure and Communities (EPIC-Chile)

Report: Ecosystems protecting infrastructure and communities: lessons learned and guidelines for implementation, editors Camille Buyck, Sriyanie Miththapala, Fabiola Monty, Radhika Murti (2017), IUCN

Academic paper: Assessing the interaction between mountain forests and natural hazards at Nevados de Chillán, Chile, and its implications for Ecosystem-based Disaster Risk Reduction, Alejandro Casteller, Thomas Häfelfinger, Erika Cortés Donoso, Karen Podvin, Dominik Kulakowski, and Peter Bebi (2018), Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (18-4)

Report: Ecosystems Protecting Infrastructure and Communities - Case study Chile: quantifying and improving the protective capacity of forests against snow avalanches. SLF Final Scientific Report (PDF), Alejandro Casteller, Thomas Häfelfinger, Peter Bebi (2017), SLF

Report: Reporte final: Ecosistemas para la Protección de la Infraestructura y Comunidades en Chile (PDF), Erika Cortés-Donoso, Karen Podvin y Alejandro Casteller (2017), UICN, SLF and MMA, (in Spanish)

Factsheet: EPIC: Ecosistemas para la protección de infraestructura y comunidades. El rol de los bosques de alta montaña en la Región del Biobío-Chile (2016), UICN, (in Spanish)

Handbook chapter: Protecting against snow avalanches or landslides with forests on steep slopes: the case of the biosphere reserve Nevados de Chillan, Chile, p25 Protected Areas as Tools for Disaster Risk Reduction. A handbook for practitioners, Camille Buyck, Nigel Dudley, Naoya Furuta, Claire Pedrot, Fabrice G Renaud, Karen Sudmeier-Rieux (2015), MOEJ


International Climate Initiative (IKI)
The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) supports the IKI on the basis of a decision adopted by the German Bundestag.