EBA Evidence and Policy: Senegal

IIED and IUCN are using evidence from the EPIC Project piloted in Senegal to explore the effectiveness of ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation as well as inform and influence national adaptation and mitigation planning processes and policies.

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 Saloum Delta Biosphere Reserve in Senegal (Photo: El Hadji Ballé Seye/UICN-Sénégal)

Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) involves people using biodiversity and ecosystem services to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change and promote sustainable development. Between 2015 and 2019, IIED, the International Union for the Conservation of nature (IUCN) and the UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) are jointly 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 in Asia, Africa and Central and South America, the project aims to gather practical evidence and develop country-specific policy guidance on EbA, and to promote EbA at international level. More information and all the case studies sites are available via the main project page

What are we doing in Senegal?

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. In Senegal, the different activities of EPIC were conducted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (UICN-Senegal) from 2012 to 2017, with an overall goal to reinforce local adaptation strategies to climate change. Specific objectives were to assess the risks and effects of climate change on poor people, and demonstrate the economic benefits of EbA.

Project activities were carried out in six villages in Djilor District, Fatick region (West Senegal). Djilor is situated in the protected area of the Saloum Delta Biosphere Reserve and watered by the Saloum River. As part of the Sudan-Sahelian zone and as a coastal region, the study area appears vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, which include land degradation (deforestation, soil salinity) and food insecurity. 

Using the framework for assessing EbA effectiveness, the EbA Evidence and Policy project conducted interviews and focus group discussions in 2017 with officials from national and local authorities, representatives from NGOs implementing the project as well as beneficiaries from the project villages to gather lessons learnt through the EPIC project on EbA effectiveness. 

Along with the interviews and focus group discussions, published literature was also used to assess the characteristics of EPIC activities that contribute to EbA effectiveness. Those lessons learnt will be further used to inform policymakers and mainstream EbA within climate change policies in Senegal.

That research work concludes that the project activities have improved the resilience of local communities, improved their adaptive capacity and reduced their vulnerability. However, capacity levels and policy and institutional support levels were not considered sufficient for the EbA initiative to be sustainable over the long term. Read more about these findings in the dedicated IIED project report.

Informing policy 

Based on the research results, IUCN Senegal has identified opportunities to replicate, scale up and mainstream the EPIC initiative, which include influencing the government and donors to integrate EbA approaches in national climate change policies, such as the National Adaptation Plan that is currently being formulated; or fostering collaboration among NGOs.

For instance, IUCN collaborated with World Vision, Environment and Development Action (ENDA) and Innovations Environnement Développement (IED Afrique) to establish a national platform to promote assisted natural regeneration (ANR). 

Updates from IUCN

November 2018
In partnership with the Lead Africa programme, we organised a workshop to validate and capitalise results from the EPIC case study in Senegal, as well as promote EbA implementation through the Ecosystem-Based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly (EBAFOSA), a continental policy platform. There were about 40 participants, including national actors, representatives of the African Development Bank (ADB), ministries responsible for the environment, social development, ENDA Tiers Monde, embassies of Canada and France, the University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar (UCAD), Senegalese Institute of Agricultural Research (ISRA) and the Agricultural and Rural Prospective Initiative (IPAR).

After recognising the relevance of the EbA approach, participants recommended that pilot initiatives should be developed in key sectors of agriculture, livestock, fisheries and forestry in order to have more results to influence policies-based climate change and food security.

September 2017
We carried out a literature review on the different concepts related to the EbA approach and an inventory of existing EbA projects in the area. At the same time, we identified interviewees to assess the effectiveness of EbA measures at all levels (local, national and institutional) through visits and discussions with stakeholders.

September 2015 
A workshop on climate change was organised by the Senegalese Mayors Association and the International Association of Francophone Mayors (AIMF). We shared results from the EPIC project and had discussions with various participants.


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