IIED at Adaptation Futures


Adaptation Futures 2018 took place from 18-21 June 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa. IIED and partners showcased a range of work during the conference.

Adaptation Futures 2018 in Cape Town  will be the first time this  international climate change adaptation conference is held on the African continent.

Adaptation Futures is the biennial conference of the Global Programme of Research on Climate Change Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation. The conference brings together researchers, practitioners policy makers and business from around the world. 

IIED highlighted work on Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) at a number of side events. EbA involves people using biodiversity and ecosystem services to adapt to the climate change impacts and promote sustainable development. IIED is working on promoting effective EbA in Asia, Africa and Central and South America.

IIED and partners participated in several sessions on EbA, and in particular a workshop on 21 June that focused on key questions such effectiveness, impacts and upscaling EbA. 

With our partners from the Nature-based solutions initiative from Oxford university, we launched a new Nature-based solutions policy platform.

The Nature-based solution initiative also produced an animation explaining the fundamental importance of nature-based solutions to the hazards and impacts of climate change.

Related reading: Ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation: strengthening the evidence and informing policy. Research overview and overarching questions

IIED and partner events

Fun and Games (and a lot of learning) with Ecosystem-based Adaption

Session: S40 - Workshop
Date: Monday 18 June
Partner organisations: Organised by WWF, with IIED participating
Speakers: Hannah Reid, IIED

Government natural resource management supporting ecosystem-based adaptation 

Session: S48 - Workshop
Date: Tuesday 19 June
Speakers: Sarshen Scorgie of Conservation South Africa will present IIED’s work

Using Disruptive Technologies to Address Climate Disruption

Session: S158 
Date: Tuesday 19 June
Partner organisations: Organised by Climate-Check, Canada and Higher Ground Foundation UK, with IIED participating
Speakers: Including Marek Soanes, researcher, IIED

The organisers of this workshop suggest the need to fight climate disruption with disruptive technologies, like distributed ledger technology and solutions that shift power away from powerful intermediaries to individuals. Currently, there is no integrated, coordinated, and highly responsive platform with a design that creates clear incentives for developing (defined broadly) rules and standards for climate adaptation to organize the essential tools (technologies, practice, metrics, exchange mechanisms and finance, in other words, climate services) required to support effective global action on climate adaptation. To move beyond ad hoc efforts and advance the adaptation side of the climate services ledger, the organisers contend that a new cross-cutting framework is needed. 

Embracing Complexity: The Challenges of Measuring and Defining Adaptation Success

Session: S54 
Date: Tuesday 19 June
Partner organisations: Organised by University of Colorado
Speakers: Including Hannah Reid, IIED

Being able to define and track climate adaptation success is an imperative for donors, implementers, and researchers alike. The past decade has seen a rapid rise in scholarship and practice focused on measuring, tracking, evaluating and interrogating notions of “adaptation success”. Despite this rise, data-driven analyses of adaptation options have been limited. This session will seek to identify what constitutes success from different perspectives, question how notions of adaptation success are constructed, and uncover what standard definitions “leave out”. The aim is for a participatory session where each delegate will reflect on their own assumptions regarding adaptation success.

How can effective CSO/CBO engagement and support to community-based adaptation enhance the implementation of transformative adaptation projects?

Session: S147
Date: Tuesday 19 June
Partner organisations: Organised by Germanwatch; Adaptation Fund NGO Network
Speakers: Including Marek Soanes, Researcher, IIED

The session showcases best practices and challenges of civil society engagement in transformative adaptation projects: 1. Developing and designing a local methodology focusing on how to get the community to think about adaptation; 2. Realising successful mechanisms for multi-stakeholder engagement when planning and implementing adaptation projects; 3. Effectively channelling resources to the local level and meeting compliance criteria. The aim of this participative discussion is to identify, upscale and replicate best practices; to identify solutions to overcome current challenges in adaptation funding mechanisms; and to share experiences of civil society engagement in adaptation projects financed by climate funds.

Climate Change Adaptation policies and their implementation in LDCs: Prospect for Sharing, Learning and Collaboration across the globe

Session: S137
Date: Wednesday 20 June
Partner organisations: Organised by International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), with IIED supporting
Speakers: Including session chair Saleemul Huq, Director, ICCCAD and senior fellow, IIED

The session consisted of presentations on the following topics:

  1. Assessing climatic vulnerability of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and highlighting needs of the local communities
  2. Climate change adaptation policies in the LDCs
  3. Community Based Adaptation (CBA) case studies from LDCs
  4. Building South-South and South-North knowledge transfer and collaboration

What would transformative adaptations in agriculture look like, really?

Session: S191 - Food, fibre & other ecosystem products
Date: Wednesday 20 June
Partner organisations: Organised by WRI, with Oxfam GB and IIED supporting
Speakers: Including Sam Barrett, Researcher, IIED

We will examine various perspectives on transformative adaptation in agriculture and its implications for development. Adaptation to current and expected climate change impacts is largely scattered, fragmented, and short-term. The speed and scale of this incremental adaptation may not be sufficient to adapt to increasingly severe climate change impacts and prevent the erosion of development gains. In some cases, climate impacts may require more dramatic shifts to manage risk, maintain food security and protect lives and livelihoods, especially among the poorest and most vulnerable who depend on agriculture, fishing and tourism. This session focused on these more significant changes.

Overcoming barriers to scaling up EbA: strengthening the evidence base and engaging the private sector 

Session: S224
Date: Thursday 21 June
Partner organisations: Organised by University of Cape Town; UN Environment, Kenya, with Conservation South Africa, South Africa Conservation International, University of Stellenbosh, South Africa, and IIED supporting
Speakers: Including Hannah Reid, associate, IIED

This interactive session explored, together with practitioners and researchers, how anecdotal evidence of ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) effectiveness can be systematically captured and assessed, and then used to facilitate appropriate private and public-sector investment into EbA solutions. 

What are we learning about South-South peer learning?

Session: S130 - South South learning
Date: Thursday 21 June
Partner organisations: Organised by IISD
Speakers: Including Saleemul Huq, ICCCAD and IIED

This session facilitated an open and honest discussion about the ambitions, approaches, tools, as well as underlying assumptions and power dynamics related to South-South peer learning in adaptation. It looked at issues ranging from understanding and tracking impact of South-South peer learning, to the evolving role of Northern actors, and anticipating the next generation of South-South peer learning for adaptation.

Scaling up ecosystem-based adaptation: Linking science, practice and policy 

Session: S30
Date: Thursday 21 June
Partner organisations: Organised by IIED with International Union for Conservation and Nature (IUCN), and UNEP-WCMC supporting
Speakers: Organised by IIED with Hannah Reid, IIED associate facilitating; and featuring Anu Adhikari, IUCN Nepal; Sarshen Scorgie, Conservation South Africa; Sophie Kutegeka, IUCN Uganda; Sylvia Wicander, UNEP-WCMC; Natalie Seddon, Oxford University

Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) is receiving growing attention for its great potential to reduce people’s vulnerability to a range of climate change impacts and provide significant co-benefits for biodiversity and people, especially those most vulnerable to climate change. It is often a sound investment when compared to other adaptation options, and yet it is not receiving as much support in national policymakers processes as it merits. 

The event brought together policymakers, practitioners and researchers to share experiences to discuss:

  1. Effectiveness: what works & what has not worked in Ecosystem-based adaptation approaches?
  2. Impacts: how can ecosystem-based approaches EbA contribute to both better development and adaptation outcomes?
  3. Up-scaling: how can we maximise the uptake of evidence from research into development and climate change policymaking and implementation

Leveraging science to enhance citizen leadership in urban adaptation and risk management

Session: S50 - Workshop
Date: Thursday 21 June
Partner organisations: Organised by Kings College, with IIED participating
Speakers: Including Alice Sverdlik

Participatory methodologies have become a standard of researchers and NGO repertoires when engaging with local actors. Many experiences are supportive of local action but as many are deployed as rapid methodologies with limited scope for meaningful stakeholder reflection and potential action. This session opened a roundtable discussion to focus critically on the deployment of participatory methods and coproduced approaches to stakeholder engagement in adaptation research and NGO activity. Discussion was catalysed by statements from academics and practitioners, participants will be encouraged to bring their own experiences to the discussion.

How effective are Nature-based Solutions to climate change adaptation? Assessing and mapping the evidence base

Date: Thursday, 21 June
Speakers: Nathalie Seddon, Professor of Biodiversity & NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellow and IIED Associate

This session explored various aspects of what might contribute to the effectiveness of ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) or nature-based solutions (NbS) for climate change adaptation, drawing from a global level literature review to several case studies from six countries in the global south.

Aspects investigated in the series of papers include: what influences decision making and the choice of responses; the importance of considering hybrid approaches; how to ensure the sustainability of EbA investments; and the necessity for participatory approaches that include local communities, stakeholders and, in an interesting case study from Colombia, educational institutions at different levels.