Author: Dr. Lili Ilieva
There is increasing recognition that ecosystems — if sustainably restored and protected — can mitigate impacts of climate change and support human adaptation over the long term. As the evidence base grows, ecosystem- based adaptation (EbA) is increasingly prominent in climate change policy. Yet, when it comes to action, EbA often remains low in the list of prioritized adaptation solutions. So why is this happening, given that the EbA approach has been around for 10 years now and has demonstrated effectiveness in different contexts? Do we know how to effectively integrate EbA solutions in development planning?
Mainstreaming EbA is the integration of ecosystem-based approaches into climate- and disaster-risk planning and decision-making processes at all levels . Mainstreaming may start with integrating ecosystem considerations into adaptation and disaster-risk reduction objectives, strategies, policies, measures or operations so that they become part of national and regional development policies, processes and budgets at all levels and stages. A key aspect of mainstreaming is finding the windows of opportunity also known as the potential entry points for integrating EbA.
One of the critical enabling factors for mainstreaming EbA across governance levels and sectors is the regulatory and planning framework of a country. However, in the absence of financial and other resources, stakeholders are unable to implement actions on the ground. Thus, the government’s budget process is the central access for resource allocation and is therefore important in terms of ensuring that budgets consider the financial resources needed for the planning, implementation and monitoring of EbA measures.
Peru has experience in successfully integrating natural infrastructure as a required component in public investment projects in the National System of Multiannual Programming and Management of Investments - Invierte.pe. This has created an enabling environment to mainstream EbA in budget development processes. In 2015 the joint work between the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Ministry of Environment, National Service of Natural Protected Areas and other national and international actors led to the elaboration of the Policy Guidelines for Public Investment in Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services .The policy guidelines promote biodiversity and ecosystem conservation measures in formulating and implementing of public investments at local, regional and national level. Therefore, the guidelines present an opportunity to develop EbA projects for public financing at country-wide scale and with a cross-sectoral approach. It also encourages public investment to shift from traditional, grey infrastructure to green infrastructure and nature-based solutions as EbA measures.
With this important example from Peru it is clear that to unlock the potentials of EbA, it is vital to foster interventions in policy-making and planning across scales and provide incentives for EbA implementation on the ground creating enabling conditions.
More examples of entry points for the integration of EbA into the planning processes in Peru can be found in the series of reports ‘Entry Points for Mainstreaming Ecosystem-based Adaptation: The case of Peru’. [link to the library]
 CBD, 2018. Voluntary guidelines for the design and effective implementation of ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. CBD/SBSTTA/ REC/22/7
 MINAM, 2015. Lineamientos de Política de Inversión Pública en materia de Diversidad Biológica y Servicios Ecosistémicos 2015 - 2021.