M.Sc. Alejandro Jiménez Hernández
International Consultant on Adaptation to Climate Change
As countries move forward with the implementation of what they defined as priorities in their Nationally Determined Contributions -NDCs (1)-, there is a real opportunity for the proposed mitigation and adaptation goals to add synergies and for the Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) to be placed on the development agenda.
The Paris Agreement (PA) is very clear on the need to start formulating and executing National Adaptation Plans (NAPs). These should enable countries to communicate their progress in adaptation, identify and review the evolution of their needs in order to achieve resilient development in the face of the changing climate.
In this way, it would seem evident that:
- as a country proposes to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, it would preserve part of its biodiversity heritage as carbon sinks, and
- proceder a darle un valor estratégico a los servicios ambientales que aportan los agro-ecosistemas, bosques y humedales que absorben el carbono de la atmósfera.
Así, los servicios ambientales de esos sumideros contribuirán con la adaptación al cambio climático al menos de dos formas fundamentales:
- Reduciendo la vulnerabilidad de comunidades urbanas y rurales al resguardar los recursos hídricos y genéticos en la base de sus medios de vida, y
- proceed to give strategic value to the environmental services provided by agro-ecosystems, forests and wetlands that absorb carbon from the atmosphere.
In this sense, the NDC of Costa Rica (2015), in addition to reaffirming the country's willingness to orient its economy towards carbon neutrality, is hopeful in announcing that:
-In adaptation, the country will continue with its commitment to promote green and inclusive development under local action, strengthening conservation programs and expanding the payment for environmental services program to include EbA (2);
One of the prioritized sectors for adaptation in the country's Action Plan of the National Climate Change Strategy is water resources, for which the following is proposed:
-Improve the resilience of ecosystems that protect surface and underground water sources through the participation of users in the protection and valuation of the health of these ecosystems; and prioritize strategies for their protection in conjunction with actors at the national and local levels, including Payment for Environmental Services, redefinition of protected wild areas, among others (3).
Aware that the EbA will always be promoted from the local scale, it is certain that Costa Rica will face challenges such as the following:
(1)To succeed in translating these national documents to the local scale and to instrumentalize them in municipalities and communities;
(2)To monitor EbA directly in the territory and articulate it effectively with the various economic sectors and agendas of public and private investment;
(3)Sign a commitment to constant review and learning, whereby officials from ministries and municipalities learn the language, know the tools and identify AbE opportunities;
(4)To ensure that the EbA approach prevents adaptation from becoming yet another business as usual practice and rather facilitates the strengthening of the resilience of the most vulnerable sectors of society.
In the coming years, as the country reports on its progress in adaptation, it will be interesting to learn how to face these types of challenges.
(3) MINAE-DCC, 2017?. Action Plan of the National Climate Change Strategy. Towards a Low Carbon Development and Climate Change Resilient Model. AECID, EPYPSA. San José, Costa Rica.