Press release | 05 Nov, 2021

Nature-based solutions for climate resilience receive €10 million boost

Glasgow, 8 November 2021 (IUCN) - At the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), the Federal Environment Ministry of Germany (BMU) announced it will provide an additional €10m to the Global EbA Fund, a pioneering funding mechanism implemented by IUCN and UNEP and designed to support nature-based solutions for climate change adaptation. This takes the Ministry’s total commitment to the fund up to €30 million.

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Restoring mangroves is one of many proven ecosystem-based adaptation strategies that benefit local communities as well as biodiversity.

Photo: Ana Grillo

At the same time, the Global EbA Fund has approved its first seven grants, ranging from coral reef protection in the Philippines to restoring riverbank ecosystems for erosion control in Fiji.

The Global EbA Fund was launched in March 2021 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), supported by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the Federal Environment Ministry of Germany. The Fund aims to accelerate the uptake and financing of ecosystem-based adaptation by providing seed capital to catalytic and innovative ecosystem-based adaptation initiatives.

Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) is a strategy that harnesses biodiversity and ecosystem services to build the resilience of human communities to the impacts of climate change. It includes the conservation, sustainable management and restoration of ecosystems – such as forests, grasslands, or wetlands – to reduce the harmful impacts of climate hazards, whether it’s shifting rainfall patterns, temperature changes, or intense storms. 

Despite the cost-effectiveness of ecosystem-based adaptation as a strategy to tackle climate change, so far only 5% of global climate finance flows are spent on adaptation, and only 1.4% of this on nature-based solutions for adaptation. This, despite UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ appeal that 50% of total climate finance should be committed to adaptation.

In its first application cycle, which closed in April 2021, the Global EbA Fund received 276 applications with projects proposed in 75 countries and territories. In its second application cycle, which closed on 15 September 2021, 622 applications were received.

“We are impressed by the number and diversity of applications,” says Dr. Philipp Behrens, Head of BMU’s International Climate Initiative. “Providing fast access to finance for innovative EbA projects is the key aim of the Global EbA Fund. We are convinced that with an additional €10m we will accelerate the uptake of EbA on multiple levels to further unleash the potential of ecosystem-based adaptation and nature-based solutions for adaptation.”

“Conserving nature and adapting to climate change are two sides of the same coin,” says Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP. “Ecosystem-based adaptation is a powerful strategy that recognizes the interconnectedness of the nature and climate agendas. My thanks to the German Environment Ministry for this commitment today, and I look forward to many more Member States leaning in to support the important work of the Global EbA Fund.”

“The impacts of climate change on people’s lives are already being felt today, and they are about to worsen even under optimistic emissions forecasts. In this light, working with nature to enhance climate resilience is a top priority,” said Dr Bruno Oberle, IUCN Director General. “We thank the German Environment Ministry for its commitment to the Global EbA Fund, which will not only help communities adapt to the impacts of climate change, but also deliver benefits for biodiversity, ecosystem health and human well-being.”

The Global EbA Fund has now announced its approval of a total of US$1,656,115 worth of grants over the next three years, awarded to seven projects, making up the first cohort of the Fund.

Collectively, this first set of seven projects will work to increase the uptake, scalability, and replicability of ecosystem-based adaptation interventions across diverse ecosystems in nine countries, spanning five continents. These projects will demonstrate the economic co-benefits of ecosystem-based adaptation implementation with an emphasis on local needs, synergistic effects between ecosystem-based adaptation and other approaches, and much more.

Details on the individual grants are available on the Global EbA Fund website.

Notes to Editor

Implemented by IUCN and UNEP, the Global EbA Fund is a rolling program that accepts and reviews concept note submissions year-round, with biannual funding decisions and announcements. The next cut-off date is 28 February 2022 at 23:59 UTC+2 (Geneva time). Further details on eligibility and how to apply are available on the Global EbA Fund website.

About the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

IUCN is a membership Union composed of both government and civil society organisations. It harnesses the experience, resources and reach of its more than 1,500 Member organisations and the input of more than 18,000 experts. IUCN is the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it.

About the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

UNEP is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

UNEP@50: A time to reflect on the past and envision the future

The 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, Sweden, was the first-ever UN conference with the word “environment” in its title. The creation of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) was one of the most visible outcomes of this conference of many firsts. UNEP was created quite simply to be the environmental conscience of the UN and the world. Activities taking place through 2022 will look at significant progress made as well as what’s ahead in decades to come.

About the International Climate Initiative (IKI)

The International Climate Initiative (IKI) is the most important instrument utilised by Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) to support international climate action and biodiversity. With the IKI, the BMU supports solution strategies in developing and emerging countries that seek to achieve sustainable change.