Biodiversity – A Key for Adaptation to Climate Change

The paper ‘Biodiversity – A Key for Adaptation to Climate Change’ explores the role that biodiversity plays in shaping the adaptive response to climate change. It also documents how degradation of biodiversity can amplify the impacts of climate change, and how biodiversity itself would be under increasing threat from both the climate change and its anthropogenic response, aka adaptation, under business-as-usual economic models. It argues for community-driven, ecosystem-based adaptation, with a call to scrutinize the adaptation programmes and projects for their impact on ecosystem services, which are the true building blocks of adaptation, as also proxy indicators of the health of biodiversity.

Key Messages

  • Biodiversity is a key to how well people can adapt to climate change;
  • The poor, the marginalised, and women need to be involved in planning and decision-making so that they also derive sustainable livelihoods from these resources;
  • We need to set different guidelines for policy, alter incentive structures, reduce or phase out subsidies (that promote wanton degradation of ecosystem services), and engage businesses and the common person in a vision for a new economy – an economy that recognises the value of nature’s services and the costs of their loss;
  • We must establish environmental limits to ensure that society remains within them, in order to achieve sustainability;
  • We need to use Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA), an emerging approach that works with nature to help vulnerable communities build resilience into their ecosystems and livelihoods which are being threatened by climate change impacts while generating significant multiple benefits – social, economic, and cultural.
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PDF icon Biodiversity position paper.pdf