Enhancing Capacity, Knowledge and Technology Support to Build Climate Resilience of Vulnerable Developing Countries through South-South cooperation (EbA South)

UNEP/Aidan Dockery
Published: 01 February 2023
Last edited: 01 February 2023
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Summary

Climate change substantially impacts local communities in Asia-Pacific and Africa because communities rely heavily on ecosystems for their livelihoods. In this GEF-funded project entitled EbA South, UNEP, and four governments looked into promoting EbA through south-south cooperation.

 

The objective was to enhance the climate resilience of communities in Mauritania, Nepal, and Seychelles by building institutional capacity, mobilizing knowledge, and transferring EbA technologies based on China's experience in successfully implementing restoration.

 

This project is recognized as a flagship initiative for South-South cooperation, enabling an exchange of technology transfer, capacity-building, policy support, or fundraising between countries in the Global South. The project demonstrated various best practices and produced a wide range of tools and knowledge products to encourage NbS for adaptation through South-South cooperation.

Classifications

Region
East and South Africa
South Asia
West and Central Africa
Scale of implementation
Global
Ecosystem
Agro-ecosystem
Agroforestry
Beach
Desert ecosystems
Forest ecosystems
Hot desert
Mangrove
Marine and coastal ecosystems
Tropical deciduous forest
Tropical evergreen forest
Theme
Adaptation
Agriculture
Biodiversity mainstreaming
Ecosystem services
Restoration
Traditional knowledge
Challenges
Avalanche/landslide
Drought
Erratic rainfall
Floods
Increasing temperatures
Land and Forest degradation
Sea level rise
Ecosystem loss
Lack of food security
Lack of infrastructure
Poor monitoring and enforcement
Sustainable development goals
SDG 2 – Zero hunger
SDG 3 – Good health and well-being
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 14 – Life below water
SDG 15 – Life on land
SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 2: Biodiversity values integrated
Target 3: Incentives reformed
Target 5: Habitat loss halved or reduced
Target 6: Sustainable management of aquatic living resources
Target 7: Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry
Target 10: Ecosystems vulnerable to climate change
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience
Target 17: Biodiversity strategies and action plans
Target 18: Traditional knowledge
Target 19: Sharing information and knowledge
Target 20: Mobilizing resources from all sources
Sendai Framework
Target 1: Reduce global disaster mortality by 2030
Target 6: Enhance international cooperation to developing countries through adequate and sustainable support to complement their national actions for implementation of this Framework by 2030

Location

Mauritania | Mauritania, Nepal, and Seychelles
Seychelles
Nepal

Challenges

Climate change has substantial impacts in these regions. Temperatures are rising and the frequency and intensity of climate-related disasters such as floods, landslides, fires, and droughts are increasing, and local communities have limited capacity to cope with these effects.

 

There is limited information and technical capacity available for the effective implementation of EbA. This is because i) information on the long-term efficacy of adaptation interventions is not being collated, synthesized, and disseminated; ii) EbA interventions are not implemented within a rigorous scientific framework of long-term research; iii) policy and legal frameworks are not incentivizing EbA, and iv) lack of training.

 

Cross-nation and regional-scale EbA exchanges are therefore essential. However, these exchanges can be greatly constrained by the language barrier. English was the medium of collaboration although it was the second or third language of most participants. 

Beneficiaries

The communities living in coastal areas in Seychelles (in Mahé, Praslin, and Curieuse Islands), dry-land areas in Mauritania (Inchiri and Trarza provinces), and mountainous forests in Nepal (Chiti, Jita) were the project beneficiaries. 

How do the building blocks interact?

The first building block is the first step in developing a south-south cooperation project. It is essential to identify what knowledge needs to be shared and how. Countries can use an existing platform or create a new one to share. Knowledge-sharing workshops can also help facilitate collaboration between countries and make it easier to disseminate knowledge to specific stakeholders. If the use of a common language is not possible, the use of interpreters will be necessary. Field visits and workshops can also be organized to facilitate this process. 

 

Then, through the second building block, concrete technology transfer can be achieved through inter-regional capacity building, with experts and project coordinators meeting regularly through workshops, training, site visits, and conferences. This technology transfer can also be achieved by creating concrete frameworks, such as the LTRP which helped to measure the effects of EbA interventions and then share these with other countries.

Impacts

 

-          Successfully promoted South-South cooperation on EbA, mainly through exchanging knowledge and experience from China to the pilot countries and beyond, as well as peer-to-peer learning among the pilot countries. This created a community of practice for further replication and extension of the EbA approach.

-          Developed many knowledge products, such as EbA planning tools, handbook, education curriculum, good practice case studies, and lessons learned from the project.

-          A platform was built focused on sharing project approaches and outcomes, lessons, toolkits, and best practices.

-          Research programmes were established in partnership with local universities to advance eba science and measure the effects of the project’s restoration activities. Thirteen scientific papers were produced by the Nepal team, seven by Seychelles, and 11 by Mauritania.

-          The high-level Forum on South-South Cooperation on Climate Change was initiated by the project to provide an avenue for strengthening global partnerships, through cooperation among Southern partners.

Story

UNEP/Aidan Dockery

Seychelles, a nation known for exquisite beaches and turquoise waters, has been described by some as a sinking paradise.“Nowadays you can see the water coming higher. It’s climate change,” says Godfrey Albert, 48, a Seychellois fisherman from Mahe Island. “At this time of year, we’re not supposed to have rain and yet we have rain. Everything has changed.”Beyond erratic rainfall, increasing coastal storms, and rising sea levels are eroding the shorelines and flooding people’s land. For a country where 80 percent of economic activities occur in coastal regions, this poses a grave threat.

 

Gesturing towards the open sea, Albert shrugs: “I told you, man. It’s a hard life in paradise.”

These climate impacts are made even worse by the destruction of coastal mangrove forests that once surrounded many of the country’s 115 islands. Mangroves act as an extremely effective defense against coastal flooding and erosion by reducing the height and strength of waves.

The fate of the fishing industry, which along with tourism is the most important source of income in the country, is tied to mangroves. The forests provide a breeding ground for fish before going out to sea, and the organic matter trapped in the roots offers vital nutrients for many fish species.

Funded by the Global Environment Facility, a project worked with communities in Seychelles – along with Mauritania and Nepal – to use nature to adapt to the impacts of climate change, a strategy termed ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA).

The project, known as EbA South, was executed by the National Development and Reform Commission of China, through the Chinese Academy of Sciences. By planting mangroves across Seychelles, EbA South demonstrated how countries can build the resilience of local communities against storms and floods while improving local fish stocks.

The restored mangrove forests not only protect the land from the sea but also protect the sea from land by filtering out litter and sediment as it’s washed down from the mountains and into oceans. Without mangroves, the sediment covers the coral, killing fish and the local fishing businesses.

“Mangroves play a big role in the sea. They filter everything,” says Missia Dubignon, a volunteer of the Terrestrial Restoration Action Society of the Seychelles (TRASS) Trust, a partner of EbA South.

 

“Plant a tree, save a life,” says Dubignon with a smile.

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oscar ivanova United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), UNEP, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)