Ecosystem-based Adaptation practices shared at COP24

  • 27 December 2018  |  News

The 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, COP24, was held during 2-14 December 2018 in Katowice, Poland. The conference was tasked with finalizing the implementation guidelines for the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement.The representatives of UNEP-IEMP participated in the side events to share the knowledge and experience on climate adaptation.

On 6 December 2018, UNEP-IEMP participated in a side event titled “Emerging Biocultural Innovations for Enhancing Agrobiodiversity, Food Security, and Climate Resilience”. The side event was organized by the China Association for Science and Technology, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science, the Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy, and the Association ANDES (Asociación para la Naturaleza y Desarrollo Sostenible) based in Peru.

Dr. Jian Liu, Chief Scientist of UN Environment and former Director of UNEP-IEMP, gave the opening remarks at the side event. Speakers of the side event included Dr. Yiching Song, a researcher from UNEP-IEMP and the Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy, Professor Yinlong Xu, from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science, Professor Zongwen Zhang, of the BiodiversityInternationalChina Office, and Dr. Alejandro Argumedo of the Association ANDES(Peru). The speakers presented their cases and experiences of adopting landscape and living lab approaches to support biocultural innovations which link science to community-based adaptation—including community seed banks, participatory plant breeding, and so onin the Himalayan and Andean mountainous areasto enhance agrobiodiversity and livelihood resilience for climate adaptation.

In particular, Dr. Yiching Song shared the work of Ecosystem-based Adaptation through South-South Cooperation (EbA South) with the participants, a project which had been implemented by UNEP-IEMP. The ecosystem-based approach to adaptation is a powerful tool which can both tackle climate change risks and alleviate poverty while promoting transformative, sustainable, and diversified agroecological systems. Based on the existing EbA success stories, China has an opportunity to invest in and incorporate EbA into its policies for agriculture, poverty alleviation, and others by harnessing EbA approaches, such as participatory planting breeding to promote sustainable and inclusive agricultural production. Dr. Song presented a typical case study on EbA in Stone Village, an old Naxi community in Yunnan Province, China, which demonstrates the farmers’ seed system enhancements and traditional knowledge revitalization for climate change adaptation in mountainous farming communities of Southwest China.

On 13 December 2018, anotherside event with focus on the milestones of ‘Future Earth’ in China and pathways for Paris Agreement targetswas co-hosted  by the Chinese National Committee for Future Earth, the China Association for Science and Technology, Sun Yat-sen University, the Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development in Agriculture, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and the Association ANDES (Peru). At the side event, Ms. Diwen Tan, EbA South Project Co-Manager, gave a presentation on how to apply nature-based solutions to help adapt to climate change, particularly in the context of South-South cooperation. The presentation drew on records of the impacts on the local people in one project pilot country, Nepal, to highlight the importance of stakeholder inclusion and documenting lessons to ensure long-term sustainability. The subsequent discussion session covered topics on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), gender balance, and science for policy making. Prof. Dahe Qin, academician from both the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), highlighted that China has been devoted to encouraging green technologies and scientific research in developing countries. Through South-South cooperation, CAS overseas institutes were established for research and education in Nepal, Sri Lanka, and seven other countries. 

In addition, a project poster was displayed during the first week at the conference, taking the opportunity to exhibit activities and other side events (e.g. Enhancing Agrobiodiversity, Food Security for Livelihood and Climate Resilience), knowledge sharing, lessons learned, and best practices for Ecosystem-based Adaptation with the broader audience.