Ecosystem Based Approach (EbA), the instrument which unites civil society and wetland ecosystems

Ecosystem Based Approach (EbA), the instrument which unites civil society and wetland ecosystems

October 16, 2018 | By REC Albania

Climate change has started to affect Albania's development. Raising sea levels and changes in precipitation intensity are challenging water supply, agriculture, fisheries, infrastructure and natural ecosystems. Extreme weather events such as droughts, floods and cyclones have a significant impact on the economy. Today their effect is tangible, ranging from families to national economic levels. According to current climate change scenarios, these impacts are expected to deteriorate in the coming decades. The need to take adaptive measures for communities or more sensitive ecosystems that may be affected is no longer a wish, but a necessity.

In response to this, all will have to start thinking about adaptation strategies, but unfortunately adjustment planning is still in its first steps. A very small part of the communities has started to seriously engage with climate impacts, weaknesses and adaptation opportunities.

Kune Vain lagoon is the ecosystem where an instrument of interest is being applied in terms of climate change adaptation. Within the project "Construction and Recovery of the Kune-Vain Lagoon", it is intended to increase the capacity of government and communities to adapt to climate change using an integrated set of adaptation interventions such as the Ecosystem-based Approach (EbA).

The Ecosystem-based Approach (EbA) is usually defined as "utilizing biodiversity and ecosystem services as part of a strategy to help people adapt to the adverse effects of climate change." This includes sustainable management, conservation and restoration of ecosystems as part of a general strategy, which takes into account many social, economic and cultural benefits for local communities.

The Ecosystem-based Approach represents a variety of natural ecosystem management approaches that use biodiversity and services / habitats as part of a comprehensive approach to helping communities and businesses in these coastal areas to better adapt to the negative effects of negative changes from climate change.

All the diversity of the management methods of this natural ecosystem but also as one of the most vulnerable systems of Albanian wetlands have been the object of two days training with civil society representatives organized in the island of Lezha. During the two training days the participants engaged in addressing issues related to the current climate change impacts in the lagoon and the implementation of adequate adaptation interventions so far.

In fact, awareness- raising regarding climate change is not a new concept for Albanian environmental NGOs. It has been one of the problems associated with increasing environmental degradation. A topic of discussion among participants was that often adaptation to climate change is described as a holistic approach, where adaptation objectives will have to include the programs / agendas of all interest groups. Climate change risks cannot be analyzed through divided initiatives, but are an integral part of ongoing policies, planning and activities in all sectors where the role of civil society organizations is essential. NGOs often have the potential to overcome the boundaries and represent a collective interest in large-scale solutions for climate change issues, however, they do not have governmental authority and should work within their field, though often complex.

During the training, some of the guidelines and best practices were identified in the climate adaptation planning processes, focusing particularly on their efficiency in engaging the wider community and addressing the needs of all residents, in particular of the most vulnerable ones.