Guide to strengthening governance arrangements for mainstreaming and scaling up Ecosystem-based Adaptation

CLIMA serves as an analytical framework on policy, legal and institutional arrangements related to Ecosystem-based Adaptation. It aims to mainstreaming and scaling up EbA at national level, through identifying governance gaps and challenges, making recommendations and supporting the development and implementation of a roadmap to address those challenges.

Two versions of this tool have been developed:

  1. The abbreviated version, which is presented as an indicative list of 16 questions to guide policy makers, EbA practitioners or academics in the overall governance analysis related to EbA.
  2. The extended version, which comprises more than 100 guiding questions, is aimed at professional and multidisciplinary teams who want to carry out an in-depth assessment of governance arrangements for climate change adaptation, bearing special attention to the integration of the ecosystem approach.
Start with the abbreviated version of CLIMA

CLIMA is built on the 16 Governance Principles for EbA developed by IUCN Environmental Law Centre (ELC). These principles are grouped into 5 large blocks to ease their understanding and use:

This block aims to guide the integration of main elements of adaptive management into legal frameworks. The principles that promote flexibility are:

  • Principle 1. Promote the adoption of monitoring processes and periodic evaluation of policies and regulatory frameworks related to climate change, the management of natural resources and other relevant sectors.
  • Principle 2: Promote appropriate mechanisms for the integration of scientific information and traditional and local knowledge for decision-making.
  • Principle 3: Encourage the adoption of innovative ecosystem management practices to increase their and peoples’ resilience.
A block consisting of three principles that guide policymakers and/or legislators in the creation or adjustment of effective institutions and mechanisms for cross-sectoral and multilevel coordination for climate change adaptation and ecosystem management.

The principles promoted by multidimensional coordination are:

  • Principle 4: Encourage institutional coordination among priority sectors for ecosystem adaptation to climate change and ecosystem management with the objective to promote enhance policy coherence and regulatory effectiveness.
  • Principle 5: Promote the coordination between different levels of decision-making in accordance with the appropriate scales for an integrated ecosystem management.
  • Principle 6: Encourage the decentralization of ecosystem management at the most appropriate level in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity.
A block consisting of three principles that guide the integration of ecosystem services and their management according to their carrying capacity in the context of climate change as part of the relevant policies and laws.

The principles that promote the integration of the ecosystem approach are:

  • Principle 7: Encourage ecosystems connectivity in policies and laws with the aim to reduce vulnerability and increase resilience of the social, productive and environmental systems to deal with climate change.
  • Principle 8: Adopt the necessary measures to prevent, manage and mitigate the effects of climate change on people, ecosystems and their services, as well as to restore them where appropriate.
  • Principle 9: Guarantee the sustainable use of ecosystem services and the fair and equitable distribution of environmental assets and liabilities.
A block consisting of three principles that promote rights-based approaches to conservation and adaptation to climate change, with special regard to the rights of indigenous peoples, women and other vulnerable groups.

The principles that promote public participation and equity are:

  • Principle 10: Guarantee the human right to a healthy environment and procedural environmental rights.
  • Principle 11: Ensure collective and individual rights of indigenous peoples to their natural resources.
  • Principle 12: Establish the necessary mechanisms to promote gender equity and the participation of young people and vulnerable groups in decision-making and its implementation.
A block consisting of four cross-cutting principles that support the effectiveness and efficiency of any adaptation strategy. In addition, this block seeks to guide principles and safeguards to find a balance between flexibility, on the one hand, and security and legal stability on the other hand.

The principles that promote the effectiveness and efficiency of the AbE are:

  • Principle 13: Strengthen the capacities of key actors regarding issues inherent to adaptation to climate change in order to improve decision-making and its implementation.
  • Principle 14: Ensure the mobilisation and allocation of financial resources for sustainable management, conservation and restoration of ecosystems with the aim of adaptation to climate change in an efficient, transparent and timely manner.
  • Principle 15: Establish clear guidelines for weighing and balancing the different interests linked to the use of ecosystems and their services.
  • Principle 16: Establish and facilitate access to judicial and non-judicial remedies to ensure law enforcement and the resolution of potential conflicts over natural resources.
CLIMA can be used to:

  • Perform an initial diagnosis of existing policy, legal and institutional frameworks relevant to the AbE.
  • Promote multi-actor dialogues to design and implement action plans to strengthen governance arrangements for mainstreaming and scaling up EbA.
  • Ease integration of the ecosystem approach into other national planning and policymaking, such as the National Development Plans, NDC review and NAP formulation and update.
  • Facilitate the strategic allocation of international and national financial resources for adaptation to climate change.
  • Facilitate comparative analyses for cross-border governance of shared ecosystems in order to promote joint actions on climate change adaptation.

CLIMA is conceived and designed to be used by public officials, professionals in the field of adaptation and/or nature conservation, environmentally concerned civil society organizations and academics who want to study regulatory frameworks for ecosystem-based adaptation.

Methodology strengthening governance arrangements for EbA

To strengthen governance arrangements, this tool proposes, a total of 9 steps are established through 3 different phases: (i) preparation; (ii) evaluation; (iii) action.

A. Preparatory phase

Se recomienda identificar y tener disponible la normativa jurídica y programática con incidencia en la adaptación al cambio climático y en los ecosistemas. Este material puede buscarse en bases de datos electrónicas o páginas oficiales de secretarías, ministerios o agencias relevantes para la gestión ambiental y cambio climático.  A continuación, se enlista a modo de ejemplo normativa que le ayudará a recopilar la información necesaria para responder la encuesta CLIMA.

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Identificación de la normativa relevante para la AbE
Materia Ejemplos de normativa
Leyes y programas en materia de planeación y cambio climático
  • Constitución
  • Contribuciones Determinadas a Nivel Nacional (NDC)
  • Estrategia y Plan de Acción Nacional para la Biodiversidad
  • Planes/estrategias nacionales de planeación
  • Planes y estrategias de cambio climático/adaptación
  • Leyes de Planeación
  • Leyes de Protección ambiental o recursos naturales
  • Leyes de cambio climático
  • Planes y estrategias sectoriales

Leyes y programas en materia de gestión de riesgos de desastres
  • Leyes de asentamientos humanos
  • Leyes humanitarias
  • Ley de ordenamiento territorial y desarrollo urbano
  • Leyes de protección civil

Leyes y programas en materia de medio ambiente, recursos naturales y biodiversidad
  • Leyes agrarias
  • Leyes de aguas
  • Leyes de biodiversidad
  • Leyes de desarrollo forestal
  • Leyes de desarrollo rural
  • Leyes de pesca y acuacultura
  • Leyes de responsabilidad ambiental
  • Leyes de sustentabilidad ambiental
  • Leyes de vida silvestre
  • Leyes de la calidad del aire y protección a la atmósfera
  • Leyes marco de medio ambiente
  • Ley para la conservación y restauración de las tierras
  • Ley para la gestión integral y sustentable de las costas/bosques

Leyes y programas con incidencia en el marco institucional
  • Leyes de la administración pública

Leyes y programas con incidencia en la financiación
  • Leyes financieras del sector privado (por ejemplo, bancos, casas de bolsa, aseguradoras, afianzadoras, arrendadoras financieras, sociedades de objeto múltiple)
  • Leyes de finanzas públicas (leyes de ingresos/ejercicios fiscales; presupuesto de egresos del año fiscal; código fiscal; leyes de impuestos; fondos gubernamentales; leyes relativas a la deuda pública)
  • Leyes de instituciones de seguros, fondos y fideicomisos
  • Leyes sobre los contratos de seguros

Leyes y programas con incidencia en la rendición de cuentas
  • Leyes de contabilidad gubernamental
  • Leyes de fiscalización y rendición de cuentas
  • Leyes de ingresos
  • Ley de presupuestos y responsabilidad hacendaria
  • Leyes de responsabilidades de los servidores públicos
  • Leyes de transparencia y acceso a la información pública

Leyes y programas transversales
  • Códigos civiles
  • Códigos penales
  • Leyes relativas a los derechos de los pueblos indígenas
  • Leyes sobre la igualdad de género
  • Leyes sobre responsabilidad ambiental

Figura 4. Normativa con incidencia en la AbE (Elaboración propia)

La normativa recopilada deberá ser local, regional o nacional dependiendo del nivel y alcance de la evaluación.

It is suggested to form a multidisciplinary task force, including specialists on law, economics and environmental management. . A team composed of 3 or 4 persons is recommended to obtain a more comprehensive evaluation and facilitate the use of CLIMA. While an initial desk analysis could be developed by a legal team, an assessment on the effectiveness of existing governance arrangements could benefit from the support of other disciplines and expertise.

You are invited to familiarise yourself in advance with key EbA concepts, blocks and principles contained in each of them. To answer the questions, it is preferable to have general knowledge about the policy, legal and institutional frameworks related to adaptation, climate change and ecosystem management. If you want to carry out a deeper analysis, it is recommended to consult, in addition to the normative frameworks, relevant academic and professional literature on the subject. The use of empirical reports, research and studies may provide a more comprehensive assessment.

It is suggested to define the objectives and scope of the self-assessment. Possible objectives are:

  • Comply with country commitments under Paris Agreements regarding to Adaptation to climate change.
  • Replicate and scale up pilot EbA experiences to sub-national or national levels.
  • Improve effectiveness and efficiency of interventions for nature conservation, ecosystem restoration or other, while promoting adaptation to climate change.
  • Promote collective thinking and share experiences on adaptation to climate change.
  • Reduce the information gap between governments and stakeholders to foster learning and raise awareness regarding the benefits of the governance system.

The scope can be: national, subnational or local.

B.  Evaluation phase

The user is invited to complete a questionnaire of 16 indicative questions with three possible answers and a space to explain the selected answer. The possible answers are identical to all cases:

  • Yes. It is suggested to be used when there is a regulatory framework that provides or mentions the element analysed.
  • No. It is recommended to choose this response to indicate that there is a gap in the policy or law, or that there is a gap concerning this element.
  • Partially. This answer should be used to indicate that the user does not feel confident in asserting whether such an element exists in the regulatory framework, either because it is not clear or explicit in the regulations, because only one part is met or only to a certain extent or, although the element forms part of the regulatory framework, it is not effective.

The user is asked to answer all CLIMA questions to obtain a general diagnosis of governance agreements and to include a brief explanation of their response, as this will be the one that will allow to identify gaps and opportunities for improvement.


C. Action phase

It is recommended to analyze and discuss the results of each CLIMA block or section in a participatory process. Promote multi-stakeholder dialogues to discuss the  diagnosis results as well as potential solutions to address the existing gaps. These dialogues can help to prioritize certain areas of reform, define a long term vision, timing and make agreements between actors on their role and commitments in the process to reform to foster adaptation to climate change.

In short the dialogues are aimed to collectively decide a “what” should be done and “who” should lead and support mainstreaming and scaling up EbA measures. It is important to align or integrate this process to any other in course, for example, Nationally Determined Contributions review or National Adaptation Plan formulation or update.

It is suggested to develop an Action Plan to strengthen policy, legal and institutional frameworks in order to mainstream and scale up adaptation to climate change, with an ecosystem approach.  It consists in linking diagnostics to action, for which it is recommended to define a strategy, Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic and Timebound (SMART) objectives and actions.

It is advisable to establish:

  • A clearly defined “theory of change”: make a clear link between the actions proposed and how will they contribute to attaining the objectives and results desired.
  • A timeline or schedule the schedule for its implementation.
  • Leading and supporting institutions and actors, with clearly defined responsibilities.
  • Synergies with other processes and plans.
  • A funding strategy: define a mix of sources for financing adaptation actions and, if possible, identify options to foster private investment in adapation.

It is recommended to design criteria to monitor progress over time, as well as attainment of the expected results. The first evaluation can serve as a baseline for future evaluations. It is also advisable to maintain a constant and open dialogue between the agents involved throughout the implementation of the Action Plan.

Share your experience to improve governance related to EbA

In addition to promote a learning process that leads to action, CLIMA invites users to share the experiences and knowledge acquired. Sharing experiences allows you to identify the best solutions at local and regional levels and encourage them to learn on other levels.

With this regard, it is possible to point out some already existing and functioning networks that share experiences on adaptation. PANORAMA is an association that has created a platform that contains documents, examples of replicable solutions in conservation and development issues, allowing learning and encouraging reflection. The Knowledge Adaptation Platform of the CMNUCC provides free and open access to an adaptation database and to resources including case studies, methodologies, instruments, publications and technical documents among others.

It is also advisable to look for the most appropriate means according to the needs and capacities of each country, community, municipality, such as fairs, well attended events and the use of social networks.