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Ecosystem based adaptation emerges in Copenhagen proposal


Despite slow developments on decisions for appropriate financing for protecting the most vulnerable countries against the impacts of climate change, some positive news can be reported by the Wetlands International team working on Adaptation in Copenhagen.  The value of ecosystems for climate change adaptation is now explicitely recognised in the draft text for a new climate deal.


Recognition of role ecosystems

First steps to recognize the role of ecosystems such as wetlands in climate change responses have started to appear in the negotiations text on ‘enhanced action on adaptation’. The latest version of the draft text which was released early this morning clearly identifies ‘ecological systems’ for ‘building resillience’. This recognition is a great step towards a climate change adaptation programme that protects and restores ecosytems like wetlands to attenuate the impacts of climate change.


There is also recognition that adaptation measures, like water infrastructures (e.g. dams) to reduce river floods, may have adverse impacts. This is further complemented by text that shows recognition of the need for assessing and evaluating adaptation measures and to attenuate adverse impacts. Also transboundary impacts of adaptation measures are recognised. This recognition is a step towards preventing support to for instance dams in rivers, with major downstream impacts.

First steps towards wetland - adaptation projects

Although these text options are still proposals and appear mostly in [bracketed] text; these is good hope that this will become final; hopefully with some sort of approval during the Copenhagen summit. These are great building blocks for Wetlands International to find support among countries, donors and partners for the conservation and restoration of wetlands as an effective climate change response. It provides a great also a great opportunity to use the knowledge and experiences from our demonstration projects under the WLP adaptation program.

Wetlands International will also be involved in platforms within the UN Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) to feed our knowledge into. This concerns the Nairobi Working Group, which disseminates knowledge and information on adaptation including outcomes of programme implementation among Parties and other stakeholders. In addition it was decided today that a Copenhagen Adaptation Committee will be established which will function as an Advisory Body on Adaptation to the Conference of Parties.

The Adaptation team of Wetlands International in Copenhagen consists of Pieter van Eijk - WLP adaptation campaign coordinator WI HQ, Papa Mawade Wade - policy officer for WI Africa Wade and also part of the Senegal climate delegation, Kemi Seesink - policy officer WI HQ and Alex Kaat, responsible for overall policy and communications at WI.

Visit our website for more information on our work on Adaptation, videos and latest publications, see

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