Why it’s needed, and how to get there

The climate and biodiversity crises are inextricably linked. Climate change represents a major driver of biodiversity loss, while the degradation of ecosystems undermines resilience — of both people and nature — to climate-related shocks and stresses.

Underpinning both crises are persistent social and gender inequalities, which increase vulnerability to risks and reduce the options available to people to sustain their livelihoods and well-being in the face of these global challenges. The way forward must enable people to build their climate resilience and realise their rights, while protecting the ecosystems upon which they depend.

Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) has emerged as a key approach to addressing the impacts of climate change in a way that reduces people’s vulnerability while also building the resilience of ecosystems. Though gender considerations are recognised as important to the success of EbA, there is limited evidence to date that EbA initiatives have systematically taken a gender-responsive approach, going beyond sensitivity to actively address gender inequalities.

The purpose of this report is twofold: to illustrate the importance of integrating gender considerations in EbA actions and to provide concrete examples of how this can be done in practice. It is designed for EbA practitioners and adaptation policy-makers, including government decision-makers and technical support staff, civil society organisations, private sector enterprises, and research institutions. The report begins with a description of the rationale for integrating gender considerations in EbA action from both a policy and a practical perspective. It then outlines what gender-responsive EbA looks like in practice, introducing a set of broadly applicable building blocks, followed by case examples that illustrate how the building blocks have been applied in different contexts. Finally, recommendations are provided to improve the practice of gender-responsive EbA going forward.

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Toward gender-responsive ecosystem-based adaptation