Consideration of climate change vulnerability and ecosystem services in Duque de Caxias’ municipal master plan (Brazil)

Data collection
Published: 01 December 2016
Last edited: 09 July 2019
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In the process of revising its municipal master plan, the city of Duque de Caxias decided to include both climate change vulnerability and ecosystem services mapping in its diagnosis. This is expected to lay the foundation for incorporating more EbA measures in the master plan. Both assessments used a participative approach, in order to strengthen capacities and complete missing quantitative data.


South America
Scale of implementation
Forest ecosystems
Green spaces (parks, gardens, urban forests)
Marine and coastal ecosystems
Tropical evergreen forest
Urban ecosystem and build environment
Land management
Outreach & communications
Urban planning
Erratic rainfall
Increasing temperatures
Sea level rise
Shift of seasons
Sustainable development goals
SDG 6 – Clean water and sanitation
SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 15 – Life on land
Aichi targets
Target 2: Biodiversity values integrated
Target 14: Ecosystem services
Target 17: Biodiversity strategies and action plans
Target 19: Sharing information and knowledge
Sendai Framework
Target 2: Reduce the number of affected people globally by 2030


Duque de Caxias - State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


The main challenge has been missing dialogue between stakeholders at municipal level, as well as the lack of quantitative climate, biophysical and socioeconomic data. In addition, the lack of personnel and time constraints from municipal employees proved to be a major challenge. Finally, an additional challenge is high-level political back-up to include the technical recommendations with regard to climate change and ecosystem services risks in the final document of the municipal master plan.


All sectors in the municipality, with a special focus on vulnerable population.

How do the building blocks interact?

The three building blocks complement and mutually reinforce each other. Building block three (Stakeholder engagement and capacity development “on the run”) can be considered cross-cutting. It creates the conditions for a successful process in terms of participation, decision-making, human and institutional capacities and resources. Building blocks one (Participatory vulnerability assessment) and two (Mapping of key ecosystem services) deliver key technical information and findings and subsequently build the basis for decision-making on (ecosystem-based) adaptation.


Vulnerability to climate change and the flow of ecosystem services have been considered during the revision process. It is expected that more ecosystem-based adaptation measures will be included in the plan. Possible measures include more efforts to conserve the Atlantic Forest, wetlands, and mangroves in order to, e.g., enhance the provision of drinking water and reduce coastal erosion due to sea-level rise. Forest restoration and conservation on mountain slopes shall act as a natural barrier to reduce increasing landslide risk.


The process of discussing climate change vulnerability and ecosystem services also proved to be the first topic in years to gather participants from different municipal secretariats: as climate change is impacting different sectors, and knowledge about how to deal with this issue is not existent, a climate change working group of different secretariats was established, pursuing to plan common action.


The city of Duque de Caxias is suffering from a series of climate and non-climate related pressures, such as floods, coastal erosion, salt-water intrusion, extreme heat and a chronic lack of drinking water.


The upcoming revision process of the municipal master plan was therefore seen as an opportunity to better address the risks from current and future pressures associated with climate change and ecosystem services. Subsequently, appropriate approaches and tools were necessary to incorporate these new features systematically in the planning procedure. In order to do so, the city’s municipal administration was assisted by two international cooperation projects, implemented by the Brazilian Ministry of Environment and GIZ (via IKI/BMUB).


Initially, technicians of the municipality participated in a training on EbA and land-use planning, as well as in the concepts of ecosystem services (ES) and how to use the Integration of Ecosystem Services (ISE) approach in the planning process. Subsequently, the Municipal Department of Planning invited several stakeholders (incl. eight other municipal secretariats) to be trained on climate change adaptation and to design an action plan for the following steps:


  1. An ecosystem services mapping applying the matrix model, which is a social valuation of ecosystem services that collects both expert and local knowledge through an expert elicitation within a defined region. This method was combined with participative mappings, done within the same interview. The resulting maps highlight areas relevant for the provision of 9 different ecosystem services, as well as drivers for the decrease of ecosystem service provision. Results of ES mapping offer new perceptions regarding ES and their values as well as expected tendencies in the future and respond to the need of local decision-makers for spatial explicit information.
  2. A participative climate change vulnerability assessment. While only very little quantitative data was available, the team decided for a mainly qualitative approach that included a strong capacity development momentum. An introductory workshop served to sensitize participants about the importance of considering climate change into planning and related terminology. On that basis, a vulnerability assessment on local level was conducted. The results include information on vulnerability and risks, a mapping of sensitive areas, and potential (ecosystem-based) adaptation measures.

Contributed by

armin.deitenbach_35843's picture

Armin Deitenbach Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Other contributors

Municipality of Duque de Caxias