The Conservation Standards-based method for planning and implementing Ecosystem-based Adaptation strategies

Full Solution
Mountain Landscape Bartang valley Tajikistan
GIZ - CAMP Tabiat

Conservation Standards Applied to EbA is a product of collaboration between the Central Asian project team lead by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH working on EbA and the Climate Guidance Working Group of the Conservation Measures Partnership (CMP). The method builds on the already widely used Conservation Measures Partnership’s Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation (Conservation Standards) to propose a way for designing, implementing and learning from EbA interventions. CMP and GIZ have worked together to develop this method based on an EbA project in Central Asia, but aimed at a global audience of EbA practitioners and the communities with which they work. 

Dernière modification 02 Jul 2020
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Challenges addressed
Erratic rainfall
Glacial retreat
Increasing temperatures
Land and Forest degradation
Shift of seasons
Ecosystem loss
Lack of alternative income opportunities
Poor monitoring and enforcement
Poor governance and participation
Unemployment / poverty

The policy approach to natural resource management in Central Asia still follows a top down approach, which is not able to provide localized and tailored solutions to the negative impacts of climate change. Local government structures are not equipped with sufficient financial resources and often lack capacities in order to create comprehensive management plans that incorporate climate information. The diverse ecosystems in the high mountainous regions of Central Asia provide essential goods and services, such as clean water, forest products, protection against natural disasters. However, inappropriate land management practices coupled with climate change impacts pose a severe threat to the sensitive ecosystems and have already led to increasing degradation. The EbA method outlined here helps to overcome these problems with an integrated approach that also takes Capacity Development into account. Climate information and nature based solutions help people to adapt to climate change.


Scale of implementation
Rangeland / Pasture
Cold desert
Temperate deciduous forest
River, stream
Wetland (swamp, marsh, peatland)
Tundra or montane grassland
Disaster risk reduction
Ecosystem services
Sustainable livelihoods
Land management
Forest Management
Water provision and management
Bartang, Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province, Tajikistan
North and Central Asia
Summary of the process

The presented Building Blocks are steps within the developed EbA Method.  BB 1 represents Steps 2-4, whereas BB 2 focuses on Step 5. Through the application of the, in total, 13 Steps, you develop an understanding of how community livelihoods and well-being depend on ecosystem services. With this understanding, you document observed and likely climate change impacts on the ecosystems providing those essential services. Next, you examine the relationships between climate change and other, conventional threats, identify the socioeconomic factors contributing to the threats, and define adaptation interventions. You then define how you believe that these interventions will address the full range of climate and non-climate threats and contribute to conserving or restoring the ecosystems on which people depend (their “theory of change”). Further, you can use the CoSEbA method to determine how to monitor and evaluate progress toward your goals and objectives, to ensure adaptive management and ongoing learning. Through the adoption of EbA interventions, you can improve communities’ natural resource use practices and enhance the health of ecosystems and provision of ecosystem services, while reducing climate vulnerability.

Building Blocks
Participatory Vulnerability Assessments as a basis for EbA planning

This stage of the process aims at assessing information on conventional (non-climatic) vulnerabilities of people and ecosystems. Surveys in four villages in Kyrgyzstan’s Naryn province and Tajikistan’s West-Pamiri Bartang Valley addressed the following issues:

• Ecosystem services used by the local population and their spatial and temporal distribution

• Availability of ecosystem services, ecosystem health and function, and perceived changes

• Vulnerability of livelihoods and the link to the status and availability of ecosystem services

• Perception of climate change and its effects on the availability of ecosystem services

• Assessment of legal / institutional / administrative/ technical and information deficits relevant for EbA in the area

The field work started with village workshops to introduce the project, identify key stakeholders as well as interests and needs of village residents. Information was collected by means of interview with residents and key informants, group discussions, field surveys (village walks, mapping, sampling) and participatory resource mapping. To assess overall vulnerability, the availability of ecosystem services and their contribution to local livelihoods is comparatively ranked.

Enabling factors

• Detailed scoping (Step 1) before the assessment: choosing the community, (pre)identifying livelihood strategies, ecosystem services and the respective ecosystems

• Participatory approach involving villagers and key informants

• Conducting village workshops in a simple language (beyond project terminology)

Lesson learned

• A stand-alone VA conducted by external experts should be avoided. Most of the information necessary for further planning cannot be retrieved from reports only.

• The developed EbA method comprises a full-fledged vulnerability assessment: Step 1-4 (scoping and identification of conventional threats), Step 5 (climate perspective), Step 6 (threat prioritization) and Step 7 (summarize situation).

• Identifying vulnerabilities of people is rather straightforward. However, identifying the vulnerabilities of relevant ecosystems and making sure that nature itself is able to adapt poses a challenge due to lack of data and time constraints.

• Social disparities make climate vulnerability a socially driven vulnerability of livelihood. An unequal access to water will increase the social vulnerability of livelihood. An EbA strategy will have to address a socially compensating access to the resource.

• Scoping: an extension of the project zone in order to cover the complete life cycle (e.g. summer pasture) of the target population is important.

Integrating climate information into local planning

Seasonal (based on seasons defined by the communities according to predominant livelihood strategies with the help of an ecological calendar) and annual temperature and precipitation projections for the near future were developed for specific sites, namely Bash Kaiyndy/ Naryn District in Kyrgyzstan and two villages in the Bartang Valley of the Tajikistan Pamir region. Two time slices were developed to represent 30-year averages - 2020s (2011-2040) and 2050s (2041-2070) - and change factors were calculated relative to 1980-2005 modeled base periods. Presenting the projections as a range most accurately represents possible future climate conditions for decision-makers and planners applying a risk-based approach to climate change adaptation and resiliency. To consider inherent uncertainties in climate models, scenarios for future vulnerabilities are discussed and selected together with the community. Derived from the scenarios, climate change related threats complete the picture of the situation analysis, and future vulnerabilities can be prioritized through rating of conventional and climate change related threats.

Enabling factors
  • Kyrgyz villages have weather station data to support baseline information. Future absolute values could be estimated.
  • Ecological calendar exercise conducted with local communities to define distribution of seasons according to predominant livelihood strategies
  • Strong exchange between climate scientist and local implementing partners and community
  • Strong facilitation skills when communicating future scenarios to the community
Lesson learned
  • Building the bridge between science and local development by integrating local perception into the projection modelling and through participatory scenario planning with the community has been very successful.
  • When introducing the idea of climate change during workshops, there might be a danger to present climate change as the cause of all environmental problems. Careful explanation and definition of climate change is essential.
  • Adapting climate projections for the specific audience (e.g. government officials, local villagers) is crucial.
  • Pre-workshops / discussions with various informants familiar with the project area and local villagers yielded useful information and a more complete picture of the ecological and economic context of the assessment.
  • Workshops are generally not a productive forum for technical debates about the validity of climate projections and statistics. It is helpful to focus on communicating climate impacts and hazards, rather than technicalities.

Together with local communities, innovative processes of climate change adaptation planning have been launched. The participatory application of the method provided clarity to local stakeholders on the potential conventional and climate change related threats as well as adaptive capacities of local communities and ecosystems towards current and long-term climate change trends. It allowed to identify the most promising adaptation options robust to different climate scenarios, primarily focusing on improved pasture and forest management as well as water conservation measures. Additionally, households have been introduced to alternative income opportunities, such as tourism and fruit processing. The level of knowledge of local authorities, specialists of public sector institutions, and the local population about climate change issues and the need to adapt with nature-based solutions has been improved through communication and environmental education. The capacity of village institutions has been strengthened to flexibly plan the management of natural resources and make decisions on conservation and restoration of biodiversity. Local authorities and village institutions are now familiar with the features of decision-making under a changing climate (scenario planning). These joint measures will enable residents of high mountainous regions to better adapt to climate change.


Primary beneficiaries are communities in the pilot watersheds. The EbA method will also be enshrined in the strategic planning documents at national and regional level and in the planning of major international partners.

Sustainable Development Goals
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 15 – Life on land
Teacher Navruzmamad Bodurov

Navruzmamad Bodurov is 46 years old, and almost all his life he lived in the village of Siponj of the Bartang Valley,Tajikistan. “I have been working as a teacher for 20 years in our rural school. I also started beekeeping, which brings a certain income to our family. I also work as a volunteer manager in our rural organization. I am doing this work, to contribute to the development of our community. I would like to give people hope for a better future and show them a successful example. Our village is rich in water, land and pastures. These resources are very important for us. The main sources of income for the local population, in addition to the remittances of our labor migrants, are agriculture and livestock. To improve the lives of fellow villagers, it is necessary to develop a more effective agriculture and livestock system, involving specialists in those fields. I really wish that our children will have a better life than us.”

Connexion avec les contributeurs
Other contributors
Paul Schumacher
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH