Management - adaptation

Having identified the potential effects of climate change and its response measures on biodiversity, and having assessed the vulnerability and capacity of various ecosystems and species to adapt to these effects (see “Assessment” section), this section focuses on the process of effective adaptation.  Activity 1 starts with the overarching principle of promoting biological diversity in adaptation measures.  Activity 2 provides specific justification for promoting biological diversity in adaptation measures, as it shows the role of ecosystems, particularly wetlands, in adaptation. The activity concentrates on Ramsar COP 8 decisions that that treat the value of wetlands in mitigating the impacts of sea-level rise and the role of coastal wetlands in flood and natural hazard management. After the role of ecosystems in adaptation is recognized, Activity 3 calls for the incorporation of these recognized values in policies and planning decisions, particularly in planning and decision-making in the coastal zone. Activity 4 speaks of the development of adaptation actions, using the national adaptation plans of action under the UNFCCC as the umbrella and setting out complementary obligations under the Ramsar Convention and the CBD that could form part of key adaptation measures. Once these adaptation options have been explored, Activity 5 suggests that these options be assessed.  Component 1 speaks of assessment of options in general, and Components 2, 3 and 4 set out obligations for the assessment of specific adaptation options for protected areas, coastal wetlands and coral reefs, respectively. Activity 6 lists the obligations that relate to maintaining or enhancing resilience of natural ecosystems, starting off, in Component 1, with the maintenance of resilience in natural ecosystems in general, and listing particular systems and species in the subsequent components (marine and coastal zones, water resources and agriculture, areas affected by drought, desertification and floods, wetlands, mountain ecosystems, migratory species, forest ecosystems, protected areas and dry and sub-humid lands). Societal resilience is singled out in Activity 7, followed by the obligation, in Activity 8, to restore those systems that become degraded due to climate change and its effects. Activity 9 returns to the theme of effects of climate change response measures on biodiversity, calling for the minimization of the adverse effects of such actions on the environment. To make adaptation actions more effective, Activity 10 dwells on obligations relating to the integration of adaptation measures into other policies and strategies.

The section demonstrates the multiple interlinkages in adaptation-related obligations under the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol, the CBD, UNCCD, the Ramsar Convention and CMS. WHC Decisions coming out of the 29th meeting of the World Heritage Committee (July 2005) as well as the WHC Operational Guidelines also find their place in this section, since the Committee has formally set in place a process for looking at the impacts of climate change on world heritage properties.