Integrating adaptation and mitigation - Climate Change and Forests in the Congo Basin (COBAM)

Integrating adaptation and mitigation

What are the main reasons for considering both adaptation and mitigation in forest projects?

Mitigation needs adaptation.  A REDD+ project is more likely to be sustainable and its carbon to be permanent if it integrates adaptation measures for communities and ecosystems. Integrating adaptation can also increase the local legitimacy of the project, as adaptation puts emphasis on local needs (Locatelli et al. 2011).

Adaptation needs mitigation.  An adaptation project contributing to mitigation may benefit from carbon funding and capacity building from international instruments such as REDD+. Adaptation donors may favor projects with global benefits such as mitigation, in addition to the local adaptation benefits.

What can facilitate the integration of adaptation and mitigation?
Several factors can facilitate the integration of adaptation and mitigation (Locatelli et al. 2011):

  • National policies.  For example, national authorities can approve mitigation projects only if they consider adaptation.
  • International policies.  So far adaptation and mitigation have been treated separately, even though some countries have asked that ‘adaptation measures should be developed considering […] the synergies between adaptation and mitigation, and within which REDD+ options are particularly relevant’ (UNFCCC 2009).
  • Standards. For example, the Climate Community Biodiversity Standards, which evaluate the impacts of land-based mitigation projects, explicitly integrate adaptation criteria (CCBA 2008).
  • Knowledge generation, communication and capacity-building.  Adaptation and mitigation stakeholders (practitioners, decision-makers, and scientists) form separate communities. There is a need for informing mitigation stakeholders about adaptation and vice-versa, as well as strengthening their capacities on appropriate tools and methods. There is also a need for more research: methods, tools and evidence must be produced, for example on the role of ecosystems in the adaptation of the society or on the impacts of REDD+ projects on local communities and their adaptive capacity.

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