Review highlights opportunities for joined-up action on climate adaptation and invasive species management

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01 March 2022, Pakistan: A CABI-led review has found there are opportunities for increased policy coordination to achieve win-win results for both climate adaptation and Invasive Species Management (ISM) in Pakistan, Zambia, Kenya and Ghana.

The paper, authored by Jonathan Casey, CABI’s Climate Change Manager, explored existing interlinkages across national planning processes for ISM, national climate change adaptation plans (NAPs), national biodiversity management plans (NBSAPs) and other related policies in the aforementioned countries.

In aiming to identify policy recommendations for more integrated approaches and to achieve greater efficiency in resource allocation and spending, the review finds that there is currently very little integration between these policy areas, and little overlap in implementation systems.

Published in the CABI Agriculture and Bioscience journal, Mr Casey’s study identifies sub-national planning and governance systems as an optimal area for increased integration of policy and practice to facilitate locally-led climate adaptation and area-specific responses to ISM issues.

Mr Casey said, “Although these two issues of biotic and abiotic stresses both pose serious threats now and in the future to food security, ecosystem integrity, and water availability for the same stakeholders—particularly smallholder farmers—they are mostly treated as separate issues in current policy and practice in the four countries studied.”

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He adds that climate change is seen as something that can and should be mainstreamed across most sectors and ministries, whereas ISM is typically delegated to specific specialist units.

This is despite the findings of the IPCC’s 6th Assessment Report (AR6) which highlights the deep interconnections between climate and biodiversity. It notes the need to conserve and restore 30-50% of land and aquatic ecosystems to help cope with the impacts of climate change, adding that negative trends “can still be reversed by restoring, rebuilding and strengthening ecosystems and by managing them sustainably.”

The need to value local perspectives in developing ‘nature-based solutions’ to invasive species management and climate adaptation is crucial to developing appropriate strategies which minimize trade-offs. Such approaches also offer opportunities to enhance women’s economic empowerment, a common policy focus across the four countries included in the study.

These findings are reflected in the recent IPCC AR6 report, where it states that, “Potential benefits and avoidance of harm are maximized when Nature-based Solutions with safeguards are deployed in the right places and with the right approaches for that area, with inclusive governance.”

Mr Casey added, “Ultimately, there is little evidence that there would be significant avoidance of duplicated activities through more coordinated action and strategies; but there may be greater policy coherence—and potential for greater financing for ISM—through climate adaptation funding, particularly in the areas of natural resource management, and early warning systems.

“As countries look to develop new biodiversity action plans, and submit enhanced climate action NDCs to meet Paris Agreement goals, there is an opportunity for more coordinated policy approaches and implementation strategies for these two intrinsically linked areas of natural resources management.”

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