ALivE Tool Enables Effective Ecosystem-based Adaption
Photo by Luis Del Río Camacho
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The tool helps users understand their local context, assess risks to their ecosystems and livelihoods, identify and prioritize eco-system based adaptation measures, design projects to facilitate their implementation, and build a framework to monitor progress.

An accompanying manual guides users through the tool’s features.

20 July 2018: The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP, or UN Environment), in collaboration with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), have published the Adaptation, Livelihoods and Ecosystems (ALivE) Planning Tool. The tool allows users to assess and prioritize ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) options in a broader planning process.

The accompanying user manual offers guidance on how to apply the tool, and identifies entry points for integrating EbA into policies and planning processes.

The tool responds to the need to prepare livelihood sustaining ecosystems for climate impacts. It is aimed primarily at “users” such as project managers and practitioners working at the local level, and is intended to be applied in the design phase of adaptation projects that have already established an objective to integrate EbA options.

The tool is organized into five steps spread over three modules, and can be applied by non-experts in any ecosystem. Under the first module on the roles and trends of ecosystem services, linkages to livelihoods and the impacts of climatic and non-climatic stressors, users can better understand contextual factors and analyze risks to ecosystems and livelihoods. The second module identifies and prioritizes feasible EbA options, and facilitates the design of project activities to support their implementation. The third module and final step identifies a framework to monitor and evaluate the EbA options.

ALivE is intended to be applied in the design phase of adaptation projects that have already established an objective to integrate EbA options.

The ALivE user manual provides background information on how climate change affects ecosystems, and the types of ecosystem services that support climate change adaptation. It distinguishes EbA from other approaches, and outlines three phases for using the tool: 1) gathering and compiling the necessary information to feed into the tool; 2) analyzing the information using the above steps and modules; and 3) integrating EbA into policies and planning. Developing a strategy for influence using the tool’s outputs, the manual notes, necessitates defining clear targets and identifying desired changes and allies, backed by evidence and strong key messages.

An IISD blog highlights the tool’s piloting with an IUCN team in Nepal, where maintaining each of the major categories of ecosystem services (provisioning, regulating, cultural and supporting) is key to preserving the region’s livelihoods and building adaptive capacity. The tool, team members note, helped identify these services to inform EbA projects.

The developers underscore that ALivE is not a substitute for comprehensive risk assessment nor detailed environmental assessment, and does not offer a cost-benefit analysis for EbA options. The tool is an output of the broader EbA through South-South Cooperation (EbA South) Project. [IISD Blog on the ALivE Tool] [IISD Project Page for ALivE] [Connecting the Dots: How Ecosystem Services Support Adaptation to Climate Change] [Landing Page for ALivE User Manual, Version 1.0] [WeAdapt Post on ALivE Tool]

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