Scale for Resilience: The fight to protect our climate is worth nothing if we lose biodiversity along the way

Race to Resilience partner, Scale for Resilience promotes access to finance for adaptation solutions for the most vulnerable to climate change. The initiative aims to make 3 million smallholder farmers, whose livelihoods depend directly on the health and resilience of their surrounding ecosystem, more resilient to climate change. Here, the organisation discusses the significance of COP15 and the fundamental integration of nature into resilience strategies. By Scale for Resilience | December 9, 2022

Nature and biodiversity are of key to building resilience. The increasing risks of biodiversity loss and climate related risks are distinctly intertwined. Addressing these risks with targeted and proven solutions such as Nature-based Solutions and Ecosystem-based adaptation is one of the core objectives of our initiative.

A robust natural climate solution creates economic benefits, reduces existing climate- and nature-related climate risks, is feasibly implementable, available and trusted in the local context. Furthermore, the solution doesn’t harm nature and biodiversity.

People and nature have to be at the heart of resilience discussions

Resilient and functioning ecosystems have immense co-benefits for communities’ resilience. Many initiatives under the Race to Resilience campaign use the potential of nature and biodiversity (such as mangrove restoration, agroforestry systems) to protect natural ecosystems, build climate resilient cities and food systems.

Various members of Scale for Resilience offer green loan products financing and promoting sustainable farming practices, like crop rotation or organic agriculture, which support not only productivity and resilience of end-beneficiaries, but also biodiversity conservation and restauration of their ecosystems.

Cross-cutting and more holistic conversations

In our opinion discussions, campaigns and conferences should be problem-focused and connect partners that tackle these specific problems along value chains. We need cross-cutting and more holistic conversations that address existing climate- and biodiversity related issues.

Furthermore, many solutions have impacts on both ecosystem health, adaptive capacity and productivity (crop diversification, organic composting).

At the same time big adaptation infrastructure projects to protect cities from flooding can have negative effects on surrounding ecosystems.

Hence integrating both overall environmental impacts for adaptation, mitigation and biodiversity projects is crucial.

For the financial sector this would mean:

  • Disclosing nature-related financial risks and climate-related risks
  • Identifying solutions that are investible, and build both resilience and have positive environmental impacts

An ambitious international agreement on the protection of nature provides would provide a clear view on how public and private investors can innovate and collaborate for financial mechanisms that mainstream nature protection and resilience of ecosystems and people.

Adaptation and biodiversity are far more complex

The climate change debate – in particular in developed countries – has traditionally focused too much on mitigation. Adaptation is far more relevant for vulnerable, developing countries. What needs to be clearly communicated is that the fight to protect our climate is worth nothing if we lose biodiversity along the way. This needs to become clear.

Mitigation is driven by one single variable: CO2. This is less complex and easier to implement. Adaptation and biodiversity are far more complex and even if suitable, measurable proxies are increasingly available, the initial investment to address these issues might be higher than in mitigation projects. Often these projects require longer grace periods and patient capital.

An integrated approach

We need to map relevant actors, especially local communities and bring them into the same room for constructive discussions on how to integrate mitigation, adaptation and biodiversity. It is of utmost importance to have a strong representation from indigenous communities and smallholder farmers since they are simultaneously most dependent on nature and most vulnerable to climate change, while contributing least to it.

Furthermore, we have to integrate businesses and financial actors and gain closer insights on what mitigation, adaptation and biodiversity means for them, including how it affects their operations.

For many start-ups, innovators and businesses, high-level discussions on the conceptuality between adaptation, mitigation and biodiversity are very abstract. We need to have more formats where we pragmatically and feasibly integrate pathways for WHAT nature and climate risks mean for them and HOW they can tackle these issues. Best-practice and peer learning formats have proven very successful within our initiative.

For COP15, Scale for Resilience emphasizes the importance of strengthening the nexus between biodiversity and adaptation and hopes that the conference creates tangible results on mainstreaming financing for both nature and resilience.

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