The integration of biodiversity and climate considerations in development programming can lead to long-term benefits in both sectors. For example, diverse ecosystems recover more quickly from destructive climate events, and healthy coastal environments protect vulnerable communities from extreme weather. In USAID’s Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment, the Office of Forestry and Biodiversity’s knowledge portal, the Biodiversity Conservation Gateway, provides tools and evidence to support this cross-sector integration.
On a climate tour of the Biodiversity Conservation Gateway, the first stop is the Biodiversity and Development Handbook. This key publication provides the foundation for implementation of USAID’s Biodiversity Policy and includes overviews of integration efforts. Chapter 4.4 addresses global climate change and primes practitioners to better understand the linkages between conservation and climate.
Moving beyond the foundational biodiversity publications, the Biodiversity Conservation Gateway’s Global Climate Change integration page houses a selection of resources on the role of biodiversity in adaptation and mitigation strategies. For instance, USAID’s Biodiversity Results and Integrated Development Gains Enhanced (BRIDGE) project developed recommendations on how to incorporate ecosystem valuation into cost-benefit analysis of development programming across sectors, including ecosystem services that support climate adaptation and mitigation. The BRIDGE project homepage provides another collection of climate-related readings and evidence.
For those new to biodiversity and climate change adaptation integration, the overview document Integrating Biodiversity and Climate Change Adaptation in Activity Design presents clear guidance informed by best practices and approaches in USAID’s Nepal, Southern Africa Regional, Ecuador and Asia Regional missions. BRIDGE is also developing a suite of ecosystem-based adaptation evidence summaries and case studies that highlight the role of biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services in addressing climate vulnerability.
In addition to these resources, the Gateway also provides practical, cross-sectoral tools for development program design and adaptive management. These include:
- Evidence in Action: To support the generation and use of evidence in decision-making, Evidence in Action walks practitioners through the steps of an evidence-based approach for biodiversity conservation. A companion interactive learning resource, Acting on the Evidence, helps mission staff and partners apply Evidence in Action and addresses questions, challenges and issues around using evidence.
- Biodiversity How-To Guides: The resources provide a straightforward outline of approaches and practices for project design and adaptive management, including developing situation models, using results chains and defining outcomes and indicators for monitoring, evaluation and learning. Interactive versions of the first two guides are also available, using self-paced lessons and short videos to support learning.These guides focus on biodiversity programming but are also valuable tools for practitioners interested in integrated programming.
As evidence builds for the linkages between biodiversity conservation and climate goals, the Biodiversity Conservation Gateway can provide valuable resources to support integrated programming that improves development outcomes and advances self-reliance and resilience in the world’s most vulnerable places.
Tiffany Gibert supports USAID’s Office of Forestry and Biodiversity as a communications and knowledge management specialist. Previously, Tiffany held editorial positions at the Southern Poverty Law Center, PBS, and Time Out New York. She has also brought her skills to many consulting positions, with a focus on conservation practice and international development. Tiffany holds a BA in English from Davidson College and is currently pursuing her MSc in Biodiversity, Wildlife and Ecosystem Health through the University of Edinburgh.