Tools for Ecosystem-based Adaption: A new navigator for planning and decision-making

Submitted by Tania Salvaterra | published 8th Oct 2019 | last updated 10th May 2021

Mangroves line India's Kaveri river. Mangrove forests can protect coastal areas from erosion, support fish stocks and store carbon dioxide (Photo: Avinash Bhat, Creative Commons via Flickr)

EbA tools for planning and decision-making

Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) can help governments, civil society and communities manage the impacts of climate change. Although there are hundreds of tools and methodologies available to support the integration of EbA into adaptation strategies, information about these tools and how to use them is not always easily accessible to those who need it. 

Partners UNEP-WCMC, IIED, IUCN and GIZ joined forces to create a new EbA Tools Navigator to help practitioners and policymakers include EbA into their climate adaptation plans.

The Navigator (see links below) is a searchable database of tools and methods relevant to EbA, providing practical information about more than 240 tools, methodologies and guidance documents. The tools featured cover an array of topics, including planning and assessments, implementation and valuation, monitoring and mainstreaming. 

The Navigator has been designed to help users find the most appropriate tools and methods to support their work, and put them into practice. Detailed information is provided about each tool and how to apply it. Users can also add information about new tools not yet included, as well as their own experiences in applying particular tools for EbA. 

The Navigator has now been released in its final form, and the partners are encouraging EbA practitioners and planners to use it for their own work.

How was the Navigator developed?

The different tools, methodologies and guidance included in the Navigator were identified through a number of steps:

The UNEP-WCMC team have continued to add new tools/methods to the inventory if and when they were brought to their attention, in order to ensure the inventory is as up-to-date as possible.

Each tool was reviewed and tested so that it could be categorised within the database. Categories were attributed according to EbA stage, main target ecosystem and scale, main target audience and scope, type of resource, open or restricted access, language, design for EbA of for adaptation in general, and whether the tool was region or country specific. 

Once the database was compiled and the Navigator developed, internal and external reviews were conducted to ensure its usability and that all tools could be accessed. Project partners, as well as members of the GIZ-supported international EbA Community of Practice and the IUCN-supported Friends of EbA (FEBA) network provided valuable feedback on different versions of the Navigator. Feedback on the Navigator was collected through interactive sessions at relevant workshops and conferences, as well as through online calls for feedback.

In addition, the final draft Navigator has been shared through a GIZ EbA Community of Practice webinar in 2018. The recording of the webinar is available on YouTube and

How to access the Navigator

The Navigator is currently available as an Excel database file, with partial versions also available in French and Spanish. An accompanying tutorial provides guidance for making the most of it:

Next steps

UNEP-WCMC and partners are exploring the potential to develop an online version of the Navigator, which would include an interface to help people find suitable tools for their needs, and would be able to accommodate input from users on new tools and user experiences.

About the project partners

The EbA Tools Navigator has been developed through a collaboration between two International Climate Initiative (IKI) funded projects: Ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation, implemented by IIED, IUCN and UNEP-WCMC; and Mainstreaming ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA): strengthening EbA in planning and decision-making processes, implemented by GIZ.

Both projects aim to show climate change policymakers and adaptation practitioners when and why EbA is effective – the conditions under which it works, and the benefits, costs and limitations of natural systems approaches. They also they promote the better integration of EbA principles into policy and planning.

If you have additional questions about the Navigator, please contact: [email protected] and [email protected]