6 Resources to Expand Your Understanding of Climate Solutions

To learn more about climate solutions, join us at GLF Nairobi 2023: A New Vision for Earth on 11 and 12 October. Tickets are free for everyone to attend online.

The Global South boasts rich natural resources that have sustained communities for generations. However, these resources are now being threatened by the climate crisis, biodiversity loss and many other factors.

According to the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), extreme weather is taking a heavy toll on vulnerable populations – especially in Africa, where 65 percent of productive land has been degraded and 45 percent has turned into desert due to poor land practices and climate change.

Meanwhile, a separate UN report warns that there is a growing need for adaptation, but climate finance hasn’t kept up. This places immense strain on rural communities, particularly those who depend on wild products or open grazing for their livelihoods, and compounds the challenges faced by women seeking access to land and resources.

Nevertheless, there’s hope in locally-led, nature-based solutions that empower communities, restore landscapes, create jobs, secure livelihoods and strengthen food systems. In this article, we’ll explore six of these proven climate solutions from the Global South.

Farmers in a rice field in West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. Fahry Samalewa, Pexels

What are climate solutions?

Climate solutions are actions and strategies aimed at mitigating and adapting to the climate crisis. These solutions are designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, limit global heating, and minimize the adverse effects of climate change on ecosystems, economies and communities.

Climate solutions promote sustainable development by nurturing healthy ecosystems and benefiting communities. In summary, they offer a comprehensive and sustainable path forward for our planet.

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Here are six climate solutions now being implemented across Asia, Africa and Latin America.

1. Agroecology and ecosystem-based adaptation


Agroecology is an ecological approach to agriculture that integrates and supports natural processes, emphasizing the interconnectedness of food systems. It aims to transform agricultural practices from the agroecosystem to the entire food system.
Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) uses natural ecosystem services to enhance resilience and sustainability. It shares common principles with agroecology and seeks to strengthen ecosystem services for sustainable livelihoods and overall well-being.

This report by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) calls on the agriculture and climate communities to develop climate-resilient and sustainable food systems. It showcases the implementation and lessons learned of the EbA approach in three countries: India, Kenya and Guatemala.

By recognizing the synergy between agroecology and EbA, we can work towards a more resilient and secure future for global food systems.

2. Compensating farmers for ecosystem services


Payment for ecosystem services (PES) is a system whereby the beneficiaries or users of an ecosystem service pay providers for that service. This typically involves a series of payments in exchange for ongoing benefits. The core concept is that service providers should be compensated for their contributions.

This policy brief presents the work of the CompensACTION Initiative, which aims to drive innovation in PES on a large scale in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) such as Mexico, Uganda and Kenya to benefit smallholder farmers. These farmers, who produce a significant portion of the world’s food supply, often earn meager incomes.

The initiative seeks to increase and diversify the incomes of smallholder farmers and support their long-term investments. It also aims to incentivize sustainable farming practices that enhance food system resilience and reduce emissions while delivering various ecosystem services.

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3. Rehabilitating land with bamboo

Bamboo & Rattan Update

Land degradation is caused by factors like biodiversity loss, soil erosion, pollution and water scarcity. It harms the environment, disrupts agriculture and threatens food security, and it also carries economic and health risks.

Bamboo is a valuable tool for restoring degraded lands due to its ability to grow in challenging conditions, prevent soil erosion with its extensive root system, and regenerate quickly.

Published by the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization (INBAR)the latest issue of Bamboo & Rattan Update explores the role of bamboo in land rehabilitation and restoration, addressing desertification and land degradation in the Global South. It showcases initiatives in Cameroon and Ghanawhere bamboo is transforming landscapes and fighting deforestation.

4. Fostering regional data sharing


Forest data governance can strengthen forest governance through data sharing and a governance framework. It can help improve forest management institutions and protect tenure rights.

This leaflet is published by the East and Southern Africa Forest Observatory (OFESA)which is producing a comprehensive regional dataset on forest trends and threats. This data aims to inform policymakers, funders, forestry practitioners, and the public.

Jointly operated by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD)OFESA supports regional climate and environmental goals, including initiatives like AFR100 and commitments under the Paris Agreement. Key areas of focus include forest restoration, REDD+ implementation, forest governance, biodiversity conservation, community involvement in monitoring, and standardization.

OFESA collaborates with participating countries to ensure data accuracy and promote common standards, contributing to informed decision-making and sustainable forest management in Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda.

5. Funding for ecosystem restoration

Funding for ecosystem restoration

Ecosystem restoration assists “in the recovery of ecosystems that have been degraded or destroyed, as well as conserving the ecosystems that are still intact,” according to the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

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Local non-profit organizations play a vital role in restoration efforts, given their knowledge of local needs and solutions. However, they face challenges accessing funding due to limited options and mismatches in project sizes and funders’ expectations.

This reportcommissioned by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) in support of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, assesses funding sources for local non-profit organizations engaged in ecosystem restoration in Central America and Africa.

The report is available in English and Spanish.

6. Documenting landscape solutions


PANORAMA – Solutions for a Healthy Planet is a partnership initiative to document and promote examples of inspiring, replicable solutions across a range of conservation and sustainable development topics, enabling cross-sectoral learning and inspiration.

Solutions are specific, applied examples of successful processes or approaches. They can be entire projects or only aspects of a project, and typically encompass several steps or phases of activities. While context-specific, these solutions are not seen as fixed proof-points but as toolboxes that can be leveraged and inspire learning across geographies and themes.

The Buffelsdraai Community Reforestation Project is a flagship initiative by eThekwini municipality in Durban, South Africa. It showcases the vital role of natural ecosystems in building resilience for both people and biodiversity in the face of climate hazards.

This project demonstrates significant adaptation benefits, including improved water regulation, sediment control, and enhanced livelihoods for local communities. Explore the environmental and socio-economic impacts, including job creation and reduced infrastructure costs.

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