Working with nature to adapt
to a changing climate

Step 4: Prioritise and select EbA options

Cost- effectiveness and co-benefits

In this step, potential adaption options are compared and prioritised based on specific criteria. Cost-benefit analyses can be a relevant tool to provide good arguments for EbA. EbA measures are often considerably more cost-effective than other adaptation measures with the same goal. Cost-effectiveness and significant co-benefits (e.g. carbon sequestration, protection of biodiversity) can be relevant arguments.

Approaches for economic valuation of ecosystem services and benefits can support their integration into the selection process. Quantifying the cost of some of the options may however not always be possible. In this case, a multi-criteria analysis can help. Often, an extensive amount of data and information on climate change and adaptation impacts is required to conduct meaningful economic assessments of climate change adaptation. These data relate to biological, physical, economic and social systems. Depending on the resources and expertise available, it may make more sense to use a more simplified and transparent approach to prioritise adaptation options.

Suggested tools

Valuing the Benefits, Costs and Impacts of Ecosystem-based Adaptation Measures – A sourcebook of methods for decision-making (GIZ, 2017): Resource to guide the design, delivery and use of EbA valuation studies to inform and influence decision-making, including 40 case studies on EbA-relevant valuations that have been implemented globally over recent years.

Multi-Criteria Analysis as applied in Mexico’s adaptation process. A Multi-Criteria-Analysis (MCA) is a methodology for prioritising adaptation measures which does not rely purely on economic calculations but rather on qualitative assessments of criteria. The 7-step MCA developed and used in Mexico identifies which adaptation measures are appropriate to prevent climate change-related risks and reduce vulnerability of the population, the ecosystems, infrastructure and/or productive sectors. It promotes transparent decision making through the participation of diverse actors, encourages capacity development and is flexible and adaptable to different territorial and sectorial contexts.