EbA Evidence and Policy: Nepal

IIED and IUCN are using evidence from the Mountain EbA Project piloted in the Panchase Protected Forest area, western Nepal, to explore the effectiveness of ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and inform and influence national adaptation planning processes.

July 2015 - September 2019
Xiaoting Hou Jones

 Xiaoting Hou Jones was a senior researcher in the biodiversity team of IIED's Natural Resources research group until March 2024

Ecosystem-based adaptation
A programme of work focused on people using biodiversity and ecosystem services to adapt to climate change and promote sustainable development

View of Harpan village of Panchase – the upstream of Phewa Lake (Photo: Amit Poudyal/IUCN)

Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) involves people using biodiversity and ecosystem services to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change and promote sustainable development. Between 2015 and 2019, IIED, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) are jointly implementing a project called 'Ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation: strengthening the evidence and informing policy' (EbA Evidence and Policy).

Working with local partners in 12 countries in Asia, Africa and Central and South America, the project aims to gather practical evidence and develop country-specific policy guidance on EbA, and to promote EbA at international level. More information and all the case studies sites are available via the main project page.

What are we doing in Nepal?

The Ecosystem-based Adaptation in Mountain Ecosystems (Mountain EbA) Project was implemented from 2011 to 2016 by IUCN, UNEP and UNDP in partnership with the Government of Nepal in the Panchase Protected Forest area of the Western Development Region of Nepal. The area is within the districts of Kaski, Parbat and Syangja, and links lowlands with the Annapurna range of the high Himalayas. The natural mountain ecosystems include broadleaf and mixed forests, small lakes, and are home to a world-famous diversity of orchid species.

The economy of Panchase is largely dependent on subsistence agriculture, and Mountain EbA Project activities aimed to address both livelihood- and ecosystem-based challenges. Project activities included: restoring ecosystems to reduce the risk of landslides and soil erosion; restoring wetlands, springs and ponds to help ensure continued water supplies; maintaining and enhancing soil health and nutrition to increase crop productivity and increase soil moisture during dry periods; and diversifying livelihoods by promoting ecotourism such as strengthening homestay businesses to build local resilience to climate change.

This film outlines one initiative carried out as part of the project in the Panchase area:

IIED and IUCN have used the EbA Evidence and Policy project's framework for assessing EbA effectiveness to consult with communities and national and local government staff involved with the Mountain EbA project in Panchase. The findings will be combined with those from the 11 other countries to help show climate change policymakers when and why EbA is effective. 

Informing policy

IUCN Nepal is working with the Ministry of Forest and Environment (MoFE) to promote the inclusion of findings on effectiveness and good practices in national strategies.

Results emerging from the pilot site in Nepal suggest that activities from EbA activities were cost effective, and have helped vulnerable mountain communities to maintain or improve their adaptive capacity and reduce their vulnerability to climate change.

It also appears that ecosystem resilience in Panchase improved. But for both the population and the ecosystems themselves, benefits seemed to be dependent to some degree on their location. A key implication for policy is that for successful EbA, strong institutions are necessary at national, regional and local levels, as well as knowledge, skills, capacity and resources.

Updates from IUCN Nepal


Anu Adhikari from IUCN Nepal presented at the IIED-led session at Adaptation Futures in South Africa on ‘Scaling-up ecosystem-based adaptation: Linking science, practice and policy’. The session looked at our learning on what has and hasn’t worked in ecosystem-based adaptation in Nepal, and how can we maximise the uptake of evidence from research into development and climate change policymaking and implementation. Around 25 people participated. 

Results from applying the EbA Evidence and Policy project’s framework for assessing EbA effectiveness in Nepal were shared at the Mountain EbA global implementation meeting in Peru, organised by The Mountain Institute (TMI) in partnership with IUCN.

The Swedish Biodiversity Centre (CBM) featured evidence from the Mountain EbA Project Nepal in its science magazine Biodiverse. Read Better Soils Through Climate Project.

The online Nepali language newspaper News of Nepal published an article focusing on the impact of diversifying livelihoods by promoting ecotourism. 

The team shared learning with 11 other staff of NGOs from Nepal and India at a writing workshop for influencing policy organised by the South Asia Institute for Advanced Studies. 

Key stakeholders joined us at a stakeholder consultation meeting at Pokhara. The main objective was to agree how to scale-up or continue EbA activities in the region and identify possibilities for mainstreaming EbA into local and provincial level plans and policies. Nine government officials representing different offices attended, and the agreement was to continue EbA activities in one sub watershed and work together to include EbA in annual plans.


At the South Asia Regional Conference on ICT in Knowledge Management and Action Research in Dhaka, Bangladesh, we shared information about the project’s framework for assessing EbA effectiveness and the emerging results from applying it.  

We organised the national level workshop and training of trainers for ‘Ecosystem-based Adaptation through South-South Cooperation (EbA South)’ in Kathmandu. The network aims to enhance capacity, knowledge and technology support to build climate resilience in vulnerable developing countries. Fifty-two participants representing government, NGOs, academia and CSOs participated the workshop. Twenty government officials from different districts and offices participated in the training of trainers. The main objectives of the training of trainers was to prepare a pool of well-informed master trainers on EbA approaches who will go on to mobilise and support others to build climate resilience in Nepal. 

Following the inception workshop of a new project ‘Up-scaling EbA’ in August in partnership with The Mountain Institute (TMI), we organised an expert consultation in Kathmandu. The main aim was to discuss what has worked well and less well in our EbA activities to date and opportunities for mainstreaming EbA in wider policies and expanding its use in ongoing adaptation and development policies in the Langtang area of Nepal

We organised several events including a meeting on sharing of EbA experiences with 20 participants representing different IUCN commissions (eg the Commission on Education and Communication (CEC), the Commission on Environment, Economics and Social Policy (CEESP) and the Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM)), and the Policy Meeting on Ecosystem Approaches for Improving Community Resilience, which 31 policy makers representing different ministries attended.

We announced the inclusion of the Mountain EbA Project, Nepal, in the EbA Evidence and Policy project at Mountain EbA workshops in Kathmandu and Pokhara. These two workshops were attended by more than 100 participants, representing national government stakeholders, district level government agencies, international and national NGOs and community-based organisations and groups.

Additional resources

Ecosystem-based adaptation: question-based guidance for assessing effectiveness, Hannah Reid, Nathalie Seddon, Edmund Barrow, Charlotte Hicks, Xiaoting Hou-Jones, Ali Raza Rizvi, Dilys Roe, Sylvia Wicander (2017), IIED 

Website for the Mountain EbA Project, Nepal


International Climate Initiative (IKI)

The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) supports the IKI on the basis of a decision adopted by the German Bundestag.