Adaptation and Resilience

The natural environment provides the conditions we need for life on Earth, and natural ecosystems provide services and benefits that directly affect people. The ability of the environment and its ecosystems to provide a stable and secure living environment is being undermined by global and local changes to these ecosystems and degradation of the environment.

While environmental change has continuously taken place over billions of years, it is the scale, magnitude and speed at which this change is now occurring, and the consequences for sustainability, that is of concern.

The threats associated with environmental change are driving changes in governance and the way the world views the environment. Decisions about how to manage the environment and distribute the benefits from ecosystems will have significant implications for the future condition of ecosystems and the livelihoods of people. Adaptation and resilience building are also important approaches to responding to this change.

Adaptation is the adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected changes. Adaptation is required to reduce the risks and hazards associated with environmental change and to increase long term resilience of socio-ecological systems. Adaptation therefore needs to be built into all aspects of decision making, planning and management to build the long term resilience of socio-ecological systems, rather than only to improve our short term ability to cope with environmental change.

Resilience is the capacity to adapt to changing conditions and to maintain functionality and vitality in response to the impacts of change.  Resilience building is needed at various levels including individuals, households, communities, and regions.

Services

We aim to enhance adaptation capacity and resilience of socio-ecological systems by developing appropriate responses to the drivers of environmental change to mitigate vulnerability. This is achieved through the following strategic services:

  • Risk and vulnerability assessments, including GIS-based vulnerability mapping
  • Developing ecosystems- and community-based adaptation strategies and interventions to build resilience and address vulnerability
  • Enhancing the understanding of socio-ecological system interactions to identify complex cause and effect relationships, and the implications of trade-offs for human well-being and ecosystem resilience
  • Building capacity to incorporate adaptation into development planning at community, district and national levels
  • Designing innovative tools and incentives for investment in, and financing of, adaptation and resilience building
  • Mainstreaming adaptation and resilience into planning and policy
  • Incorporating natural capital and ecological infrastructure approaches into adaptation and resilience building
  • Identifying and promoting appropriate alternative household and livelihoods technologies to facilitate adaptation

Current Projects

The Institute is currently involved in various projects across the country. Please view the list below for more information regarding our past and current projects.

Unlocking Conservation-based Entrepreneurship to Enhance Biodiversity Conservation and the Resilience of Ecosystems and People in Priority Areas of the Olifants River Basin

The overarching goal of the RESILIM-O project is to reduce vulnerability to climate change through building improved transboundary water and biodiversity governance and management in the Olifants Basin, through the adoption of science-based strategies that enhance the resilience of its people and ecosystems through systemic and social learning approaches. READ MORE…

Climate Change Adaptation in Lesotho Highlands

Climate change adaptation is critical for maintaining the resilience of the highly resource dependent communities, as well as for preventing degradation of the environment and the loss of the ecosystem services that are critical for maintaining human well-being more widely. READ MORE…

A Framework – To Guide an Ecosystem Approach for Integrated Water Resources Management in Lesotho

This Framework provides a guideline on how to apply an Ecosystem Approach to IWRM in Lesotho. It recommends a range of key components and processes that address the 12 Ecosystem Approach Principles. The components incorporated in this Framework therefore include a wide range of aspects that reflect societal priorities. They include not only aspects relating to the natural environment, but also social livelihoods, economic and market aspects, as well as governance and capacity aspects. READ MORE…

Capacity Development for Enhancing Sustainable Forest Management in Priority Biodiversity Areas

The overarching goal of the RESILIM-O project is to reduce vulnerability to climate change through building improved transboundary water and biodiversity governance and management in the Olifants Basin, through the adoption of science-based strategies that enhance the resilience of its people and ecosystems through systemic and social learning approaches. READ MORE…

How Mbongolwane Wetland Natural Resources can Benefit Society

The Mbongolwane wetland ecosystem, and its associated ecosystem services, holds great potential to generate economic benefits that can contribute to development of the local communities and broader society. However to date, previous efforts have had little success in generating meaningful economic benefits based on the sustainable utilisation of these ecosystem services. READ MORE…

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