This study explores how the two leading approaches in water resources management and ecosystem thinking for climate change adaptation – i.e. Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) – can be merged to achieve greater climate resilience in watersheds. It entails a conceptual analysis of both approaches and showcases nine practical implementation examples of integrated EbA-IWRM projects around the world.
The case studies reveal structural similarities, key lessons, and enabling and inhibiting factors for integrated EbA-IWRM approaches. From this, the study derives and promotes a set of guiding principles for integrated EbA-IWRM projects. These encompass features for designing new, coupled EbA-IWRM projects and also elements for inclusion and enhancement of ongoing water and / or conservation projects.
The way forward outlines the need to further advance conceptual thinking on integrating IWRM and EbA for climate-resilient water management. It also advises increased practical experiences of coupled approaches around the world and the fostering of knowledge management and mutual learning on the strengths of integrated approaches.