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Adaptation and the nature emergency

1. Outline

The Welsh Government commissioned the Committee to advise on the “interrelationships between climate change adaptation and the nature emergency”. This briefing considers how adapting to a changing climate strongly aligns with the actions needed to address the nature emergency, and describes how synergies can be captured across policy objectives and trade-offs managed.

2. Key messages

We outline eight principles for jointly addressing the nature and climate emergencies.

  1. Set out a vision and supporting strategy for a healthy, resilient natural environment in Wales. The next national adaption plan in 2024 is a key opportunity to set out the vision for what adaption in Wales should achieve and should include a framework of associated targets.
  2. Support nature to adapt to climate change. This includes: making space for nature and the ecological processes underpinning ecosystem health; creating opportunities for species to disperse across landscapes; restoring and connecting habitats; and enhancing the diversity and condition of native species and habitats, where appropriate.
  3. Reduce other pressures on nature. Through reducing habitat loss, reversing degradation, minimising pollution, preventing unsustainable use, controlling pests and diseases, and working to eliminate invasive non-native species.
  4. Identify suitable nature-based solutions (NbS) to support climate and nature goals. NbS interventions can include: restoring coastal ecosystems and native vegetation in catchments to improve biodiversity and moderate peak flows; bringing nature into cities; and adapting agroforestry to build soil health in agricultural lands.
  5. Monitoring and evaluation. This must be supported with targets for nature, improved baseline data and a comprehensive suite of quantitative metrics to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of adaptive interventions.
  6. Access to sustainable funding. Government alone is unable to cover the costs of enhancing the resilience of nature to climate change. Plans for the new Sustainable Farming scheme indicate funding for measures that support the land’s ability to adapt to changing climate conditions. However, greater participation by private investment, including through blended financing routes, is needed to help bridge the funding/financing gap, stimulated by the right incentives. Environmentally harmful subsidies must be repurposed or replaced by subsidies and other incentives that encourage environmentally sustainable practices.
  7. Collaboration and cooperation. Interventions must work with stakeholders via a participatory process to develop locally meaningful and effective adaptation strategies. Projects should incentivise and secure local participation in the design, implementation and monitoring of interventions.
    We outline eight principles for jointly addressing the nature and climate emergencies.
    Adaptation and the nature emergency
  8. Green jobs and skills. Create a detailed plan and supporting policies that ensure there are sufficient workers with the skills needed to deliver a nature-positive, Net Zero and climate-resilient future. This includes, trialling new approaches to upskilling in sectors where climate and nature actions will require new skills.