Enhancing Adaptive Capacity of Small-Scale Fisheries for Climate Change Resilience

A session by Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries

Date : Wednesday, 15 November 2017
Time : 16.00 – 17.30
Venue : Indonesia Pavilion at COP 23, Bonn Zone, Number A02, Bonn, Germany


A combination of climate-related stresses, environmental degradation, and widespread overexploitation of fisheries increases risks of fish stock collapse and the need to build adaptive management capacity. Many countries need to enhance their adaptive capacities, strengthen coastal ecosystem resilience, and reduce vulnerability to climate change in order to effectively and sustainably develop. Adaptation measures involve adjustments in economic, social or ecological systems in response to actual or expected climatic changes and their effects or impacts. Exploring how the management of ecosystems and natural resources can produce both adaptation and mitigation benefits in the face of climate change may improve efficiencies and more sustainable development outcomes locally and nationally, especially those related to the implementation of NDCs.

The vulnerability of fisheries and fishing communities depends on their exposure and sensitivity to change, but also on the ability of individuals or systems to anticipate and adapt. This adaptive capacity relies on various assets and can be constrained by culture or marginalization. Vulnerability varies between countries and communities and between demographic groups within society. Generally, poorer and less empowered countries and individuals are more vulnerable to climate impacts, and the vulnerability of fisheries is likely to be higher where they already suffer from overexploitation or overcapacity.

Adaptation to climate impacts includes reactive or anticipatory actions by individuals or public institutions. These range from abandoning fisheries for alternative occupations to developing insurance and warning systems and changing fishing operations. Governance of fisheries affects the range of adaptation options available and will need to be flexible enough to account for changes in stock distribution and abundance. Equitable and sustainable governance that accepts inherent uncertainty and is based on an ecosystem approach is thought to generally improve the adaptive capacity of fisheries.

The successful implementation of NDCs will depend significantly on locally-led changes in behaviors and practices such as management of natural resources. Behavior change mechanisms employed at the local level contribute to increased technical capacity within communities, a sense of ownership and responsibility for natural resource management, and stronger institutions and social capital to manage shocks stemming from an increasingly unpredictable environment.  Such increases in social cohesion have significant potential to help local communities adapt to climate change by increasing capacity to absorb change, improve living standards, and transform livelihood systems while sustaining the natural resource base on which they depend. These approaches are valuable for local decision-makers as they strive to design and implement climate change measures tailored to local needs, and for national authorities as they aim to implement their NDCs and replicate and scale measures that contribute improve social, ecological and economic resilience.



This high-level event will highlight examples and best practices of vertical integration of locally-led actions into national policy to strengthen and fast-track the implementation of NDCs. The event will provide a space to explore behavior change’s untapped potential to achieve adaptation and mitigation impacts, and to strengthen climate goals for upcoming NDCs. The event will use specific case studies, as well as experience from key actors, who have incorporated behavior change approaches to their climate change work, to:

  • Assess knowledge and relevant practices of fishing communities to climate-change preparedness;
  • Identify climate adaptation measures that may need to be adopted by fishing communities;
  • Promote ecosystem-based and community-based adaptation as fundamental means to implement adaptation commitments prioritized in countries’ NDCs, and strengthen future, more ambitious NDC commitments; and
  • Propose measures to protect the lives and livelihoods of small-scale fishing communities in the context of climate-change policies and programmes at different levels.
  • Demonstrate how transferring innovative technologies to local stakeholders, accelerates replication and policy innovation at the local and national level, to achieve ecological, economic and social resilience protection impacts.
  • Gather lessons learned from leaders at all levels (local to national) on enforcing legal, reported, and regulated fishing, and best practices on the link between enforcement success with marine ecosystems’ resilience toward climate change.
  1. To generate information that may be considered in the formulation of COP 22 UNFCCC outcomes; and
  2. To promote ocean rights as fundamental means to implement ocean governance for sustainable food security in changing climate, and strengthen future, more ambitious NDC commitments;


Expected results

  1. Recommendation on strategy to strengthen ocean governance for sustainable food security in changing climate; and
  2. Enhanced knowledge and updated information on ocean governance for sustainable food security in changing climate



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