What are Nature-Based Solutions ?
Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) have been defined, in 2016, by the members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress (WCC-2016-Res-069) as:
actions to protect, sustainably manage and restore natural or modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits.
The IUCN engages in NBS in order to use the tools that nature already provides to address issues resulting from poor land or resource use, climate change or societal challenges. Solutions often enhance existing natural or man-made infrastructure and spur long-term economic, social and environmental benefits. In addition, the IUCN developed various projects to solve challenges such as water security, which is critical for sustainable economic development, poverty reduction and climate change.
Although NBS are a powerful ally to address a wide variety of societal and environmental challenges, it has received particular interest in the context of climate change. Within the Paris Agreement, countries have engaged themselves in the creation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), aiming to embody their efforts to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. NBS can be part of these actions as it provides various solutions to mitigate climate change’s effects. According to the report “Strengthening nature-based solutions in national climate commitments”, NBS could provide around 30% of the cost-effective mitigation that is needed by 2030 to stabilize warming to below 2°C.
The Nature-Based Solutions Agenda
The United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030
The Decade aims to massively scale up restoration efforts to bring new life into degraded ecosystems. Indeed, degraded ecosystem, for example agricultural areas or wetlands, once restored with NBS, can permit to achieve local and national priorities such as food and water security or climate change mitigation, ultimately contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals.
The UN Decade, to be officially launched at World Environment Day, on 5 June 2021, runs from 2021 through 2030, which is also the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals and the timeline scientists have identified as the last chance to prevent catastrophic climate change.
Led by the United Nations Environment Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, The UN Decade is building a strong, broad-based global movement to ramp up restoration and put the world on track for a sustainable future, with contribution of numerous actors, including IUCN.
Nature-Based Solutions Standard
The IUCN has developed a standard to facilitate the design, verification and scaling up of nature-based solutions, called the Global Standard for Nature-Based Solutions. This standard aims to fill the gaps in expertise to ensure NBS projects are effectively design and implemented and do not result in unintended negative consequences. The use and promote of this standard is a core element of IUCN and its members, following a World Conservation Congress resolution adopted in 2020.
The IUCN promotes NBS tools and advances nature as a solution in its different projects, for example, for water infrastructure development and for the protection of communities from disasters and impacts of climate change. Moreover, the IUCN has set the global standard for NBS.
PEDRR is the global thematic platform of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR). It seeks to promote and scale-up implementation of Nature-based Solutions for Disaster Risk Reduction, and ensure it is mainstreamed in development planning at global, national and local level.
United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD Programme)
The UN-REDD Programme supports nationally led REDD+ processes and involvement of all stakeholders, promoting NBS for climate change through the conservation, the sustainable management and the enhancement of forest carbon stocks.
UNEP shares inputs of initiatives and best practices from around the world, received following the global call for contributions to the NBS workstream at the Climate Action Summit.
IISD launched a new global initiative with the MAVA Foundation, the Global Environment Facility and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. It aims to establish the business case for investing in nature and make it easier for investors and government officials to assign a value to nature-based solutions.
WWF works globally on promoting nature-based solutions and prioritizing actions that could have climate benefits. WWF provides practical guidance for countries to include nature-based solutions in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and develops science-based guidance for synergistic interventions, among other things.
The MAVA Foundation supports nature conservation. It promotes Nature-based Solutions indirectly by underlining the value of ecosystems and biodiversity. For example, it highlights that conserving seagrass beds in West Africa, contributes to water quality, store carbon, produce oxygen, and help regulate climate and protect the coastline.
The WBCSD is actively involved in Natural Climate Solutions (NCS), raising awareness and being part of Natural Climate Solutions Alliance and Nature4Climate. Nature4Climate is the world’s first coordinated effort to address the totality of NCS across forests, farms, grasslands and wetlands, by promoting increase policy action and investment.
The World Economic Forum, in partnership with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), have launched the Natural Climate Solutions Alliance. It aims to scale up affordable natural climate mitigation solutions by bringing together public and private stakeholders to identify opportunities and barriers to investment into carbon credits to increase financing for natural climate solutions.
4 November 2020 | IUCN, Global Environment Facility (GEF), Mirova, Coalition for Private Investment in Conservation (CPIC)
25 September 2020 | Italian Ministry for the Environment, Connect4Climate, Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth
4 June 2020 | Geneva Environment Network
21 January 2020 | Geneva Environment Network
- MOOC on Nature-based Solutions for Disaster and Climate Resilience – Protect people and the planet | PEDRR
- What are nature-based solutions and how can they help us address the climate crisis? | WWF | 2020
- InTent Express Interview – Nicole Schwab & Darius Rochebin | WEF | 2020
- New Initiative Supports Nature-Based Infrastructure for Climate Adaptation | IISD | 2020
- IUCN Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions : first edition | IUCN | 2020
- IUCN launches first-ever global nature-based solutions standard | Nature4Climate | 2020
- Nexus between nature-based solutions, ecosystem services and urban challenges | Javier Babí Almenar, Thomas Elliot, Benedetto Rugani et al. | 2020
- One trillion trees – World Economic Forum launches plan to help nature and the climate | Robin Pomeroy, WEF | 2020
- Nature-based Solutions for climate change | WWF | 2020
- GENeva Environment Dialogue: The Nature-based Solutions Agenda | Geneva Environment Network | 2020
- Agenda Item 2 : Synergies between the 2020 “super year for nature” and UNEA-5 | UNEP | 2020
- Why 2020 is the year to reset humanity’s relationship with nature | Dominic Kailash Nath Waughray (WEF) and Marco Lambertini (WWF) | 2020
- Understanding the value and limits of nature-based solutions to climate change and other global challenges | Nathalie Seddon, Alexandre Chausson, Pam Berry et al. (Oxford University) | 2020
- G20 governance of climate change through nature-based solutions | Global Solutions | 2020
- G7 Environment Ministers Commit to Fight Biodiversity Loss, Tackle Climate Change, Inequalities | IISD | 2019
- Strengthening nature-based solutions in national climate commitments | IUCN, Oxford University | 2019
- NBS contributions platform
- The Nature-Based Solutions for Climate Manifesto | United Nations | 2019
- Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit: Nature-Based Solutions | United Nations | 2019
- Nature ‘one of most effective ways’ of combatting climate change | UN News | 2019
- Nature-based solutions to address global societal challenges | IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM), IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) | 2016