Up-scaling of nature-based solutions for climate change

There is unprecedented political momentum and window of opportunity for scaling up nature-based solutions for climate and well-being, with the existing experience base providing a solid foundation for this. Action on two fronts is required in creating an enabling environment to scale up existing initiatives and projects while developing a strategic vision and global movement for nature-based solutions.

Nature-based solutions are measures that support biodiversity conservation while simultaneously addressing wider societal challenges. For example, they can help to support climate change mitigation and/or adaptation, contribute to disaster risk reduction and deliver benefits to human well-being.

There is a growing global political recognition of the importance and potential of nature-based solutions, including the need to accelerate their uptake. As a sign of this, the Nature-Based Solutions Manifesto, a plan to unlock the potential of nature-based solutions for climate action, was launched at the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit with the support of more than 70 governments, private sector, civil society and international organisations.

The European Green Deal recognises the key role of protection and restoration of ecosystems, including through nature-based solutions.

There is a strong commitment to build on the ambitious priorities of the Manifesto and accelerate action to facilitate the achievement of key game-changing outcomes already in 2020. This can have a positive influence on the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the 26th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) respectively, securing a prominent role for nature-based solutions in the global post-2020 biodiversity and climate agendas.

At EU level, the European Green Deal recognises the key role of protection and restoration of ecosystems, including through nature-based solutions. Consequently, nature-based solutions are foreseen to also play a key role in the EU Biodiversity Strategy published in spring 2020.

In light of this global political recognition and the need to accelerate its uptake and use by actors across society, an international expert workshop on how to scale up nature-based solutions was organised in Brussels by the European Commission in February 2020. The two-day workshop was facilitated by IEEP, UNEP-WCMC and Trinomics

The summary report available here captures the key outcomes and recommendations of the workshop. A recording of the workshop’s plenary can also be accessed online.

Key messages

  • There is unprecedented political momentum and window of opportunity for scaling up NbS, with the existing experience base providing a solid foundation for this. Action on two fronts is required to accelerate progress including a) creating an enabling environment to scale up existing initiatives and projects while b) developing a strategic vision and global movement for nature-based solutions.
  • Nature-based solutions have great potential for providing progress on both climate change mitigation and adaptation while contributing to other key agendas on biodiversity and human well-being. Capitalising on this potential will require a coherent global vision for nature-based solutions to be put forward, supported by examples and stories that can help to create an understanding of and demand for these solutions for climate amongst a wide range of actors from governments to the finance sector and business.
  • Confidence in, and positive outcomes from, the use of nature-based solutions depend on effective monitoring and evaluation of those outcomes and on the rigorous application of safeguards and standards to help avoid adverse impacts on biodiversity conservation. The year of 2020 is a crucial opportunity to foster wider adoption and upscaling of nature-based solutions and secure the associated benefits.

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