What are nature-based solutions?
Nature-based Solutions (NbS) are actions that enable the protection, sustainable management and restoration of natural and managed ecosystems, that can simultaneously provide human well-being and biodiversity benefits.
Nature-based solutions (NbS) include restoration, management, and rehabilitation measures, as well as conservation of ecosystems, that enhance nature’s contribution to people, such as agroforestry, conservation agriculture, assisted natural regeneration and urban green and blue spaces.
There is now increased attention on these solutions as they have the potential to address many global sustainable development challenges simultaneously, from environmental to socio-economic to health challenges.
NbS can help generate multiple benefits for society, such as food and water security, climate mitigation and adaptation, while addressing biodiversity loss. This is their unique selling point. NbS can therefore contribute towards the achievement of many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) simultaneously, including in particular, climate action (SDG 13), life on land (SDG 15), zero hunger (SDG2) and clean water and sanitation (SDG6), alongside many others.
Nature-based solutions and their use in practice are becoming increasingly recognised in international policy discussions.
The rapid growth in policy interest for NbS has culminated in the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030), following on from recent restoration ambitions such as the Bonn Challenge, that aims to restore 350 million ha of degraded land by 2030. Nature-based solutions are central to the new CBD Global Biodiversity framework for 2021-2030, the implementation of the Paris Agreement, the EU Biodiversity Strategy, Land Degradation Neutrality Targets and multiple SDGs. Fortunately, many types of these solutions are already happening on the ground.
The need for action and impact on the ground is accelerating. Scenarios are a tool that can help to link global level policy frameworks to local level action and vice versa.
Scenarios are a tool that can help policymakers chart possible future pathways, to realise the potential of nature-based solutions and restoration for multiple societal and environmental benefits and contribute towards achieving multiple international goals, such as the SDGs.