With growing global concern over the biodiversity and climate crises, the importance of restorative, nature-based solutions has been widely recognized from the United Nations and national governments to the private sector and civil society.
“Societies face immense challenges including biodiversity loss, food and water security, human health, disaster risk and climate change, and solutions based on nature have been too frequently neglected,” said Angela Andrade, Chair of IUCN’s Commission on Ecosystem Management, the scientific expert group that provided the standard’s technical foundation.
Nature-based solutions are interventions to protect, sustainably manage and restore natural and modified ecosystems in ways that address societal challenges, such as climate change, food security land degradation and biodiversity loss. Research shows that these solutions contribute to reduce the vulnerabilities to climate change impacts and can provide up to 37% of the mitigation needed between now and 2030 to meet the 2°C Paris Agreement climate change goal.
“This new global standard will enable both the public and private sectors to consistently and reliably scale-up nature-based solutions to help society transition to a low carbon future,” said Stewart Maginnis, Global Director of IUCN’s Nature-based Solutions Group, whose team facilitated the standard’s development. “This is the result of a two-year rigorous and inclusive consultation among scientists, practitioners and communities with inputs from over 100 countries.”
Comprising eight criteria with associated indicators, a background document and self-assessment tool, the Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions will be rolled out later this year in South America and Africa, with business and government partners.
Several organizations, including IUCN, have already developed a number of scientifically proven approaches that have informed nature-based solutions, including Forest Landscape Restoration, Ecosystem-based Adaptation, Eco-Disaster Risk Reduction that have been widely applied around the world. The Nature-based Solutions Global Standard, for the first time, provides a common framework to ensure coherency and best practice among these tailored approaches.
“Nature is our forgotten ally in providing for society’s needs, such as water and protection from disasters as well as climate change,” said Radhika Murti, Director of IUCN’s Global Ecosystem Management Programme. “We now have a tool that can help design actions to harness the untapped potential of ecosystems for people and nature.”
The Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions will be formally launched at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille this June, where it is included in motion 073, “Adoption of a standard approach to implement Nature-based Solutions for societal challenges.”