Here’s why nature-based solutions–such as restoring wetlands in flood-prone areas, or green infrastructure–need to be scaled-up

Nature-based solutions, such as restoring wetlands in flood-prone areas or green infrastructure to reduce heat island effects in cities, need to be scaled up and expanded to help the world better cope with the impacts of climate change.

On November 16, 2023, a European Environment Agency (EEA) briefing was published. It assesses the current state of such climate adaptation projects and how they can increase both society resilience and biodiversity.

The EEA briefing is titled Scaling nature-based solutions for climate resilience and nature restoration.

It finds that there is currently limited experience across Europe in scaling up nature-based solutions. It adds that a lack of standards for assessment and monitoring is a major challenge for replicating projects and applying them at a wider scale.

Scaling up nature-based solutions is key

Accelerating and scaling up such projects will be crucial to achieve EU policy targets on climate change adaptation and building overall resilience to better withstand the impacts of extreme weather events like heatwaves, flooding and wildfires.

Nature-based solutions for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction also contribute to the EU nature restoration agenda to better protect and bring back biodiversity. Applied at scale, they can contribute to and enhance different climate and environmental objectives in both urban and rural areas.

Other key findings

  • More insight is needed into the factors that enable local success, and the barriers to scaling. This requires systematic monitoring, reporting and evaluation schemes to inform about the effectiveness and efficiency of nature-based solutions in the long term.
  • The costs and benefits of nature-based solutions need to be clear to stakeholders and potential investors. While they serve multiple purposes, the quantification of social and economic aspects, including the distribution of costs and benefits across stakeholders, is still limited.
  • To realize the full potential of nature-based solutions, further targeted governance and coordination would be needed. Apart from financial incentives, the uptake of nature-based solutions would benefit from regional planning based on risk profiles, a catalogue of existing projects, and baseline information on their current application.

Photo © Henrik Sørensen, Well with Nature /EEA.

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