Aerial view of beautiful natural shapes and textures
Aerial view of beautiful natural shapes and textures on Yarisli (Yarışlı) Lake in Burdur, Turkey. Taken via drone.

New Bond report highlights that experiences from the frontline are critical for the uptake of high-quality Nature-Based Solutions

Nature-based Solutions have risen sharply in popularity recently – and for good reason.

Done well, Nature-based Solutions (NbS) offer a cost-effective way to protect, sustainably manage, and restore ecosystems, while also addressing societal challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and poverty and inequality.

Governments, businesses and civil society groups are increasingly embracing the concept of “Nature-based Solutions”, and while this should be celebrated, not all activities labelled as NbS are equal or fair. Done poorly, they can damage the environment, serve as cover for activities exacerbating the climate crisis, and further marginalise people and communities.

Emphasis must be placed on the use of high-quality NbS that uphold the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities, include strict safeguards and standards to avoid harm, and are used alongside (not to replace) efforts to rapidly decarbonise the economy and halt activities that are harmful to biodiversity.

New report highlights Nature-based Solutions in action across the world

A new report from Bond, ‘Nature-based Solutions in Action: Lessons from the Frontline’, does exactly this – it showcases 13 high-quality NbS in action across the world, and how they are improving lives, benefiting the environment and driving climate action.

From a Farmers’ Seed Network in China that supports agroecology by conserving traditional seeds, to large-scale watershed management in glacial mountain ecosystems in Peru, and to managing flood-risk in the UK, the report highlights successful NbS across a wide range of contexts. And it outlines key success factors across those case studies that are important building blocks for high-quality NbS.

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Building on Bond’s June 2020 triple emergency report, this new report goes a step further by articulating how the power of nature can be harnessed to address the interlinked challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, poverty and inequality.

Seven recommendations to help high-quality Nature-based Solutions shine this year

Decisions made during 2021, often called a “super year” for nature, will shape the next decade of action for climate, nature and people. Major meetings this year, including the Food Systems Summit, the UN General Assembly, the G20 Leaders’ Summit, and COP15 and COP26, provide critical opportunities for a series of decisions and commitments to harness the potential offered by NbS and drive this much-needed action. Commitments made at the G7 Leaders’ Summit earlier this year, including to increase the quantity of finance for nature and nature-based solutions, are a welcome development and set a good tone for other major meetings to follow.

To ensure high-quality NbS are prioritised this year, the report makes 7 key recommendations for action by decision-makers in 2021:

  1. Support local communities to champion NbS;
  2. Include strict safeguards and standards to avoid unintentional negative impacts of greenwashing;
  3. Shift to a systemic approach addressing the pressures of unsustainable production and consumption;
  4. Increase long-term funding for NbS, both in quantity and quality;
  5. Prioritise multi-purpose NbS at landscape scale and with a long-term vision;
  6. Facilitate multi-stakeholder partnerships to implement NbS;
  7. Integrate NbS as part of the post-Covid recovery.

That these 13 stories have been contributed by both environment and development organisations is in itself testament to the common thread that NbS can provide between nature and development, climate and biodiversity. The foundational evidence provided through this report will help leaders put high-quality NbS firmly in their decisions and plans this year and for many years to come.

The report was developed by members of the CAN-UK Nature-based Solutions Working Group (formerly the Bond Development and Environment Group) and includes case studies from Care International, Excellent Development, Farm Africa, IBIS Rice Conservation Co., the International Institute for Environment and Development, Plan International, Practical Action, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Tree Aid, World Vision UK, and WWF.