Nature-based solutions

Nature-based solutions first emerged as a term in the late 2000s introduced by the World Bank, and championed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), among others, to embed biodiversity considerations in climate change adaptation and mitigation. The concept has gained popularity among practitioners and policymakers since.

The concept was by no means the first example of nature-based solutions in practice, as many indigenous populations have acknowledged the role of nature in supporting human well-being for a long-time before any terms entered the scientific discourse. Nature-based solutions range from small scale interventions, such as green walls to large-scale such as creation of artificial urban ecosystems. What is common to all nature-based solutions is that they should create benefits both to the environment and people, and they are often co-created together with the end users and other  relevant stakeholders.

Nature-based solutions are defined by the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) as: "Actions to protect, conserve, restore, sustainably use and manage natural or modified terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems, which address social, economic and environmental challenges effectively and adaptively, while simultaneously providing human well-being, ecosystem services and resilience and biodiversity benefits." Nature-based solutions support EU policies such as the European Green Deal, biodiversity strategy and the climate adaptation strategy. The EU is funding nature-based solutions through its Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe programmes, to bolster research, innovation and spread of nature-based solutions, with projects such as NetworkNature.

For more information see the NetworkNature factsheets and knowledge brief:

NetworkNature Factsheet - Nature-based solutions: are we restoring our relationship with nature in Europe?

This Factsheet provides an overview of some of our current societal challenges in different sectors and practical, on the ground examples of how Nature-based solutions are used to tackle them.

NetworkNature Factsheet: Seizing opportunities for ecosystem restoration to tackle societal challenges

This factsheet explores the potential of ecosystem restoration actions to halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems. Building on the outcomes of the last NetworkNature semester theme on Nature-based solutions for Ecosystem Restoration, the factsheet provides an analysis of several restoration projects carried out in diverse ecosystems, and addressing multiple challenges.

NetworkNature Knowledge Brief: Taking nature-based solutions up the policy ladder - from research to policy action

The brief provides an overview of the nature-based solutions (NbS) knowledge gaps resulting from an analysis by NetworkNature of a large number of research publications, an online consultation and strategic dialogues with key stakeholders. This can support policymakers in better understanding the research needs which can strengthen the implementation of NbS.

NetworkNature Knowledge Brief 2: Ensuring the quality of nature-based solutions - perspectives of key stakeholder groups

This Knowledge Brief explores and analyse different perspectives and perceptions of high-quality nature-based solutions . The brief provides an overview from key stakeholder groups and draws recommendations for practitioners and policy-makers on how to ensure the quality of NbS interventions.

NetworkNature Policy Brief: The proposed EU Nature Restoration Law: what role for cities and regions?

This policy brief takes a fresh look at the implications of the European Commission’s proposed Nature Restoration Law for cities, regions and local actors. The first of its kind, this paper looks at what the Law holds in store for these governments and authorities – actors on the front lines of the global climate and biodiversity crises.

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