Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions (NbS)

Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions (NbS)


  • Several years before the pandemic struck, ecologists and urban design experts across the world were pushing for cities to work on a green agenda. To find nature-based solutions (NbS) to cope with rising urbanisation and the corresponding impact on our surroundings, in terms of high pollution levels, diminishing green spaces, and the spread of diseases, to name a few.

  • With the world continuing to live under the dreary shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic, the conversation around NbS for cities has taken centre-stage yet again, and for good measure.

Many successful stories of Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions (NbS)

  • In India, there are many successful stories of NbS, a majority coming from the rural heartland. In the Chirgaon village of Maharashtra’s Konkan region, wildlife conservator Premsagar Mestri has successfully increased the region’s otherwise diminishing vulture population over the past few decades.

    Nature-based Solutions (NbS)
    Source: The Hindu
  • Organic farmers like Telangana’s Mavuram Mallikarjun Reddy (who recently bagged the Jagjivan Ram Abhinav Kisan Puruskar from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research) are among several across the country who are gradually switching over to natural farming practices.
  • Over the years, The Institute for Transportation & Development Policy (ITDP) has successfully created models for cycle sharing in cities like Chennai and Pune, and continues to further the cause of sustainable and inclusive transport.
  • A 2020 blog on The World Resources Institute (WRI) mentions how, through the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN), Surat, Gujarat has designed better management of natural water bodies and prevented construction on the floodplains in the city.
  • Similar practices have been adopted by Burhanpur and Indore in Madhya Pradesh, where with the support of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), community participation helped in conserving and managing traditional water sources.

Need of the Hour

  • A lot remains to be done to ensure the large-scale application of such NbS projects. While education and policies that work from the ground up are crucial, so is funding.
  • According to the UNEP, if the world is to meet the climate change, biodiversity, and land degradation targets, it needs to close a $4.1 trillion financing gap by 2050.
  • The current investments in NbS amount to $133 billion — most of which comes from public sources.
  • The National Clean Energy and Environment Fund, National and State Disaster Mitigation Funds, Compensatory Afforestation Funds, District Mineral Foundation (DMF) etc. can be tapped for anchoring NbS.

Way Forward

  • Well-planned urban rejuvenation projects — reviving water bodies and wetlands, encouraging eco-waste solutions, designing and promoting nature-friendly construction techniques, making public transportation accessible, among others.
  • As for what we need to see less of, it’s our billionaires and trillionaires jet-setting to space at the cost of mind-boggling carbon emissions. We’d rather have them pump in these funds for the earth’s recovery. If only.

Back to Basics

Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions (NbS)

  • IUCN has launched the first-ever Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions. The Standard guides users through Nature-based Solutions (NbS) applications and sets benchmarks for their progress.
  • Launched on 23 July 2020, the IUCN Global Standard for NbS consists of eight criteria and associated indicators that address considerations related to biodiversity, economy, and society, as well as resilient project management. IUCN has indicated that a governing body of the Standard will revise the criteria every four years.
  • During the 2016 World Conservation Congress and members’ assembly, IUCN’s members adopted a resolution that defined NbS as: “actions to protect, sustainably manage and restore natural or modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits.”
  • IUCN reports that there have been cases of misuse of the NbS concept, with worst-case scenarios damaging and eroding biodiversity.
  • Therefore, the Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions, building on the agreed definition, provides parameters for defining NbS and a common framework from which to work.

Source: The Hindu

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