On 4 and 5 February 2020, Ecologic Institute's McKenna Davis and Ewa Iwaszuk attended an expert workshop "Mobilizing up-scaling of Nature-based Solutions for climate change throughout 2020 and beyond" convened by the Directorate-General for Environment of the European Commission (DG ENV). McKenna Davis moderated a discussion on mobilising the biodiversity benefits of nature-based solutions (NBS) deployed for climate action. Other speakers and experts at the event included Josef Settle from Helmholtz Zentrum für Umweltforschung, co-chair of IPBES Global Assessment and lead author of IPCC Fifth Assessment Report chapter "Terrestrial and inland water systems", David Nabarro, NBS Coalition facilitator, 4SD, and Stewart Maginnis, Global Director of Nature-Based Solutions Group, IUCN.
With the results of the IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services hitting headlines around the world and the Fridays for Future movement inspiring millions to take to the streets and demand ambitious climate action, 2019 was a year that brought unprecedented public attention to the threats posed by biodiversity loss and climate change and emphasized the need for urgent action. NBS are increasingly recognised as a powerful tool that can help address both of these challenges, while delivering further benefits to human well-being. A number of global and European events and policy developments happening in 2020 provide an opportunity to unlock the potential of NBS for climate action and biodiversity conservation, such as the European Green Deal and the UN Conferences on Biological Diversity and Climate Change (CBD COP15 and UNFCCC COP26).
It is against this background that DG ENV brought together 60 key European and global experts on NBS for a two-day event to exchange experiences and take stock of recent developments on NBS for climate change, identify options by which biodiversity, climate and sustainable development policies can support the scaling up of NBS, and explore how to utilise upcoming EU and global events to advance NBS uptake and implementation. McKenna Davis moderated a discussion exploring how NBS for climate change can deliver biodiversity benefits while minimizing potential risks.
The results of the workshop were brought together by DG ENV to inform further action. Key messages include:
- There is unprecedented political momentum and window of opportunity for scaling up NBS, with the existing experience base providing a solid foundation for this.
- Action on two fronts is required, including creating an enabling environment to scale up existing initiatives and projects while also developing a strategic vision and global movement for NBS.
- Confidence in and positive outcomes from the use of NBS depend on effective monitoring and evaluation of those outcomes and other impacts and multiple benefits and on the rigorous application of safeguards and standards to help avoid adverse impacts and enhance positive outcomes.