Climate change, biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation are linked and interdependent challenges needing to be addressed in an integrated manner. Synergies can be enhanced by building on the multifunctionality and multiple benefits of biodiversity and healthy ecosystems, captured under Nature-based Solutions (NbS). These topics were explored in the session "Nature as a solution: For resilience, mitigation and sustainable development" during the 5th European Climate Change Adaptation Conference (ECCA2021). Ecologic Institute's McKenna Davis was a keynote speaker, presenting on the EU and global environmental policy landscapes and their role as a help or hindrance to NbS uptake.
The session was structured around four topics around nature-based solutions, namely the: (1) policy support, (2) knowledge base, (3) applications and (4) way forward for NbS for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in Europe. These themes were explored through three keynote presentations, a panel discussion with key experts, and interactive breakout sessions where participants had the opportunity to interact with the keynote speakers.
In her keynote speech, McKenna Davis first introduced the global policy framework and highlighted the windows of opportunity created by the CBD COP15 and UNCCC COP26 taking place later this year. She also outlined trends regarding NbS across EU environmental policies and key bottlenecks challenging NbS mainstreaming and uptake. Examples include the often non-binding nature of policies and their resultant insufficient implementation; a lack of coherence across policies; missing quantitative or measurable values and insufficiently streamlined indicators; and an inadequate allocation of investments. She concluded her presentation with recommendations and opportunities, such as those presented by the EU Green Deal and forthcoming EU Restoration Plan as well as paths to boost NbS investment and to strengthen and increase coherence between existing policies, objectives and indicators.