Nature-Based Solutions

From Open Risk Manual


Nature-Based Solutions (NbS) are understood 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, resilience and biodiversity benefits.


The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) launched in 2020 a Global Standard for nature-based solutions (NbS). The Standard consists of eight criteria[1]:

  • Identifying the societal challenge to which the NbS responds
  • Designing the solution to respond to the geographic, ecological, social and economic scale of the issue
  • Ensuring environmental sustainability
  • Ensuring social equity
  • Ensuring economic viability (criteria 3-5 are the three pillars of sustainable development)
  • Balancing trade-offs between short- and long-term benefits
  • Ensuring adaptive management
  • Increasing sustainability by mainstreaming the NbS into policy, and linking to national targets of international commitments


Nature-based solutions are used in many ways, across terrestrial, freshwater, coastal, and marine ecosystems. [2]

  • Restoring wetlands protects communities from floods
  • Conserving mangrove forests supports food sources and minimizes the impact of storms.
  • Forests absorb carbon dioxide, allow biodiversity to thrive, increase water security, and combat landslides
  • Urban parks and gardens help cool down cities and limit the impact of heatwaves.
  • Regenerative Agriculture practices increase the amount of carbon captured by the soil and restore its health and productivity.

Nature-based solutions are seen as a win-win for people and nature, addressing multiple problems at once. They can create jobs, provide new and more resilient livelihood opportunities, and increase income while also protecting the planet and addressing climate change.

See Also

Futher Resources


  1. IUCN (2020). Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions. A user-friendly framework for the verification, design and scaling up of NbS. First edition. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN
  2. The Climate Dictionary, UNDP, 2023