Nature: providing solutions to development needs

03 December 2013 | News story
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Healthy and restored ecosystems can make cost-effective contributions to meeting global challenges, including climate change. IUCN highlighted this concept at its side event on “Nature-based solutions to development needs” during the European Development Days in Brussels last week.

Luc Bas, Director of IUCN European Union Representative Office, who moderated the event, underlined the importance and benefits of better integrating ecosystem services in the development sector, and of placing nature-based solutions at the core of policy debates and action.

A number of projects implemented by or in cooperation with IUCN were presented at the event to illustrate IUCN’s nature-based solutions approach: 

  • Blue Solutions provides a global platform to collate, share and generate knowledge and to enhance capacities for conservation and sustainable use of marine and coastal biodiversity.
  • BIOPAMA helps local stakeholders in the Africa Caribbean and Pacific countries to identify priority issues in the field of ecosystem management, land use and conservation, supporting long-term needs and commitments to biodiversity and sustainable development.
  • Forest Landscape Restoration brings people together to identify, negotiate, and implement practices that restore an agreed optimal balance of the ecological, social, and economic benefits of forests and trees within a broader pattern of land uses.

The principles to which interventions should respond to in order to be qualified as a nature-based solution were highlighted. According to IUCN, such activities should:

  1. Deliver an effective solution to a major global challenge using nature,
  2. Provide biodiversity benefits in terms of diverse, well-managed ecosystems,
  3. Be cost-effective relative to other solutions,
  4. Be easily and compellingly communicated,
  5. Be measured, verified and replicated,
  6. Respect and reinforce communities’ rights over natural resources, and
  7. Harness both public and private sources of funding.

The European Commission, represented at the event by both the Environment and Development and Cooperation Directorate-Generals of the European Commission, highlighted the opportunities and challenges of financing biodiversity conservation under the new thematic programming within the EU Multiannual Financial Framework. The DG Development and Cooperation presented the new flagship programme EU Biodiversity for Livelihoods Initiative (EUBLI), which will provide a more holistic and coherent approach of the EU actions on biodiversity in the development agenda under the motto "United in biodiversity“.

The presentations are available for download at the links in the top right corner to this story.


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This image shows the courtship behavior of Indian Bull frogs (Holobatrachus tigerinus). During the monsoon, the breeding males become bright yellow in color, while females remain dull. The prominent blue vocal sacs of male produce strong nasal mating call.