WHAT ARE NATURE-BASED SOLUTIONS?
Nature-based Solutions (NbS) is a concept recently defined by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) 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
NbS are intended to support the achievement of society’s development goals and safeguard human well-being in ways that reflect cultural and societal values and enhance the resilience of ecosystems, their capacity for renewal and the provision of services.
These solutions are designed to address major societal challenges, such as food security, climate change, water security, human health, disaster risk, social and economic development
On the other hand, the European Commission defines Nature-based Solutions as solutions that are inspired and supported by nature, which are cost-effective, simultaneously provide environmental, social and economic benefits and help build resilience.
A list of preliminary principles was developed to better understand the definition of NbS. The eight proposed NbS principles are:
- NbS embrace nature conservation norms (and principles);
- NbS can be implemented alone or in an integrated manner with other solutions to societal challenges (e.g. technological and engineering solutions);
- NbS are determined by site-specific natural and cultural contexts that include traditional, local and scientific knowledge;
- NbS produce societal benefits in a fair and equitable way, in a manner that promotes transparency and broad participation;
- NbS maintain biological and cultural diversity and the ability of ecosystems to evolve over time;
- NbS are applied at a landscape scale;
- NbS recognise and address the trade-offs between the production of a few immediate economic benefits for development, and future options for the production of the full range of ecosystems services; and
- NbS are an integral part of the overall design of policies, and measures or actions, to address a specific challenge.
FUTURE GLOBAL STANDARD
IUCN is currently developing a Global Standard in order to harness the potential of Nature-based Solutions and address the following needs:
- Design a common language and understanding.
- Involve stakeholders.
- Protect the nature of overexploitation.
- Increase demand and supply of interventions.
- Encourage positive sustainable change.
Currently, UICN is undertaking a participatory process with public consultations to collect inputs from key stakeholders. The global standard will be launched in June 2020 at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille (France).
MÁLAGA’S GREEN SPIRIT
On October 1, the Connecting Nature consortium and Promálaga, together with the Municipality of Malaga organized the “Málaga’s Green Spirit”, an open event to promote the use of Nature-based Solutions in urban environments.
Connecting Nature is an innovation project within the Horizon 2020 program whose objective is to position Europe as a world leader in innovation and implementation of Nature-based Solutions. For this, the project seeks the involvement of municipal governments, SMEs, the world of the University and civil society. All these actors will work on the creation of a multidisciplinary framework based on innovation and technology, which will be approved in different cities by introducing natural elements into the urban ecosystem, with the ultimate goal of increasing the levels of health and welfare of citizens.
The city of Málaga was chosen to hold this event due to its high commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of United Nations and its participation as one of the pilot cities in Connecting Nature. Several authorities, such as Municipality of Málaga, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) or University of Malaga, in addition to numerous professionals from all over Europe, had the chance to gather at the Alborania Museum. The aim of the event was to facilitate cooperation with the key actors in the planning and implementation of Nature-based Solutions.
During the event, the Cluster on Nature-based Solutions (recently launched in Malaga) was presented as an association formed by professionals, public authorities, companies and researchers that share knowledge and expertise to seek sustainable solutions to specific problems arising from the climate crisis.
During the following days, the Connecting Nature partners gathered to put into practice the Connecting Nature Framework developed in the first stage of the project. This Framework will serve as a tool for the future implementation of NbS in each of the participating cities.
Some of the key activities carried out during the meeting included the visit to one of the neighbourhoods in Málaga to be considered as a case study, the participation in knowledge-transfer workshops for all partners (cities, universities, SMEs, etc.), as well as the identification of barriers and opportunities to come up with solutions for Málaga from an economic, social and environmental point of view.