3 September 2020
Global Standard Supports Design and Scaling-up of Nature-based Solutions
Photo Credit: Casey Horner on Unsplash
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The Standard guides users through Nature-based Solutions applications and sets benchmarks for their progress.

In 2016, IUCN's members defined NbS 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”.

IUCN has launched the first-ever Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions. The Standard guides users through Nature-based Solutions (NbS) applications and sets benchmarks for their progress.

Launched on 23 July 2020, the IUCN Global Standard for NbS consists of eight criteria and associated indicators that address considerations related to biodiversity, economy, and society, as well as resilient project management. IUCN has indicated that a governing body of the Standard will revise the criteria every four years.

The Standard is accompanied by guidance that instructs users in performing self-assessments to design new NbS, scale up pilots by identifying gaps, and verify past projects and future proposals. The assessment results in a percentage match with good practices, with a “traffic light” system to identify areas for further work and adherence to the IUCN Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions.

During the 2016 World Conservation Congress and members’ assembly, IUCN’s members adopted a resolution that defined NbS 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.” IUCN reports that there have been cases of misuse of the NbS concept, with worst-case scenarios damaging and eroding biodiversity. Therefore, the Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions, building on the agreed definition, provides parameters for defining NbS and a common framework from which to work. 

In 2019, the UN established nine coalitions – including one on nature-based solutions – in preparation for the Climate Action Summit in September 2019. One year later, UN Member States will consider NbS among other issues during the Summit on Biodiversity

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