IUCN brings Nature-based Solutions to the Global Climate Action Summit

At an affiliate event in San Francisco, IUCN and partners showcase how investing in nature builds human resilience

GCAS banners in San Francisco, California

Building Resilience Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow, an event hosted by the UN A2R Climate Resilience Initiative, the Stockholm Resilience Centre, ICF, and BSR on September 11 at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, brought together actors from business, government, civil society and academia to build connections around climate change resilience.

In sessions on redefining sustainable business, investing in resilience, local and community level action for resilience, building resilience into energy systems, and working with nature to build resilience, expert panelists, facilitators, and audience members shared challenges, success stories, and aspirations for a resilient future. Key outcomes and recommendations from each session will be delivered during the high-level plenary of the Global Climate Action Summit.

IUCN, together with FAO and UNEP, led the event Working with Nature to Build Resilience: Nature-based Solutions in Policy and Practice, where Ali Raza Rizvi (IUCN Global Ecosystem Management Programme) chaired a panel discussion focused on how criteria and standards for nature-based solutions, rigorous quantification of ecosystem benefits, and alliances and partnerships across sectors can move nature-based solutions beyond pilots and incremental solutions into a systemic scaling up of NbS and integration into adaptation planning around the world.

Deon Nel, the CEO of the Global Resilience Partnership, gave the keynote speech and framed the discussion around moving past disconnected and incremental solutions into systemic inclusion of natural systems into climate change planning.

Highlighting IUCN’s work in this area, Katherine Blackwood, Ecosystem-based Adaptation Programme Officer at IUCN, discussed the need for and the ongoing development of a global standard for Nature-based Solutions to ensure that NbS are replicable, scalable and transformative.

Jenn Eckerle, Deputy Director of the State of California Ocean Protection Council, showcased California’s marine protected areas (MPAs) as a model for MPA networks and building resilient coastlines, as well as the State’s commitment to achieve IUCN Green List certification for effective governance, management, conservation and adaptation outcomes across their MPAs.

Mike Beck, Chief Marine Scientist of the Nature Conservancy, highlighted how rigorous quantification of ecosystem benefits is critical to demonstrate the value of natural capital across sectors.

Emily Pidgeon, Senior Director of Strategic Marine Initiatives of Conservation International, discussed the unprecedented alliance of the Global Mangrove Alliance as a proactive and systemic change in scaling up commitment through strategic partnerships.  

Four key lessons emerged from the panel discussion to be taken forward during the Global Climate Action Summit as the pathway to the integration of Nature-based solutions into global response to climate change:

  1. Implementing Nature-based Solutions means taking action to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems for the enhancement of human resilience. Healthy ecosystems simultaneously provide long term mitigation and adaptation benefits. They also buffer communities from natural disasters and boost water and food security across borders, thereby contributing to poverty reduction, and enhancing climate resilient economies and overall human well-being.
  2. We must continue to build partnerships and alliances (such as the Global Mangrove Alliance and Friends of Ecosystem-based Adaptation) and standardize our approaches to Nature-based Solutions, in order to scale up beyond pilots and across sectors.
  3. There is an established economic case for the cost-effectiveness of Nature-based Solutions, with new evidence continually emerging including through the valuation of ecosystem services.
  4. Understanding climate science and its interface with indigenous knowledge, and working with both natural solutions and hybrid solutions is key to the implementation of Nature-based Solutions. These solutions deal with the uncertainty due to climate and natural hazards and at the same time protect ecosystems and contribute to poverty reduction.
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