Story | 30 Aug, 2019

17th September – Have your say on the IUCN Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions

This week we launched the 2nd and final public consultation on IUCN Global Nature-based Solutions for Societal needs – climate change, disasters, food and water security, health, social and economic development. On Tuesday 17th September a live around the world day for your say - #day4yoursay -  will happen which would also be an opportunity to highlight the potential of Nature-based Solutions and get 100s of voices heard on how nature can be a solution for people. 

The around the world trip will start in Suva, then going to Nairobi and Geneva, to then end in Washington DC where the IUCN President will close the #day4yoursay journey.



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Photo: IUCN

Follow us at: IUCN Global NbS Standard - #day4yoursay

Given the environmental crisis and sustainability challenges we face right now, we need to fundamentally change our relationship with nature from abuse to sustainable use. We cannot afford to continue to treat nature as an infinite resource for development. You can access the standard online in survey format in English (click here), French (click here) and Spanish (click here).

Today IUCN, the world’s largest democratic environmental union, in collaboration with its Commission for Ecosystem Management, launches the second public consultation on the Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions. This is an opportunity to get directly involved in tool that operationalises how we harness the potential of nature to meet societal challenges.

Nature-based Solutions (NbS) are “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 Resolution WCC-2016-Res-069). This approach to sustainability transformation can be part of an effective economic development strategy that supports better governance and adaptive management of our natural resources. It can help us meet our goals for food and water security, climate change mitigation and adaptation, economic and social development, human health and disaster risk reduction.


Six societal challenges: climate adaptation and mitigation, disaster risk reduction, water security, food security, human health, econmoic and social development.      

Mainstreaming Nature-based Solutions is a chance to restore our relationship with nature. To enable this global endeavour, we need to build a common language and definition, a way to engage stakeholders across silos while safeguarding nature from overexploitation. To incentivize real positive sustainable change, a user-friendly standard is needed to increase supply and demand of Nature-based Solutions. Otherwise, we run the risk of Nature-based Solutions not reaching their potential and remaining our forgotten ally in meeting our Sustainable Development Goals.

Building on the definition and principles of Nature-based Solutions (Cohen-Sacham, 2019), IUCN for the last year has been crowd sourcing the development of the global standard for the design, scaling up and verification of Nature-based Solutions, supported financially by AfD. The Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions will be launched alongside guidance and a self-assessment tool, to be officially adopted at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille, France in June 2020.

The crafting and crowdsourcing of a Global Standard

As Nature-based Solutions address intersectional challenges such as human health or climate adaptation, in this second public consultation, IUCN will gather feedback across regions and sectors. The first public consultation in January 2019, in the form of an online survey, virtual consultation events and bilateral meetings, elicited input from across the globe with over 300 people taking part. This feedback allowed the Global Ecosystem Management Programme and Commission to craft the second draft of the Global Standard. This included the addition of a criterion solely focused on economics, to complement the other two pillars of sustainability, social and environmental. Notable changes also include a reordering of the criteria and indicators to lead users through the why, what and how of Nature-based Solutions.

To ensure that the Global Standard is the standard that we need most at the moment, that its added value and potential is consistent across societal challenges, ecosystem types, interventions and regions, IUCN is inviting all interested parties to be part of this participatory process.

How to get involved

The second public consultation for the Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions will run from the 1st of September until the 14th of October. If you would like to take part in crafting the Global Standard, you can do so via an online survey. The full survey has been designed to last under an hour, and there is also the opportunity to just provide feedback on your criteria of choice.

To access the survey in English, click here. To access the survey in French, click here. To access the survey in Spanish, click here.

In addition to the publically available survey, IUCN will be hosting an NbS Day for Your Say on the 17th of September, with live face-to-face consultations in hubs such as Nairobi, Geneva and Washington DC. In addition, there will be opportunities to get involved with pilot testing the Global Standard to ensure its added value to the design, scaling up and verification of Nature-based Solutions. For updates on upcoming webinars and other opportunities to hear more about the standard, check the IUCN webpage for the Global Standard here.

For further information and questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Global Ecosystem Management Programme and Commission, at