Press release | 07 Sep, 2021

IUCN to develop collaborative certification scheme for Nature-based Solutions

Marseille, France, 2021 (IUCN) – At the 2021 World Conservation Congress, IUCN unveiled a plan to develop a collaborative certification system to ensure that the changes resulting from Nature-based Solutions for Societal Challenges (NbS) are truly sustainable.

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In Nepal and elsewhere, haphazardly built rural roads have destabilised numerous mountain slopes, causing severe erosion. As rainfall has intensified due to climate change, landslides have become more frequent, leading to the loss of lives and the destruction of property and agricultural land. And even if roads survive the monsoon season intact, most require costly and labour-intense clearing efforts, slowing down the movement of people and goods.

But a simple nature-based solution has begun to make a difference: planting grasses and plants such as broom grass or bamboo on the slopes has helped stabilise them, securing roads and reducing the risk posed by landslides.

The IUCN Global Standard for NbS can be used to assess and scale up such solutions and their benefits.

Photo: Emily Goodwin

“The success of nature-based solutions is dependent on ensuring confidence among different parties that it can deliver significant sustainable benefits in a socially equitable manner. Therefore, IUCN has chosen to develop a third party assurance scheme through partnerships with existing sustainability certification schemes, rather than creating a competing, stand-alone NbS certification,” said Stewart Maginnis, Deputy Director General of IUCN. “The scheme will be inclusive and accessible to all.”

Under this NbS certification system, which will be launched in 2022, business entities interested in obtaining certification of their Nature-based Solutions intervention, developed in accordance with the IUCN Global Standard for Nature-based SolutionsTM, will be able to apply for certification through one of several existing sustainability certification schemes recognised by IUCN. Upon obtaining certification, they will then be able to use IUCN’s NbS logo in addition to the relevant third-party certification scheme’s logo.

In the coming months, IUCN will work closely with a small group of partners to define the exact requirements for existing certification schemes to be recognised by IUCN, and to integrate the IUCN Global Standard for NbSTM in the schemes’ own standards. Among partners participating in this development phase are the Forest Stewardship Council, the Gold Standard, the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance, FairTrade International, and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

This work is being done through IUCN’s Global Facility for NbS which was also launched at the 2021 IUCN World Conservation Congress.

Through the NbS Facility, IUCN aims to promote the adoption of Nature-based solutions as a proven sustainable development approach across sectors, and to encourage their delivery at the scale and quality necessary to meet global climate, conservation and development targets by 2030. The Facility will help catalyse financing and investment for NbS, assist implementers in identifying and making use of policy levers at global, regional, national and sub-national levels as well as facilitate knowledge across the globe.

Defined by IUCN in 2016, Nature-based Solutions have garnered significant interest and momentum worldwide as a promising sustainable development model. Further interest in the concept was catalysed when IUCN launched a global benchmark for NbS – the IUCN Global Standard for NbSTM.

Nature-based Solutions encompass a wide range of services rendered by nature, from oyster reefs in New York that are filtering water, to restored mountain slopes in Nepal that are protecting roads and people from landslides, and wetlands in the UK that are reviving local economies while providing biodiversity benefits.

For more information or interviews please contact:

Matthias Fiechter, IUCN Media Relations, +33 6 73 48 65 13,