Spotlight on on Nature-Based Solutions

The International Association of Dredging Companies’ (IADC) latest edition of their Terra et Aqua magazine featured a very interesting article named ‘Can nature-based solutions be mainstream solutions?’

The concept of nature-based solutions (NBS) is relatively recent. It has emerged during discussions at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2009.

This concept has the advantage of encompassing a broad range of diverse approaches and is thus convenient for promotional purposes. Nevertheless, a definition is needed for practical use/

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has proposed a useful definition: Nature-based solutions are actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems. NBS address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits.

It is clear that IUCN considers NBS as a very wide-ranging concept that should play a role in solving humanity’s main challenges. In order to make it more operational, the concept needs more focus and further refinement.

To this end, the European Commission (EC, 2015) refers to nature-based solutions as sustainable responses to specific societal challenges:

  • solutions that are inspired and supported by nature,
  • which are cost-effective,
  • simultaneously provide environmental, social and economic benefits and,
  • help build resilience.