The European Union (EU) has firmly positioned itself as a global leader in promoting and implementing nature-based solutions (NBS). In a recently published article, 13 authors from various European research institutes discussed EU supported research, policy and practices, and identified three critical dimensions that need to be addressed for a greater uptake of NBS for climate resilience. PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency contributed to this review study.
Expanding the evidence base on the effectiveness of NBS
Although there are several initiatives which support the development of a global knowledge base on the effectiveness of NBS, the evidence is relatively patchy, largely anecdotal in nature, limited in short-term studies and/or lacking experimental controls. Particular, there is a need to expand the evidence base on large-scale NBS and cases beyond the European context, as well as on the interdependencies between climate change and biodiversity, and how to design and implement NBS that deliver multiple benefits to people (incl. trade-offs).
Enhancing synergies between public and private sectors for financing NBS
So far, European NBS have been largely funded by public investments, which calls for a greater involvement of the private sector in financing NBS. A full appreciation of the true social value of NBS is key for attracting private investments. Greater synergies between public and private sector might also enable divestments from nature-negative projects.
Fostering enabling governance and policy frameworks
While stakeholder engagement has emerged as a fundamental principle in successful design and implementation of NBS, stakeholder co-generation processes need to account for the complexity of many NBS policy terrains and should enable inclusive and equitable procedures and outcomes. Moreover, there is a need for collaboration across siloed policy agendas and the developing of an EU policy framework which is flexible enough to adapt to local needs, yet binding enough to evoke progress.