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The Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) portal is an online community and resource for organizations engaging in NBS. You can read about water- and climate-related NBS projects from around the world, share your own NBS work, connect with organizations, and access NBS resources and lessons learned.
NBS are defined by the IUCN as “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.” They offer a mechanism to meet the challenges of degraded ecosystems, unsustainable water use, and climate change, leading to improved water quality and quantity, carbon sequestration, biodiversity, social well-being, and agricultural productivity (Global Commission on Adaptation and World Resources Institute, 2019). In addition, NBS can also be used to manage floods, droughts, and extreme weather events in ways that are more flexible and resilient than many traditionally engineered solutions (Browder et al., 2019).
The concept of NBS arose out of an increasing recognition of the fundamental role ecosystems play in addressing some of society’s biggest challenges, including enhancing water security, reducing risk of natural disasters, avoiding degradation of natural ecosystems, and mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change.
The four major types of NBS interventions in watersheds are restoration, protection, management, and creation (of artificial ecosystems). Some of the most common water-related NBS are forest restoration or protection to improve water quantity and quality; wetland construction, restoration, management, or protection to improve water quantity and quality; and creation of artificial habitats to address flooding.
Although NBS can be more flexible, resilient, and cost-effective than conventional engineered solutions (e.g. reservoirs and levees), their benefits are less well understood and difficult to quantify within the same decision-making frameworks. To meet this challenge, the CEO Water Mandate is working to develop a standardized method to account for the stacked water, carbon and biodiversity benefits of NBS to build a business case for and show the investment potential of NBS for watersheds.
Source: Tien Shiao, Cora Kammeyer, Gregg Brill, Laura Feinstein, Michael Matosich, Kari Vigerstol and Carla Müller-Zantop (2020). Business Case for Nature-Based Solutions: Landscape Assessment. United Nations Global Compact CEO Water Mandate and Pacific Institute. Oakland, California. www.ceowatermandate.org/nbs/landscape