Despite the challenges of COVID-19, the climate and biodiversity crises are ongoing. Transformative action to address these interrelated crises is needed now more than ever. To this end, on 7-9 July we hosted a virtual event, NbS Digital Dialogues, to discuss key issues around NbS and draw conclusions that can be fed into the UN summits on biodiversity and climate change in late 2020/early 2021. NbS Digital Dialogues served as a primer to the Nature-based Solutions Conference, now postponed to July 2021.

About the conference

We are bringing together leading researchers from the social and natural sciences, engineering and economics with policymakers, civil society actors and business leaders to discuss the potential of Nature-based Solutions (NbS) to meet societal goals in a warming world. We will draw together the current state of the interdisciplinary evidence for the socioeconomic and ecological effectiveness of NbS, and explore the social, technical, ethical, ecological, governance and financial challenges around scaling them up. As well as highlighting avenues for further research, we will aim to generate guidelines on the design and implementation of NbS targeting decision-makers in business and government. Outcomes will be synthesised in policy briefs, a special issue, and made available to a wide audience through a creative outreach campaign.

"Nature-based Solutions can help address the causes and consequences climate change at relatively low-cost, while delivering multiple benefits for people and nature"

About Nature-based Solutions

Nature-based solutions—working with nature to address societal challenges—are emerging as an integrated approach that can help address the causes and consequences of climate change at relatively low-cost, whilst delivering multiple benefits for people and nature.

NbS were highlighted in this year’s IPBES Global Biodiversity Assessment Report and the IPCC Climate Change and Land Report and were prominently endorsed at the UN Climate Summit. Many countries and companies have signed up to the NbS to Climate Manifesto and/or have committed to NbS in their climate pledges. However, evidence on the potential of NbS to provide the intended benefits has not been rigorously synthesised. There are concerns over their reliability, scale-ability and cost-effectiveness compared to engineered alternatives, as well as their resilience to climate change. Trade-offs can arise if climate policy encourages NbS with low biodiversity value, such as afforestation with non-native monocultures. This can result in maladaptation, especially in a rapidly changing world where biodiversity-based socio-ecological resilience is key.

As high-level pledges for NbS get translated into action-on-the-ground, the process must be informed by the best available evidence from science and practice. This conference aims to consolidate and share that evidence and highlight the gaps that most urgently need addressing.


  • Musonda Mumba
    Chair, Global Partnership for Forest & Landscape Restoration (GPFLR)
  • Sandra Diaz
    Professor of Ecology at Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Co-Chair of the 2019 IPBES Global Assessment
  • Michael Obersteiner
    Director of the Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University
  • David Nabarro
    Co-Director of the Imperial College Institute of Global Health Innovation
  • Sandra Lavorel
    Laboratoire d’Ecologie Alpine, CNRS
  • Rosa Morales
    Senior Researcher, Institute of Peruvian Studies (IEP)
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The 2021 NbS conference is organised and hosted by the Nature-based Solutions Initiative, an interdisciplinary programme of research, policy advice and education based at the University of Oxford. Its mission is to enhance understanding of the potential of Nature-based Solutions to address global challenges and increase their sustainable implementation worldwide.

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