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"
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.
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.