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 the Nature-based Solutions Initiative will be hosting 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 will serve as a primer to the Nature-based Solutions Conference, now postponed to July 2021, with many of our speakers for the 2021 conference contributing to this virtual event as well.
During the course of six 90-minute sessions over three days, we will discuss each of four key guidelines for successful, sustainable nature-based solutions (NbS) outlined in www.nbsguidelines.info and we will debate the main challenges around the implementation, financing and governance of NbS, and how to overcome them. We will also reflect on the role of NbS for economic recovery from COVID-19 across the world.
Sessions will involve 4-5 short presentations, a facilitated panel discussion, Q&A sessions with our remote audience, and poster sessions. Our facilitators and speakers are world-leading experts from across science, policy and practice working at the nexus of climate change, biodiversity and development.
The event will run from 12:00-17:00 BST on 7th and 8th July, and from 13:00-18:00 BST on 9th July 2020. A full programme will be available here soon.
We are asking for a small contribution to overheads associated with organising and hosting this conference.
Keynotes will be delivered at the start of days 1 and 2, and at the end of day 03. Each of our eminent speakers will reflect on the role of nature-based solutions for sustainable development, post-covid-19, and what it will take to scale them up.
Outcomes from each session will be synthesised in policy briefs targeted at the UN meetings late in 2020/early 2021 and made available to a wide audience through a creative outreach campaign.
Nature-based solutions for climate change mitigation are currently in the limelight, but uncertainties on the potential contribution of NbS to tackling climate change and serious concerns about trade-offs and unintended consequences remain. In this session, we will discuss current understanding of the mitigation potential of NbS, highlighting their role in reducing peak warming and enabling long term cooling. We will then discuss major issues around scaling up bioenergy, BECCS, intensifying agriculture, and afforestation including inappropriate tree-planting on naturally open ecosystems such as grasslands, savannas, and peatlands. Finally, we will highlight the moral hazard of promoting NbS at the expense of delaying fossil fuel emissions reductions.
We will ask: can biological offsetting ever be a good thing? Are there ecological and socioeconomic contexts in which biological offsetting makes sense?
Currently, high-level multilateral pledges for nature focus on forests. In this session, we will highlight how other ecosystems provide important carbon storage services, help society adapt to climate change, are rich in biodiversity, and support the livelihoods of millions of people. We will highlight the vital role of drylands, freshwater, coastal and marine habitats in storing carbon and shielding humans from climate change impacts and promoting resilient landscapes that support livelihoods. In particular, we will focus on how this knowledge can be harnessed in a landscape planning context to prioritize nature-based solutions.
We will ask: How should ecosystems be prioritised for restoration and protection? Who should decide/or/through what modes of governance should these decisions be made?
What makes the NbS framing different and powerful? The answer is people. In this session, we will discuss how Indigenous Peoples and local communities are critical for tackling the biodiversity and climate crises and hence are at the centre of transformative NbS. With reference to diverse examples from across the globe, we will discuss the role of local knowledge and engagement, leadership and collective action in the sustainability of nature-based interventions for climate change adaptation, and will highlight the need for livelihoods and rights to be recognised, respected and upheld.
We will ask: how do we design just institutions that support larger scale, sustainable and resilient NbS?
Biodiversity plays a vital role in the healthy functioning and resilience of ecosystems. It secures the flow of essential services, reduces trade-offs among them, and supports human capacity to adapt to climate change. In this session, we will highlight the contribution of biodiversity to climate mitigation and/or adaptation in the context of protecting intact ecosystems, restoring landscapes and sustaining agriculture. Then we will discuss how knowledge of biodiversity’s importance could better inform the policy and practice of NbS. We will discuss interlinkages between the CBD’s Global Biodiversity Framework and the UNFCCC’s Paris Agreement and reflect on how best to overcome key obstacles to biodiversity-based policy targets.
We will ask: as we take NbS to scale, how do we ensure that they support biodiversity and are resilient in a rapidly changing world?
To mobilize large and sustainable flows of finance to nature-based solutions we need to break out of existing paradigms. In this session, we will discuss what this paradigm-shift looks like across companies and industries, financial institutions, private investors, governments, multilateral agencies and the global community.
We will ask: what role can and should nature-based solutions play in enabling a green recovery post-Covid19?
Nature-based solutions depend on innovative and effective governance at local, national, and transnational scales. In this session, we will compare the successes and challenges in the governance of nature-based solutions across a diverse array of countries facing different challenges for sustainable development and we will explore which models can be replicated and scaled up. Looking ahead to the CBD COP15 and UNFCCC COP26 in Glasgow in 2021, we will discuss what international governance arrangements are needed to catalyse and scale-up effective NbS.
We will ask: how can we realise the degree of cross-sectoral collaboration needed to achieve policy coherence that will allow NbS to be taken to scale?